Dreams in Cake

Rustic Succulent Cake Featured on 100-layer Cake

What comes to mind when you think of succulent cakes, sheep, farm tables, moss, soft wheat, a rustic stone cottage and long flowing hair? Well a rustic wedding, of course.woodsy001 woodsy002 woodsy003 woodsy004 woodsy005 woodsy007

woodsy venue

woodsy venue

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Our wonderful rustic-bohemian styled shot was just featured on 100-layer Cake.  Millie B Photography organized and stylized the whole shoot to perfection at Woolverton Inn in Stockton, NJ. Thank you Millie!

In harmony with the rest of the team, we used a natural color palette of greens, white with wheat colored elements, touches of gold, soft blush pink details to design our rustic succulent wedding cake.

Rustic themed weddings are all the rage right now; diy weddings, natural outdoor details, quaint and soft design and colors.

We lined the bottom of the cake with green moss and a braided gold fondant border. The cake was designed with an asymmetrical diagonal arrangement of hand-made sugar flowers.

We also made two cakes individual mini cakes with a hand-painted initial on each for bride and groom.

The feel of this design was not to be fussy but rather romantic, soft, unique and woodsy.

I just love the braid in Alina’s hair!

We were pleased to be featured with the very talented wedding dress designer: Sareh Nouri, interior designer & florist: Mimi Betancourt at Bloom Flora, designer & event planner: Reverie Events, Hair & Makeup: Magda Nyitray, and the beautiful models Alina Monacu & Martina Micko.

 

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Featured in Vogue Japan blog

Heather Barranco Dreamcakes was featured in the Vogue Japan blog. We didn’t go to Japan to design a Japanese cake or have an exciting fun filled trip. They simply found us online. We’re honestly not sure what the whole blog says because we don’t read Japanese.  But most of it seems to be translated online.For those of you who may be able to read Japanese or want to check it out, here’s the link: Vogue Japan.  Vogue Japan included a number of our photos including our Vogue Cake, Indian Elephant Cake, Juicy Wedding Cake, Pnina Tornai Cake, and Hillary Clinton’s Cake, among others.

We have a lot of Asian style cakes in our gallery because it’s one of our favorite styles of art & design. You can see their influence on the many Asian cakes we get asked to do. That’s not to say that we don’t love other styles. It’s just that the sense of style is so beautiful and artistic while the many cultural dresses are so unique and elegant. Japanese art is know for it’s simplicity and being inspired by nature; cherry blossoms, peaceful lakes, large mountains and large peonies. Just look at their writing; it’s a work of art! If you want to experience some beautiful Asian art, take a trip to NYC Metropolitan Museum’s Asian wing. Who couldn’t get lost in their beautiful sense of style? It takes one to another time and place that seems so exotic.

Thanks for including Heather Barranco Dreamcakes in your blog Vogue Japan! Sending a little blog love back to Japan!

いつかはオーダーしてみたい!ドリームケーキ〜Heather Barranco

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Brides Magazine; Featuring our Monet Cake

The September 2012 issue of Brides Magazine features our Individual Monet Waterlilies Cakes. The online version can be viewed here.

Brides Magazine contacted us about a special spread that would have wedding products inspired by impressionism. We designed and created these cakes especially for them. Our design was inspired by a number of Monet’s Waterlilies paintings; some of his most famous works; featuring a palette of soft blues, purples, greens and pink.

Our Dreamcake features a hand-made blush-pink waterlily sugar flower a top a hand-painted buttercream mini-cake. The buttercream colors were painted on and blended with a palette knife. The cakes are made to look dreamy, organic and natural. Each one is slightly different and unique. The colors dance slightly from cake to cake, so each guest feels that they received a hand made painting on their plate. We thought this 4″ cake would be perfectly romantic for each couple to share at the end of their meal.

 

The Impressionistic movement took place in Paris during the mid-late 19th century, when a number of artists began to break away from the traditional genres of painting. Some of the most famous impressionistic painters were Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, and Mary Cassatt.They depicted everyday life that showed the movement of light, nature and color with short visible brushstrokes.  During their time, these painters were considered rebellious.

Now, we consider impressionistic works to be romantic, light, soft and natural. Reminding us of leisure days outdoors or sweet moments with our loved ones. Some of my personal favorite pieces of impressionism are:File:The Child's Bath by Mary Cassatt 1893.jpg

Mary Cassatt’s The Child’s Bath, featuring a sweet, loving scene between mother and child.

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s La Grenouillère and Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette. Both scenes depict a happy outdoor soiree; perfect for inspiration of an dreamy outdoor wedding. We hope these paintings inspire the artist in each of you!

 

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Cake Wrecks

What do cake designers do in their free time? Do we make cake? Eat cake? Read cake cookbooks?  Actually, we read one of the funniest websites called Cakewrecks.com to kick back and unwind. Cake Wrecks have compiled photos on everything from “creepy baby cakes”, “celebrity cake wrecks” and even “8 cakes for completely inappropriate occasions“. Some of their comments are so funny, that I was crying. One of my personal favorites is the photo of Michael Jackson’s sweet sixteen cake, and the caption below it stating “Because every 16-year-old boy dreams of having a giant wicker basket of roses on his birthday cake.”

If you are in a mood to see some funny photos and just laugh, this is a great site. Some of the humor is dark, but it’s very amusing. Their motto is “when professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong.”

Has Dreamcakes been asked to do a cake that I would consider strange? The simple answer is yes. We’re in New York City. There are no shortage of unique requests. But as a native New Yorker, I must say, it does take a lot to surprise me!

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Snowboard Groom’s Cake & Taupe Wedding Cake Featured on Style Me Pretty

Our clients Cordelia and Chris were featured on Style Me Pretty’s blog, http://www.stylemepretty.com/2012/08/13/nyit-de-seversky-mansion-wedding-from-cly-creation-quatre-coeur/. Photos can be seen at the link above. This was a beautiful wedding at the de Seversky Mansion. This is the type of gorgeous wedding that most brides only dream about. The event planner was Loli Events, photography was by CLY Creation and flowers by Quatre Coeur.

Featured on Style Me Pretty can be seen our taupe and white 4-tier wedding cake. Along with the wedding cake, we also created a giant ski and snowboard mountain groom’s cake complete with trees, houses and snowboarders.  Their groom’s cake photos were not show on Style Me Pretty so we provided a picture below. Ironically, Cordelia came to me with the idea of a very elaborate snowboard mountain cake instead of a traditional wedding cake. They love to snowboard every weekend at Stratton, so this was very meaningful to the couple. After our consultation I advised Cordelia to order a smaller, less elaborate snow boarding cake so she could fit a traditional wedding cake into her budget. But , I wouldn’t exactly call this cake a “simple” design.

 

 

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Featured in Wedding Nouveau Magazine Spring/Summer 2012

We’ve been featured in Wedding Nouveau magazine this Spring. You can read it online or order a printed copy here. You may also glance at it below. Wedding Nouveau magazine accents cultural weddings. It is a high-quality, beautifully designed magazine. Be sure to check it out!

Click any of the images below to view in PDF format.

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Winner of our wedding cake giveaway

Congratulations to Linda Kajtazi from NYC, winner of our $1000 Dreamcake wedding cake giveaway!

Early this spring Heather Barranco Dreamcakes was asked to participate in some of the most stylish bridal shows sponsored in NYC. During these events hundreds of excited brides eagerly  joined our mailing list to receive our blog updates, photos of our most recent cake designs,  and for the chance to win one of our tasty Dreamcakes wedding cakes. Today, we are happy to announce the lucky winner of our random drawing.  We are looking forward to collaborating with our winner and designing the most beautiful wedding cake for her upcoming wedding.

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10 Tips for Stylish NYC Wedding Cakes

I’m often told that our wedding cakes look more like a line of NYC Wedding Cakes rather than a line NJ Wedding Cakes. Why is that? New Jersey is just right across the tunnel. I happen to live there and love it. Do people expect individuals from NJ to simply look like they are straight out of the “The Jersey Shore” show? Maybe because NYC is associated with cutting edge style; the epi-center for museums, fashion and art. We have locations in both NYC and NJ but most of are clients are NYC-based.

Here’s my top 10 tips on how to make a wedding cake look stylish:

1. Don’t be afraid of a little color. Use pops of color that you see in fashion but make sure the colors don’t clash.

2. Make sure your cake has some negative space to give your eye a rest

3. Know when to edit! Too many themes or design elements make a cake look cheap or jumbled.

4. Bling is like makeup. A little bit goes a long way. You need to know when to edit the bling to a shimmer rather than looking too ostentatious.

5. Save the swags for the living room curtains, not the cake.

6. Delicate details make the cake look “wedding” and special, whether it is some hand-painted designs, hand-made sugar flowers or piped lace details.

7. Feng-Shui. The cake needs to have a sense of balance of scale, flow and movement for it to look high-style.

8. Add some personality to your cake. Make your cake unique by adding some unconventional and unexpected design elements. Above, we added plexiglass tier separators to make this cake stand-out.

9. Think of the tone of your wedding and make your cake reflect that. Is it romantic, modern, traditional, retro or whimsical? This tone should be followed through all the elements of your wedding including your cake. Make an inspiration board to keep you on track.

10. A delicious cake never goes out of style! There is nothing worse than cutting into a beautiful cake that you can’t swallow. Many venues include the cake in the price of the plate. Sometimes, these cakes are not very good. Make sure to taste the cake before ordering it. Many venues will give you a credit if you want to go with your own cake designer.

 

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Behind the Scenes at Food Network’s Sweet Genius

When I was a kid I used to sit in my favorite hiding place and pretend to be on TV; possibly being interviewed by a newscaster or acting out a scene from a made-up drama. I would take my mother’s makeup and draw all over my face; painting elaborate designs or just making myself up into character. Later in my teens, I was a part of the Drama club and improv was my favorite. I think it was always a childhood fantasy to be on TV .

When I was asked to be on Food Network’s Sweet Genius by a casting agency, I initially said “no”.  As I thought about it and talked to the producers, I realized that the inventiveness and creativity of Sweet Genius was intriguing. This was about enjoying the moment; trying something new and going out of my comfort zone… on national TV…in front of hundreds of thousands of people.

Being on Sweet Genius was fun, exciting, exhausting and inventive. Many people never get the chance to go behind the scenes and see what it is like to film a show for TV. Firstly, you do not know what the categories for the competition will be. We were given 10 possible categories, from breads to ice-cream. Some of which I do not have much experience with. A few hours before filming I was told the categories; chocolate, candy and cake. Candy? I guessed I’d wing it; have fun and play.

The first day we filmed the start of the show where they introduce everyone. The producers knew exactly how they planned on filming me. I had a sketchbook in hand and cakes all around, like being in Wonderland. I was directed to do every smile, glance or hand movement. It was a lot of fun. They wanted to show sketches flying all over the set while a big fan blew my hair around. I felt like I was one of the Charlie’s Angels, from back in the day. Okay, I thought, I’m being portrayed as either the glamour girl or the diva…but it’s all in good fun.

The next day we arrived at 6am to a large buffet breakfast in the lobby. (I never forget the food) We were asked to hand over our phones and recipes. Recipes had to be memorized. After all the contestants met, we were escorted to the set. When I walked in, I felt like I walked into Candy land or Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. It made the contestants feel special and intrigued. The set had all kinds of equipment I’ve never seen and everything was organized in a pretty rainbow array of colors. The producers showed us around for about 10 minutes.

Next we started filming the intro. I was told to look at  the camera serious , then happy, then do something funny. I started to dance. After some instruction about this and that Chef Ron came on set. They asked us to stare at him for what seemed like 10 minutes- with a camera in each of our faces. Can you image working on a competition with a camera in your face the whole time? What happen to personal space? What happened to reality TV? Well, I quickly started to see that reality TV is not really reality when it comes to TV. I just kept telling myself, “I’m here to have fun, to challenge myself”.

The first challenge was chocolate. We were given Vermicelli Noodles with Lightning as our inspiration. We were given about 5 minutes to sketch out our ideas before the clock started. I was inspired by lightning rods and the heat of the lighting when it hits a tree for the design. But for the taste? My grandmother’s Easter spaghetti custard. I grew up hating it but eventually learned to like it over time. I knew it was easy and quick. This dessert had to be chocolate so I mixed in some chocolate to custard. The cameras no longer bothered me.

Next, the secret ingredient was tamarind candy. I tasted the spicy sweet candy and found a seed inside. “This is awesome”, I thought. Tamarind is an Indian fruit. My Indian mother-in-law cooks with it so I’m familiar with how to accent it’s flavor. I cook with Indian spices almost daily.  This is Food Network Baby! So in goes some passion fruit concentrate, which is a great compliment to chocolate, along with crushed peppercorns, for heat ,and my favorite: fresh ginger! Out of my nervousness, I only make one custard and forgot to make another to taste.

Next while watching the clock, I take the dried noodles and dip them in chocolate to look like lighting bolts, charred, crispy and a little scary. I made my dish look asymmetrical to show that the lightning bolt was moving. I finished with a minute or two to spare. We presented our desserts all together. This was a good round for me. Although it was cut on TV, with a big smile Chef Ron complimented my dessert and the clean design of my plate, and named it “the eye of the storm”. He said it reminds him of Kugel from Israel. I told him how I combined the influence of my Italian family, specifically my grandmother, with my husband’s Indian culture. It was a good representation of me as chef. Chef Ron told me that my grandmother would be very proud to taste this dessert. I was bummed that the producers cut out everything about my family because I wanted my grandmother and family to see that she was my inspiration when the show aired. That made me so happy to have such a successful dish inspired by my family recipe.

I told Chef Ron that I only made one custard, so he asked me to try it. He said, that if I was to open a restaurant that my “eye of the storm” dessert  should be on the menu, for sure. We discussed our similar backgrounds in the arts, him as a dancer and me as an artist/designer. He was very hospitable.

During the other contestants critiques, he asked one of the chefs to step out of the box and present something unexpected that would excite him, so I kept that statement to heart for the next round. Chef Samantha was eliminated in the first round. In between rounds, the producers interviewed us in separate rooms to go over our thoughts and size up the competition.

Next round; Candy! Chocolate could not be used as the primary dish, we were told. I was excited. This is all about the ‘experiment’ and ‘seizing the day’ because I know little about making hard candies. What to do? Have fun. First comes our mandatory ingredient, Pomelos, which is like a bitter grapefruit. Next, our inspiration; Origami, the Japanese art of paper folding.I really felt so happy because it harks back to my childhood. I know how to make a number of origami designs by heart. This was my favorite past-time in 5th grade. I wanted to make a hard candy folded sugar crane of sorts. I thought to make it out of sugar paste, my expertise, but thought this would be a cop out because sugar paste is pre-made and Chef Ron may accuse me of not challenging myself. Instead, I started to make a honey candy to balance out the bitterness of the pomelos. I decide to juice the fruit but the juicer was not working. As I open the juicer to fix the issue, I see that this brand new juicer had the plastic and cardboard inside! This was not shown on TV.

I add the juice into the candy which caused it to burn! But before I would remake it, I decide to pour out the burnt candy and try folding it to see if my idea works. It works but then breaks as it cools. I realize time is running out and my candy is burnt! So I need to make something that tastes interesting for Chef Ron quickly. The next secret ingredient is Honeycomb. I think Thai Basil and Honeycomb has a Japanese influence so I decide to make a basil gelee.  I had read in John Iuzzini’s (Top Chef: Just Desserts’ judge and former executive pastry chef for Daniel and Jean-Georges) cookbook that Basil gelee makes a unique fresh Asian dessert. I had tested his recipe previously and liked it. Basil is a very polarizing herb. You either love it or hate it.

When the second round was finished, I present my broken burnt sugar crane with a stream of basil gelee to show the flight path.  Unfortunately, Chef Ron was not a fan of Basil Gelee.  I was “no sweet genius” after all. I left the studio at 7:30pm that night, exhausting from talking to the producers for hours, rehashing my every move and thought on file.

On April 5th the show aired. My kids were so disappointed that I did not win Sweet Genius. I explained that I WAS a winner. I got to live my childhood fantasy of being on TV in a dramatic show. On Food Network. Wow.

All in all it was wonderful experience. Viewers should realize reality TV is edited for drama and with the entertainment of the viewer in mind.  Each competitor in that room was special and inventive in their own way. I especially took a liking to The Hard Rock Cafe’s Chef Alon, whom was very warm and a real gentleman. I knew he won before he even completed the cake round. He has over 20 years experience as an executive pastry chef, a national pastry competition award winner, in the Guinness Book of Records for the tallest wedding cake, and had a large repetoire of knowledge of every kind of pastry and sugar technique. I was honored to compete against him on Food Network.

Before I left the stage, Chef Ron said that he hoped one day to taste my cake and that he would want me to taste his. I knew that day would be sooner than he would expect. The next week, we were both presenters at the Martha Stewart Wedding Party. I saw him in the hall way and told him to stop by my table when he gets a minute to taste my cake. I tasted his cake while his assistant was setting up his table. Later, he found me at my table and asked me to “feed him” my cake. Chef Ron is dramatic, like you would expect. But that’s what makes him fun. He commented on how much he enjoyed the cake and tasted all 3 flavors while he eyed the Dreamcakes’ cake designs. He pointed at my sugar flowers and commented on the beauty. He was very sweet and friendly.

I was proud to be a part of the second season of Sweet Genius. It was a very entertaining, creative and exciting show.

 

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Appearing on Food Network’s Sweet Genius!

Holy Thursday! On Thursday, April 5th at 10pm I will be appearing on Food Network as a contestant on the second season of Sweet Genius. The name of the episode is “Electrifying Genius”.

This competition features the contestants competing in Chocolate, Candy and Cake. It’s crazy, creative and unique. Each segment is timed and unpredictable. It was so much fun! I can’t wait to blog all about my experience after it airs.

Here’s a link to food network’s synopsis of this episode.  Don’t forget to watch!

 

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