Festival of Chocolate Cake Competition

As I sit here, eating some of my left over cake from last nights event, I am amazed at the incredible life I have. I am blessed to be surrounded by incredibly amazing friends and family that support me in my dreams and desire to bring joy to people through cake.
First, I have my amazing husband who designs and builds cake stands, structures and anything else I need. He designs stickers, brochures and labels, he edits photos, writes programs and especially plays with the kids in the evening while I am working at the bakery. He is my best friend and I couldn’t do any of this without him!
Next, I have my big sister who I have always adored and looked up to. She spends her mornings on the phone with me, making me shopping lists, inventory lists, setting up appointments and just making my life easier so I can focus on cake designs and so I have have a few extra minutes with my kids each day. She is a life saver and I am incredibly glad I get to talk to her almost every day!
Then I have my mom, who is the greatest mom in the world! She probably thought that once I moved out she wouldn’t have to wait up for me anymore, but oh, was she wrong! My wonderful mom who is 2 time zones behind me, waits up for me every night I am at the bakery, so that when I am driving home at 1am, 2 am or 3am I have someone to talk to as I drive. I always look forward to talking with her! You would think at some point we would run out of things to talk about, but it sure hasn’t happened yet!
Then I have my amazing brothers, sister-in-laws, Dad and cousins that call and check in on me. They comment on my cakes, and make me feel like I can do anything. My sister-in-law who lives in Alaska is an amazing baker and I often call her for tips and recipes.
I also have amazing friends and neighbors who are happy to taste my cakes and give me feedback. I am so grateful to be where I am right now. I hope that I can give back to all the people that make my career possible, not just in cake, but I hope I can fill others lives with love and caring the way they have done for me.
Well, enough of the mushy stuff. This week has been one of the craziest of my career. We had 3 large events this week, so I will start with the 1st…

The LIVE Cake Competition
The Festival of Chocolate at the UCF Arena

So, the morning started off early, we got to the Arena and unloaded and started setting up around 8:30am, we were 3 hours early, but I wanted to make sure I had everything since I had been up until 3am the night before preparing. There were 4 competitors and we each had 2 tables to work on. The way the competition works is that we can bring our cakes already baked and crumb coated. During the competition we had to apply fondant and decorate the cake in 2 hours. I came with a very planned cake that I had designed and had practiced once before all the way through.

 This is me looking a little crazy right before we started the clock. It was a very weird experience to be introduced and to have the entire audience count down to begin the competition. What you can’t see is that there are about 100 people watching me and the other competitors as we work.

 There were 3 judges for the competition: Mercedes Strachwsky from Bake Me a Cake here in Orlando, who I look up to and was so excited to meet her that I acted like a total dork when she showed up at my table before the event, Edna de la Cruz from Design Me a Cake who is another cake hero of mine and Andeaus Proisl who was named the 2010 Pastry Chef of the Year and is the Executive pastry Chef at the Isleworth Country Club in Windermere, FL.

  Here I am concentrating super hard with less than 40 minutes to go. It was sort of a surreal experience to be in the competition, because I knew there was a lot going on around me and I could here people talking about me and taking pictures of me. I could hear my friend telling everyone about my website and how yummy the cakes are and I could hear kids trying to pull there moms away while the moms kept saying…just a minute lets keep watching her. There were so many times I wanted to react and join in the conversations, because the audience was less than 6 feet away, but I thought I might freak them out. I think most people thought I couldn’t hear them, so I just pretended not to, plus I need every moment I had.

At about 30 minutes left I had placed the roses and the hats on the top of the cake and I was feeling pretty good and then the judges came over and measured my cake and I was about 3 inches short. I had to come up with more height or I would be disqualified. I only panicked a little, then I grabbed a large ball of fondant, took off the topper that was there,  stuck the fondant on the cake and made more flowers to cover it all up. I think it ended up looking even better, but it sure scared me and the audience. With about 20 minutes left the judges came and asked if we could turn the cake around to the audience could see what I was doing. it was great to hear the collective gasp as the cake was turned and the audience saw the front of the cake for the 1st time. I couldn’t help but smile.
At the 10 second mark the audience started the count down and it took everything in me not to burst into tears. I was so excited to be done and was so tired. But…

I WON!!!!! 
I think my favorite part of the competition was meeting the judges. It was a pleasure to meet all 3 of them and I was thrilled that they took the time to tell me all the things I could have done better on my cake. It was also great to watch as they enjoyed my cake tasting.  

 Here is the final cake up close. The theme was Fashionista Weddings, so I wanted to go with one of my favorite things and that is the Kentucky Derby Fashion, with the big hats that are so fun and romantic. I also added the orange and coral colors because they are the 2012 wedding colors of the year.

I had a wonderful time and learned so much as i prepared and competed at the Festival of Chocolate Competition!
 I would love to hear from you about what you think of the cake or any questions you may have!


A Sea Side Castle

Making this cake made me want to take a vacation to a remote island castle and spend the week laying on the beach with a good book. Not because it was a hard cake to make, because it was…but, I wanted to jump into a world where this castle could exist.

 I want to spend the afternoon visiting with friends and family in the little gazebo and wade out into the ocean.

 I think the only thing this cake is missing is a mermaid!
So we made a mermaid cake, actually 2 mermaid cakes (they were identical…so I only posted one…didn’t want to be redundant)
Can’t you see her sitting on a rock looking up at the castle from a distance as the sun goes down!

 As for the cake itself, the largest center tower and all of the landscape is made of marble cake filled with chocolate buttercream and covered in Vanilla Buttercream. The other 3 towers are made of rice krispie treats. Everything is covered in fondant and everything is edible including all of the gazebo.

 Thank you to HOAR Construction for allowing me to work on such a fun project! I wish you continued success on your current Castle project!
I can’t wait to visit the real castle here in Orlando!…

Juicy Couture Purse

Happy Sweet 16 Hayley!!!
 This cake was so much fun to design and make. The whole family came with Hayley to help design her birthday cake and it was so fun to hang out and meet with all of them.
 The cake was our signature Peanut Butter Cup Cake which is Chocolate cake topped and filled with generous amounts of  Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
 As usual everything in the cake is edible!
 Aren’t the shoes just cute! I want to just slip them on, but I think if I tried I would end up feeling like one of the ugly stepsisters instead of the beautiful princess.
 And we can’t forget the lip stick and nail polish to match the purse.

 The cake was delivered to the beautiful BRAVO! Cucina Italiana in Orlando.It was a gorgeous restaurant and I can’t wait to go back because their food looks heavenly!
I truly enjoyed working with Hayley, her mom and family!
Happy Birthday Hayley!

Spring Cake Pops!!!

Friday and Saturday only!
Want a unique and fun addition to your Easter Baskets this year?

Visit Beth Nolen Interiors at the corner of Vassar and Edgewater Dr. in College Park and pick up some adorable Easter Cake Pops. Chicks and Easter Eggs are available for $2.00 each.

 All Cake Pops are our moist Marble Cake with Chocolate and Vanilla Buttercream.
Beth Nolen Interiors
2322 Edgewater Dr.
Orlando, FL 32804

Chemistry Cake

I can not even explain the excitement I felt when I was asked to make a cake by the American Chemical Society. www.acs.org It brought out the former lab rat in me and brought back all of the memories of the years I spent working in Research and Microbiology Laboratories.

 It was an honor to make a cake for Dr. Royce W. Murray’s retirement reception that was held at the Orange County Convention Center.

 As stated in:
 Royce Murray-Honoring a Lifetime of Research and Teaching http://www.chem.unc.edu/alumni/murray.html
His contributions to electrochemistry and in the chemistry of new materials are recognized worldwide. Among his research accomplishments, Dr. Murray introduced the concept of chemically modified electrodes, tools that are important in chemical sensors, fuel cells, and solar energy conversion.
“His contributions to electrochemistry and in the chemistry of new materials are recognized worldwide…”
A Kenan Professor, Dr. Murray is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and since 1991 editor of Analytical Chemistry, the discipline’s leading publication. He has garnered countless awards, including the University’s Thomas Jefferson Award and the North Carolina Award in Science. During his 50-year career at Carolina, he has mentored more than 155 graduate and post-graduate students out of which 45 hold or have held faculty appointments in colleges and universities, published more than 450 research articles and 160 editorials, four books, and holds four patents.

 Needless to say, it is truly an honor to make a cake for such an amazing man who has made such an impact on the world around us and on the people he works with.

So, on to the cake…Everything on the cake is edible, which makes the cake even more fun, I think…The cake itself is marble cake with chocolate filling and covered in Vanilla buttercream. I call it “Best of Both Worlds”
  The picture frames are solid chocolate with edible pictures inside and dusted with gold luster dust.

 The Bunsen Burner is also edible and has a candle inside that when lit will burn with a blue flame!

And then there is my favorite part…the Erlenmeyer Chemistry Flask. This flask is made of sugar and is pretty much a giant lollipop. The green goo is also made of sugar:) I love my job!!!

 The front flask is glass and the back flask is sugar. Thank you to Velencia College and Professor Andrea Rediske for allowing me to borrow their flask to make a sugar replica.

Best Wishes to Dr. Murray and thank you to all of the staff at The American Chemical Society, it was a pleasure to work with all of  you!

A Country Shabby Chic Wedding Cake

I was so excited when I met with Brittaney and Joey to discuss their wedding cake. As she told me about her plans for the wedding I just couldn’t wait to get started on the cake! I was given permission to post a few of the pictures taken by their amazing photographer Nickole at
The next few are taken by her and once you scroll down to my photos…well, you will know when you get there:) Enjoy!

 Aren’t they just amazing! I love all things vintage, shabby chic, white washed and country and I can not imagine a more beautiful wedding.
On to the cake! I loved the simple yet detailed design of the cake. Brittaney told me she loved lace, pearls and paisleys, so that is what she got. The pearls on the top tier and the pearl necklace on the base are all made of fondant beads and strung on thin transparent line.

 The ruffles, bow and lace are all fondant as well.

Congratulaions to Brittaney and Joey! I wish you all the best for many years to come!

Purple Coach Purse

COACH purses are always fun! Especially purple and silver, I thought the combination turned out well.
The difficult part of this cake was the COACH logo on the front of the purse. I thought long and hard about making a mold of it somehow, or finding another way to copy the horse and carriage, but in the end, I piped it freehand. I thought it turned out pretty good.

 The gum paste shoes are always a great addition to any purse.