Monday, July 28, 2014

Happy 75th Birthday Batman!
On the evening of Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014, an enormous four-day pop culture media festival called Comic-Con opened at the San Diego Convention Center. Comic-Con is a much anticipated event each year with more than 100,000 attendees coming together to celebrate the best in pop culture film, comics, video games, costumes and more. Coinciding with the kick-off of Comic-Con, DC Comics, the publisher of the Batman comic book franchise, declared July 23rd as "Batman Day" honoring the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Bob Kane and Bill Finger comic book hero.

Outside of Comic-Con, Batman Day was celebrated throughout America. Local theaters showed special screenings of  Batman movies. Fans of the caped crusader threw parties in his honor, and at cakelava, Rick was hard at work making a special cake for a woman who adores Batman!

Our client wasn't kidding when she said she loves Batman more than anything. She said she has felt an affinity with Batman for years and has a Batman tattoo. She calls her apartment "The Batcave" and has Batman items throughout - pictures on the walls, Batman tchotchkes on the shelves, and Batman dolls. In honor of Batman's 75th birthday, she and a group of her friends would attend a special film screening of the original "Batman" movie (with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson) from 1989, then going back to her place to celebrate with treats and cake!

For her cake, our client knew exactly what she wanted - a 3D sculpted "Chibi" Batman modelled after a doll she owns. We didn't know what a "chibi" version of Batman was but thankfully, Google does and was all too happy to help. Our client brought her coveted Chibi Batman doll to our shop, still in the box and sealed. We knew what this doll meant to her and when she told Rick he could open the box to access the doll, we felt honored.

Rick sculpted the Batman out of chocolate cake. He spent a lot of time sculpting the body and it's gigantic head. The doll had subtle nuances in its shape that required special attention to get the look just right, and he had to build a specials structure for the standing figure. We were thrilled with how it turned out and thought our client would think it was too cute to cut. It turns out she did!

She greeted us outside her building wearing a sleek black outfit with a patterned jacket and leggings - Batman themed of course - and squealed when she first saw the cake! As far as reactions go, a big grin is a huge plus but a squeal is an impulsive, kid-like reaction that cannot be contained and it is the ultimate reaction for us to witness! The cake was well-admired as we walked through the building to her apartment. We didn't know her guests were waiting inside and when the door opened, we were swarmed with a room full of people who instantly pulled out their phones to snap photos. This was one well-photographed cake!

In addition to her amazing Batman cake, party guests enjoyed her homemade Batman sandwiches and black lemonade served in mason jars with chibi Batman heads on top. How cute!
That's one happy Bat-group posing with the cake!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Feeling the Blues
It wasn't long ago that I read a tweet by a popular wedding site announcing that blue wedding cakes are trending.  It was a timely announcement because we had made 2 blue wedding cakes that week. I had noticed we've been making more blue colored cakes both for weddings and birthdays in 2014 so I figured it must be a trend, and now I had validation from the wedding powers that be, we will probably be seeing more of them! The cakes posted here were made this year.

For the cake decorators out there, are you also getting requests for blue colored cakes? What other color trends have you been noticing in 2014?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

It's International Star Wars Day - May The Fourth Be With You!

The force is strong today! In honor of International Star Wars Day, we're sharing some of our favorite cakes. . May the 4th Be With You!
A long, long time ago - roughly 6 years - back when cakelava still did custom decorated cupcakes, Rick made this Star Wars cupcake tower with Death Star top tier for our client's son Lane in celebration of his 9th birthday. Each cupcake had a different Star Wars character, that was handmade by Rick. He spent a crazy amount of time making the cupcakes, but it was worth it when we saw how happy the family was!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

In Celebration of Those 90 Years Old, and Above

In all our years of having a custom cake business, Rick has made only a handful of cakes for people celebrating their 90th birthday. It seems the older someone gets, the less likely they will have a custom cake made, at least that has been the case with our company. I would be curious to know if it is the same is true for you. We've made more birthday cakes for people turning 70 or 80 than 90, and even more common are birthday cakes for the big 5-0 or 6-0. I haven't kept track of which decade is the most celebrated with a custom cake, but if I had to guess, I would say the 40-year olds would probably be the winner in the most celebrated decade category. For us, the age that really takes the cake are the 1-year olds. The first birthday celebration is a huge deal in Hawaii. Parents often begin planning the baby's first birthday party way in advance, and we've had clients contact us within days of the baby's birth to order their first birthday cake. It's clear people think turning 1 is extremely important, and it is, but I also think that people who have lived long enough to reach a milestone like 90 - just 10 years shy of 100 years old - deserve to be celebrated as much as those with a whole life ahead of them.

I remember the joy I felt when we were hired by the company's president to make a 95th birthday cake for Lex Brodie of Lex Brodie's, a well known tire company who prides themselves on service, "Thank You, Very Much!", with a long history in Hawaii. Rick sculpted a cake in the shape of a tire, complete with a real rim, provided by Lex Brodie's, of course! Since Lex Brodie was a household name when I was growing up, I felt honored and excited when my husband was hired to make his cake. Lex was a hugely accomplished businessman who lived a very long life and deserved to have an amazing cake! I recall during the time when Rick was working on Lex's cake our client said we'll have to do something special for his 100th birthday, and we all looked forward to it. Sadly, Lex passed away last year at the age of 98 and the custom tire cake was the last cake we would make for him.

Our most recent 90th birthday cake was requested by our client, who is one of the sweetest people we know, and we have made many cakes for over the years. She wanted to honor her mother with a special 90th birthday cake. I thought of the 95th birthday cake we made for Lex Brodie and the 90th birthday Sun Conure bird cake for "Granny" and how honored we felt to be included in their milestone celebrations. It is truly special to create for someone who has lived life for a decade (or less) shy of a century. The request alone was worth getting excited about, but then we heard what our client wanted and we were ecstatic to make it!

The cake would be based on vintage postcard photos of her mother shown in her youth. In one of the postcards she gathers ferns and in another one, sitting on a wall. Our client asked Rick if he could make a cake with her mother sitting on a rock wall surrounded by the foliage. We were immediately smitten with the idea and proposed a design, which she loved! We thought the postcard images were so beautiful. It was classic Hawaii in all its natural beauty and we knew this cake would be very special, both to our client and her mother. We couldn't wait to get started!

Every decoration was important because we had to convey a specific location, but the most important component was the custom figurine of our client's mother. When modeling a 3D figure, you need many photos to work from. In addition to photos taken during that same time period, Rick studied photos of her mother taken at a later age so she would be recognizable at any age. When archiving photos from 60 to 70 years earlier, there isn't the convenience of the digital family archives so common in today's world, so we had fewer references to look at. Our client spent time researching the photos, which we are grateful for, and sent us whatever she could find of her mother back then and current phtotos.

When the cake was delivered, our client and her family loved the cake and couldn't wait to show it to the guest of honor. The family couldn't have chosen a more appropriate venue for the party, which was at a well-known restaurant with a lush tropical setting that feels like you stepped into old Hawaii. After the party, we were told the cake was a big hit and her mother said "that's me" and instantly recognized herself at the location she was photographed for the postcard. We were so happy to hear that. Those words meant Everything!

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