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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Cooking Show Featuring Donna's Cakes!

We recently filmed a special episode of the cooking show.

The fabulous Donna Grandy, from Donna's Cakes joined me in the studio (a first!  All previous shows were filmed in my kitchen).  We had a very enthusiastic studio audience, all fans of Donna's Cakes!

During the past two weeks, I have edited/rewritten/deleted dozens of attempts to write this blogpost. How can I possibly convey through words how spectacular these cakes are?

I decided to blitz you with photos!


Part One--

Donna opened her shop in 1990, which happens to be the same year that my husband and I bought our first home.  Since then, her cakes have always been a part of our family celebrations.  I chose three cakes (one for each of my children!) to represent my own family's Donna's Cakes Archives.  (Yes, that's a thing in this house.)


Donna made this cake in 1995 when my daughter, Erin, was christened.

This cake is a perfect example of why someone who has no idea what they want their cake to look like should go to Donna's Cakes!  I just wanted a christening cake for my daughter.  When I phoned in the order and was asked what I wanted the cake to look like, I think I said something like, "I trust that you could design a better cake than I ever could!" Yes, they could and they did, as this cake proves.


I responded the same way when I ordered this cake in 1999 when Caitie made her first communion.  What do I know about decorating a cake?  Not as much as Donna does, that's for sure.

However, there were times that I ordered cakes when I did have a theme in mind.  Usually, it was for a birthday party, in which case I would bring in a plate or a napkin and ask if a cake could be made to match the theme.

I went to Donna's shop last month to film a short segment for the show, and when we entered her back room I noticed several large boxes full of file folders, alphabetized by subject.  She explained that they have graphics that they use when they decorate cakes, or sometimes a customer will bring in a picture of their own, and they save them all for future reference.

It took me all of 30 seconds to locate the "dinosaur" file and pull out the plate that I brought her TWENTY years ago when I requested a dinosaur cake for my son's birthday!  I doubt that even the latest digital state-of-the-art filing system could have located this plate any quicker.

Here's a picture from 1996 of three-year-old Sean with his dinosaur cake!  Oh, my heart.

Part Two--

Photos of cakes from Donna's Archives.  She sent me dozens of photos to look at.  Here are a few that I think you will enjoy!  You can also head over to Donna's Cakes on Facebook to check out more photos!

Whether you need a cake for an expectant mom,

 someone who loves buffalo wings (yes, they're all made out of frosting),

a Strawberry Shortcake-themed birthday,

the birth of a child,

an elegant wedding,

 (or two!)

 someone who likes a cake as finger-licking-good as their chicken,

or a good-natured, good-tasting poke at longevity---you will find the perfect cake at Donna's.

Part Three--

Filming the show.  Decorating with Donna!


Donna brought all of her own supplies to the studio.  A rainbow assortment of frosting.

Royal icing flowers that she had made in advance.  

She gave a quick demonstration of how to make flowers using different piping tubes.

I told her that I consider it a success if I can frost a cake without getting crumbs into the frosting.  She  instructed me that the key to avoiding that problem is to use a "crumb coat," which is simply a thin layer of frosting to completely cover the cake.  It doesn't matter if you get crumbs into the crumb coat, because you will then frost over it and cover all of the blemishes.

She then demonstrated how to get the frosting to look flat and smooth, by lightly patting it with a paper towel.  The key is to use a flat paper towel, one without an embossed pattern.

And then she proceeded to decorate the cake, making roses out of frosting to complement the royal icing flowers and finishing with a swirly border around the flowers and curlicues around the sides.

 It only took her a few minutes to decorate this cake!

Next, she instructed us how to transfer an image onto a a cake.  She started with this Hello Kitty graphic.

She outlined the borders of the graphic with icing, using a plain pastry tube with a fine tip.  She then flipped the image upside-down onto the cake (or in this case, a board for demonstration purposes), and lightly pressed on it to transfer the image.

She then filled in the image with frosting, using the original graphic as a decorating guide.

Finally, she decorated a cake with a jungle theme.

Before we knew it, a tiger, lion, monkey, elephant, giraffe and alligator were all relaxing on top of this cake!

A few palm trees complete the scene.

The members of the studio audience were all fans of Donna and her cakes, and I think they really enjoyed watching how she creates her designs.

When we finished, everyone in the studio was given a piece of her cake.  One person told me that her family has been ordering Donna's cakes for over 20 years, they love the cakes because they're beautiful but especially because they taste homemade--which is probably the highest compliment that you can give a baker!