Cake Utopia

All Occasion and Custom Cakes in Kalamazoo Michigan by Nicole Kalmbach

Congrats! January 2, 2012

Filed under: Congrats Cakes,What's new? — Cake Utopia @ 10:48 am

Below you will find the only two cakes that I have ever made, that didn’t take pictures of!  The pictures you see are courtesy of my clients.  It just so happens that both are congrats cakes, so I thought I would put them together here.  Note:  Since these are the only pictures I have, I have not linked them to separate photo pages.

This first one is a congratulatory cake for a few people who were graduating from pipe fitting school.  It is chocolate with chocolate swiss merengue buttercream filling and swiss merengue buttercream frosting.  The decorations are fondant.  Here are some client comments:  “This was so good. I think you are getting better and better!”  “This was a really tasty cake!!” “I have to agree! Delicious!”

Here is the logo that I used as a guide for the top of the cake.  The client asked for just the UA part (not the wrenches).  I did put the wrenches on the side of the cake, though.

The second cake is for a WMU student who graduated in December.  It is chocolate cake with peppermint buttercream filling and ganache frosting.

Baby shower cakes are next!!


Fall Themed Cakes (2011)

Filed under: Fall Cakes,What's new? — Cake Utopia @ 9:25 am

I have just a few cakes slated for this update.  Be sure to click on the pictures in this post to see more detailed pictures for each project.

Fall would not be complete if I didn’t make an autumn themed bundt cake.  You’ll find below the 2011 rendition of this classic.  It is a pumpkin molasses bundt cake with caramel glaze and caramel candy cut out decorations.

Just before Halloween, my cousin, Andrea, came to visit me.  She’d been wanting to make a cake for a Really long time.  So that Andrea had the most time to decorate, I made the cake prior to her arrival.  The flavor is apple, with caramel cream cheese filling.  I learned a thing or two about caramel while trying to make the filling.  In fact, I ended up dumping a whole batch of caramel out as the whole thing just crystalized in the pan.  Caramel is actually a pretty tricky thing to master.  And, I will admit, I wouldn’t consider myself a master.. just yet!

Andrea decorated the entire thing, all on her own.  She rolled and cut out probably more than 100 fondant leaves to cover the cake.  It took several hours and I was very proud that she hung in there until the end.   Oh, the pumpkin on top is pumpkin molasses cake baked in a pumpkin mold and covered with fondant.  I think this cake is really great for Andreas first attempt at working with fondant.  She’s only 12, too!

These turkey cakes were inspired by Buddy Valastro (AKA Cake Boss)!  His show toured through Kalamazoo at the beginning of November, so of course I had to see it.  The show didn’t get the best of reviews here in Kzoo, but I thought it was really neat.  It was more of a comedy show than a “how-to” kind of thing.  During the show, he challenged the audience to make the turkey cake from his new book.  The cakes are actually a bundt cake (one is carrot and the other is pumpkin molasses) that is cut to make a “turkey” shape.  The cakes are covered with piped and colored cream cheese frosting.

I met Buddy for about 30 seconds, and TLC took this lovely picture of us!  I did find this part a bit disappointing and wished that he could have spent at least a few minutes with me.  He wouldn’t even personally address the book to me!!  Anyway, it was still a unique experience!

Congratulation cakes are next.. stay tuned!


Cupcakes: October through December 2011 January 1, 2012

Filed under: Cupcakes,What's new? — Cake Utopia @ 8:49 pm

I’m going to apologize in advance for the multiple facebook messages and notification emails that you may receive as a result of my long overdue updates being completed in just one day.  Rather than posting in chronological order (as I usually do), I’ve decided to categorize the cakes and will hit all the updates with just seven posts! 🙂

In an attempt to refine my cupcake making skills, find some really great recipes, and use leftover batter to its fullest extent, I made quite a few cupcakes this fall!  If you click on the pictures below, you will be transported to more detailed pictures for each order.

The first in the collection are some really fun, very girly cupcakes.  I really love how these turned out!

After using my chocolate cake recipe for cupcakes and having the cupcakes fall in the middle countless times, I began the search for a new cupcake recipe.  I found this chocolate cupcake recipe by Ina Garten.  The cupcake recipe included a recipe for peanut butter frosting, as well, so I whipped up both together.  The cupcakes are great and the peanut butter frosting is the silkiest, smoothest frosting that I have ever had with powder sugar in it.  The whole thing turned out to be a great find, and one that I have used many times since.

After a trip to Europe, some friends asked if I could incorporate Nutella into a batch of cupcakes.  I came up with these chocolate cupcakes with Nutella swiss merengue buttercream sprinkled with hazelnuts.  To be honest, these were not my favorite.  I need to (but haven’t had time to) work on adding the Nutella into the recipe so that the Nutella can be clearly tasted!

Below you will find pumpkin molasses cupcakes with caramel frosting and caramel cut outs.  These are pretty much a fall staple around our house.  They definitely get you in the mood for fall!

Stay tuned… more posts are on the way!


I’m still here! December 28, 2011

Filed under: What's new? — Cake Utopia @ 9:53 am

Greetings avid Cake Utopia followers! Please know that I have not forgotten about my blog! December brought lots of new business and I’ve just been incredibly busy, filling orders and working on holiday projects of my own, that I haven’t had quality time to devote to the blog. I sat down last night to start working on the latest update and realized that I have had 22 orders since my last update. As you can imagine, this next update is going to take some time! So, I thought I would give you a little teaser of what’s to come. This is one of my absolute favorites, done for a very good friends baby shower:


I have the rest of this week off and I am planning to get this beast of an update done! Check back soon for some quality cake viewing!

P.S. I hope that you all had a Merry Christmas and I wish you a very happy 2012!


Summer 2011 September 6, 2011

Filed under: What's new? — Cake Utopia @ 8:53 pm

Greetings cake fans!  With only a few orders on the horizon for the summer, I inadvertently took a break from “the bake”!  But, now I’m back and ready to ensue the crazy pace of life, work, and cake!

Please read on for my summer’s adventures in cake.  If you click on each of the pictures, you will see more details of each project.

Purple Zebra Cake

This cake was really very exciting for me, as it was the first cake that was commissioned from a complete stranger who found me via search results that brought them to this page!  The layers were a 12, 8, and 4 inches stacked largest to smallest.  The 12″ layer was white with vanilla almond swiss merengue buttercream filling.  The 8″ layer was red velvet with vanilla buttercream filling and the 4″ layer was chocolate with raspberry filling.  All layers were covered in swiss merengue buttercream.

The black zebra stripe was created with black fondant.  The middle layer is covered in purple fondant and the top layer is zebra striped purple fondant that matches the middle layer.  The zebra bow on the second layer is a fabric bow, per the customers request.  Putting the zebra stripes together was no easy feat, but I really enjoyed letting my creativity flow!  Happy sweet 16, Taylor!

One Baptism Cake for Two Babies

Back in February, I made a baby shower cake for a beautiful baby boy who was born in April.  In July, I had the pleasure of making a baptism cake for him, as well as his sweet baby girl cousin, who was born in December.  The cake is a 12″ white with raspberry filling and ivory tinted swiss merengue buttercream.  The decorations are made with fondant and are 100% edible.  Congratulations to James & Maren!

Grandma turns 90!

On August 18th, my grandmother turned 90!  She’s a pretty special lady, in more ways than one, to have lived so long.  I wasn’t able to be there on her birthday, but I did spend a long weekend with her a few weeks before the big day.  Anyone who knows my grandma, knows that she LOVES sweets.  She could subsist on sweets alone if she really wanted to!  So, to quench her sweet tooth, I made her two (not one) birthday cakes!  The first cake was a chocolate peanut butter and the 2nd was carrot cream cheese.  Happy 90th Birthday Grandma!

A Bee Hive Birthday

On the first weekend in August, we celebrated my mother-in-laws birthday.  It was a lovely day with lunch in Byron with the family and a bee hive birthday cake for dessert!  The bee hive is a lemon cake made in a Williams Sonoma molded pan.  The pan was given to me as a gift from my mother-in-law, so it was the perfect occasion to test it out.  The cake is actually baked in two halves and stuck together with buttercream.  The cake is brushed with a honey lemon glaze and had lemon drizzle for icing.  The bees are made of colored fondant.  Happy Birthday Karen!

Other Summer Treats

In between the few cake orders, I also managed to make a few treats for family and friends.  Pictured below is a blueberry ice cream pie made with Michigan blueberries.  Click the picture and you can see what else I was up to.

White Wedding Cake

A perfect end to a great summer came in the form of a last-minute order for a wedding cake.  Unfortunately for a bride, her baker backed out on her at the last-minute.  Fortunately, for me (and her), we didn’t make any plans for this weekend, so I was able to make the cake!

The cake consists of three layers:  12″, 8:, and 4″.  All layers of the cake are white with vanilla swiss merengue buttercream frosting and filling.  The technical and time-consuming piece of the cake was the pink roses.  Each rose is handmade of gum paste.  There are about 30 roses total, and they took about 25 hours to make.. about an hour a rose!  Well worth the effort, though!

I’m looking forward to picking up with the cake business again this fall.  Place your orders today!! 🙂


Jungle Sports Baby Shower Cake June 22, 2011

Filed under: What's new? — Cake Utopia @ 9:54 pm

If I have ever made a cake very quickly, this one is it!  I started baking at 7:00 last night and finished decorating at 7:00 this morning!  No worries, I was not working on the cake the whole time!  As a result of having such a short time frame, I will readily admit that this is not my best work.  However, since it was a “donation”, I at least feel like the recipients got there money’s worth!

The cake is an 8″ chocolate cake with swiss merengue buttercream frosting and red raspberry filling.  The decorations are all fondant and match the bedding set that the parents to be have chosen.  Click on the picture below for more details.

Due next Thursday:  3 tiered zebra sweet 16 cake!


Reid’s 1st Birthday Cake!

Filed under: What's new? — Cake Utopia @ 9:17 pm

My, oh my, was this cake ever a challenge!  Honestly, I expected it to be easy, as it really was a simple design.  However, when nothing goes according to plan, the simplest plan becomes so difficult!

The challenges started right from the very beginning.  As I was mixing up the batter, I dropped the ramekin that was holding the eggs into the batter, while the mixer was on.  I was using my turbo powered mixer, so you can imagine the scene in my kitchen with eggs, butter, and sugar flung about.  It was  on the walls, cabinets, floor, kitchen rug, and me!  Fortunately, the ramekin remained in tact, so I didn’t have to start all over again, I just altered the recipe to accommodate the remains!

After the cake was mostly done, I took it out of the fridge to do a few touch ups.  Much to my dismay, as the room temperature air hit the ganache (top layer) and the fondant, the fondant circles began to slide down the ganache.  I had to take the circles off and replace them with much thinner rolled out fondant.  Oh yes, not to mention that our A/C went out Friday night and was barely working, at best, by Saturday afternoon.

At the last-minute, and I mean literally 10 minutes before I needed to walk out the door, I realized that I forgot to put the writing on the cake board.  I just really could not seem to get it together for this one!  As much as I had trouble, though, I do think that my customer was happy with the result… which, of course, is my #1 goal.

The cake consists of a 10″ and 6″ layer.  Both layers are marble cake with Oreo cream filling.  The bottom layer is frosted with blue-tinted swiss merengue buttercream, while the 2nd tier is covered with ganache.  All of the adornments are made of fondant, except the food-safe wires coming out of the top.  The smash cake is also marble with buttercream frosting.  Just click on the picture below to see additional detailed photos.

Megan also ordered a dozen mini bundt cakes.  Here are they are waiting to be closed up and delivered to their new home.

And, finally, to top everything off, we had Steve’s family over for Father’s Day dinner on Sunday!  We had a great time catching up and visiting with everyone.  It was especially nice to see Aunt Kathy, who is in town from Georgia!  Pictured below is our desert of mini lemon bundt cakes with fresh Michigan strawberries, topped with fresh whipped cream.

This strawberry delight is in a Lismore Waterford crystal bowl that was given to us as an early 5 year anniversary gift from Steve’s grand parents.  It is really beautiful and I am excited to add this to our collection that we started when we got married.  It is wonderful to have a Grandma with such fine taste.  We thank you and will cherish it!

On deck:  Jungle sports baby shower cake from today and a sweet 16 3-tiered zebra cake for next week!!


Pirates of the Caribbean Lego Cake June 20, 2011

Filed under: What's new? — Cake Utopia @ 9:12 pm

This cake is surely one of my favorites!  The title of this blog is exactly the request that I was given.  The customer pretty much said do whatever you want to get there.  My inspiration from this primarily came out of using up the leftover gray fondant that I had made for the crawfish boil cake.  It just so happened that the fondant that I had already tinted gray perfectly matched the Lego gray.  From there, the design just came to me!

The cake is an 8″ chocolate cake with ganache raspberry filling and is frosted with swiss merengue ganache buttercream.  Each of the gray “stones” that you see were hand cut to varying sizes.  My pasta roller came in VERY handy, once again.  To ensure that my lines remained straight, I started from the bottom and worked my way up to the top.  Surprisingly, I was only about 1/8″ off when I finally made it to the top.  It was easy enough to hide such a small difference.  The top border is just fondant that I cut to meet the width and height of a real Lego.  I used the #10 tip to cut out all 100+ tiny rounds for the Lego tops.  Each one had to be individually attached, too.  Let’s just say that I significantly underestimated how long this cake would take!  It was well worth the effort, though.

The top turret is made out of rice krispie treats (RKT).  I made the RKT turret as follows:  1.  I first lined an empty fondant container with saran wrap.  2.  While the RKT was still warm, I packed it into the container.  3.   I then placed it into the freezer to set.  4.  About an hour later, I tapped the fondant container, pulled on the saran wrap, and out popped the turret!  I frosted the RKT and covered it with the bricks and Legos in the same way as the bottom level.

As much as I would have loved to sculpt the Lego guys, I had to concede and go with the store-bought version.  My customer actually bought a Pirates of the Caribbean Lego set for the birthday boy, so she gave me the characters out of that set.  It worked perfectly and was a real time saver!

If you would like to see more details, just click on the picture above.

Up next:  A one year old birthday cake from last Saturday.


Chicago Bears Football Themed Birthday Cakes June 12, 2011

Filed under: What's new? — Cake Utopia @ 9:59 am

Are you ready for some football???

KJ, my cousins kid or my second cousin, turned 8 last Thursday.  For his pool party, he requested two football themed cakes:  one for a party with kids from school and soccer and one for family friends and relatives.

The football shaped cake below was baked in a football shaped pan.  It is chocolate cake that is filled and frosted with swiss merengue buttercream and covered in chocolate fondant.  To give the football texture, I imprinted it using a plastic needlework sheet after rolling out the fondant.  The football laces as well as the number 8’s are made of vanilla fondant.  The green grass is tinted cream cheese frosting.  I thought that there would be tons of this cake leftover.  Obviously, I underestimated the cake eating power of a bunch of 8 year old boys!  They tore the cake up and a lot of them even came back for seconds.  I am amazed at the contrast between the dainty pieces of cake that adults typically eat and the huge quantities that kids can eat.  Obviously kids know the secret to appreciating a cake baker:  The more of the cake that disappears, the better it is!!  I’ll bake cake for kids parties any day!

KJ, being the lucky boy that he is, actually had 2 parties in the same day.  The cake below is an 8″ lemon cake with lemon curd filling and lemon swiss merengue buttercream frosting.  The football decorations are made of chocolate fondant while the other decor is vanilla fondant.  The Bears logo is on top of the cake.  I made the logo as follows:  I first cut out a 6″ circle of blue colored fondant and attached it to the cake.  To add a sparkle element (though the pictures do not give the sparkle proper justice – if anyone has ideas on how to photograph sparkle, I’d love to hear them!), I painted the round with a mixture of sparkle dust and vodka (don’t worry, the vodka evaporates as the round dries).  I then cut out the white and orange C’s and adhered them to the blue.

You can click either picture above and it will take you to a page with more detail pictures.  Every time I decorate a cake, I learn something new.  Friday and Saturday were really quite humid days in Kzoo.  When I put the fondant on the very cold (refrigerated cakes), it would begin to sweat within just a few minutes.  I had to work quickly with smoothing and getting it in just the right place.  This was good and bad, I suppose.  It did make the fondant very shiny without me having to trick it into being shiny with the steamer, but it did not leave much room for error.

Cakes on deck:  Pirate themed Lego cake for Tuesday and Megan’s 1 year old tiered cake w/ remnants of Mickey Mouse for Saturday.  I have an order for mini lemon cakes for Saturday (see next post), and some kind of cake desert for Sunday, too.  With all of this business, it really is utopia at Cake Utopia!


Piano Recital Cake: Tickling the ivories! June 8, 2011

Filed under: What's new? — Cake Utopia @ 11:27 pm

One cake down and 4, technically 5 to go before next Sunday.  Apparently, much to my pleasure, June is cake madness month!

The cake below is a 12″ carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  The piano keys are individually cut and made out of fondant.  I must say that I now have a new found love for my Kitchenaid pasta roller.  It made rolling out the sheets and sheets of fondant so much easier!  When the order came in for this cake, I was really excited to work on it as I did play the piano for about 8 of my formative years.  I have always held the piano near and dear to my heart.  I’ll admit that I do believe “making” a piano is just as much fun as playing it!  Click on the picture below for more detailed photos.