Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 entries.

Fruitcake – Reviving and Revamping a Holiday Tradition

  • Posted on January 12, 2019 at 3:46 pm

Brandy Laced Fruitcake


As a cake decorator and dessert lover I have accumulated countless recipes over the years. While many are classics like yellow, chocolate, lemon or red velvet, some, like olive oil cake and cranberry cherry are more adventurous. I especially love to make seasonal cakes – flavors so particular that, for the traditional-minded, can take you back in time. When summer comes, a lemon blueberry can be quite refreshing, while apple pecan spice cake screams fall and, during the cold days of winter, nothing tops chocolate fudge cake with an amaretto mocha cream and salted caramel.

Maybe because I am married to an Englishman, nothing says Christmas more than the traditional English fruitcake and the aromas that drift from the oven as the combination of dried fruits and nuts are baked.

Pinecones and Oranges

With December quickly approaching, I can’t wait to make my Applesauce fruitcake! Part of my love for this holiday classic probably stems from my heritage. In Argentina you can find the “torta galesa”, the special delicacy that Welsh settlers brought to the southern province of Chubut and that inspired the gorgeous tea houses dotted around the small village of Gaiman. This cake is now considered an Argentine culinary treasure.

Fondant Mushrooms and Acorns

Unfortunately, many people associate traditional English fruitcake as being dry and tasteless, perhaps because the store-bought version often completely cuts corners with the time it takes to bake and infuse the finished product. Many homemade fruitcakes call for a simple sponge with an insufficient amount of added dried fruit. In fact, a true fruitcake recipe should have an overabundance of your preferred fruits and nuts, with a far lower ratio of regular cake ingredients that are simply required to bind it all together. To age it, a lacing sauce of good quality brandy and fruit juices must be regularly drizzled over the cake for anywhere up to three months – the longer and more frequently the better! The result is a very moist cake that is a delight to the senses.


I hope you enjoy this recipe from my family and have a wonderful holiday season!


Brandy Laced Fruitcake


16oz Pitted Dates
8oz Dried Apricots
8oz Raisins
4oz Maraschino Cherries, halved
12oz Pecans
12oz Walnuts
12oz All purpose Flour
2 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Baking Powder
½ Tsp Ground Cloves
½ Tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 Tsp Cinnamon
½ Tsp Salt
4oz Unsalted Butter, room temperature
4oz Light Brown Sugar
4oz Granulated Sugar
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
4 Fl oz White Grape Juice (you can use dark if you like the cake darker)
16oz Applesauce
4 Fl oz White Rum or Brandy

Lacing Sauce
2 Fl oz Maraschino Cherries Juice
4 Fl oz Grape Juice
4 Fl oz Pineapple Juice
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
8 Fl oz Light Rum or Brandy
Mix all ingredients together. The sauce will be ready to use.
The sauce can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to two months.


Preheat the oven to 275⁰C (135⁰F)Mixing Fruits

Cut up the fruit and coarsely chop the nuts. Mix fruit and nuts together in a very large bowl.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt together in a separate bowl. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugars together for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time to the creamed mixture.

Add the dry ingredients and grape juice until blended. Mix in the fruit and nut mixture and the applesauce. Stir in the rum or brandy.

Lightly spray heavy brown paper with oil or vegetable spray and line the bottom and sides of the cake pan with it. Extend the paper along the sides of the pan so it is 2 to 3 inches higher than the height of the pan.In Pan

Pour the batter into the pan and work it evenly into the corners. Raise the pan and let it drop to the counter top several times to burst any air bubbles. Level the top of the batter with an offset spatula.

Bake for 2 ½ to 3 hours or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the pan, but leave it in the brown paper wrapping until ready to ice.

While still warm, puncture holes in the fruitcake with a skewer and pour 2oz of the lacing sauce over the fruit cake. Double-wrap the cake carefully with plastic wrap and store in a cool, dry place.

Don’t refrigerate the fruitcake as it needs to age. After one week, unwrap the cake and soak it with another 2oz of the lacing sauce. Double-wrap again. Repeat this process every week until Brushing Brandyall of the lacing sauce is used. This can take 6 to 8 weeks. After the last lacing, let the cake rest for another week or two, then the cake can be finished.

When ready to ice, remove the cake from the paper wrapping. The cake can be covered in buttercream and fondant, or marzipan and I recommend just a light coat of royal icing (some people prefer several for a thicker finish).

Graduation Cakes to Celebrate Success

  • Posted on February 21, 2016 at 5:30 pm

Our eldest daughter is about to graduate from High School in Watchung NJ, I can’t believe how fast the years are slipping by! Second daughter just graduated last summer from 8th Grade and before we know it we will be back on the trail reviewing Universities she aspires to attend.  Meanwhile we better start putting something aside to save for our little one, only 15 years until she gets there!  What will they end up doing, probably not designing specialty cake, although I don’t see any of them aspiring to be a Doctor either? Our daughters seem to be linguists and artists, and even though we lived close to Seton Hall University, Sofia wants to leave us behind for Boston or Philadelphia. Seton Hall University Graduation Cap

Excuse for a Family Get Together

Graduation Cap CakeIt wasn’t until we started seeing the kids strive and then pass each of these milestones that we appreciated what a big moment it is for families, an excuse for a party to celebrate these achievements at High School, perhaps the last chance to get together before we let them loose on the world! It only needs to be a simple cake with a Graduation cap that shows off their school pride, but still applauds their individual effort and achievement.


Eagle Scout Cake

Our relatives all live overseas so we have less opportunity to gather our family around the table, maybe that’s why I take a particular satisfaction in helping my customers plan a Graduation party and make the cake something really meaningful for the special guest, like this Eagle Scout Honor Badge design for an event here in Long Valley NJ, and I made matching cupcakes too!


Graduation Cakes for Young Professionals

Nurse Graduation Cake

While of course we love to create a custom design for High School and University students that are finally graduating after years of study, I really do take extra pride sculpting cakes for young professionals that are starting out on a career that serves our community and country especially the Doctors, Nurses, Engineers, Police, Firefighters, Marines and other brave service men and women.

This pink rose and fondant drape three tier cake with a stethoscope was for a couple of best friends graduating together from Nursing school.  I had fun sculpting a pair of figurines with their likeness, proudly sitting on top!


Giving Back to our Servicemen!

When we were asked to create a simple cake for a graduating US Marine, we made sure first to research the detail that we would engrave into his Mameluke NCO ceremonial sword, as well as on the Eagle Globe and Anchor symbol we sculpted from fondant on his cap and hand-painted on his cap.   Marine Corps Graduation Cake

P.S. Don’t be shy to mention if you are a vet or active duty serviceman, Simon and I are happy to offer a discount as a thank you for your service!

Baby Shower Cake Ideas

  • Posted on December 27, 2015 at 7:10 pm

Every week we get to create beautiful cakes for so many events, and while I love delivering an ideal wedding cake, I always think the Baby Shower is so special.
Tiffany Baby Shower Cake

There is no particular format for a Shower, certainly customers want to impress family and friends with an impacting design, but they also trust us to deliver a gourmet dessert in the form of cake or cupcakes. When we meet I encourage customers to bring along some ideas, hopefully in the form of an invitation or image to assist in the creative process.

Often I am simply asked what is most popular at a Baby Shower? Probably the Tiffany gift box theme ranks up there as the most requested. In this case, rather than sculpting a baby or pram topper, I was able to incorporate a cute silver teddy bear and baby paraphernalia.Eiffel Tower Paris Theme Baby Shower Cake

I love Paris too, it’s where I studied for a year and I have so many great memories from that time. So I really enjoyed making this Eiffel Tower cake with a pink Spring touch in the form of sugar roses.

Strawberry Shortcake Baby Shower CakeBuilding block designs have always been extremely popular too and I am very fond of this Strawberry Shortcake. The trick here was to size the blocks to get the right amount of servings.

Now don’t think that you need to be restricted to just a traditional tier format, how about a cake shape that is out of the ordinary, like this Stork theme design with an extra tall tier and then several shorter tiers? Stork Baby Shower Cake

I am also conscious that while a Baby Shower is a big event, ultimately my customers have a budget in mind, and I’ll work with them every time to find the best cake for their event, one that will still wow their friends in terms of style and flavor. So a small cake and cupcake combination is great when you are trying to keep a cap on those costs, and save you money for other decoration or menu items. Below you’ll see a perfect example where the cake and cupcakes fit the decor at the venue. Stephanotis Cupcake Display

If you want to see more examples of our Baby Shower cakes, just check out the cake gallery on my website. Enjoy!

Inspiration for your Wedding Cake – Matching your Story

  • Posted on March 22, 2015 at 3:20 am

Whenever we are sitting down with a bride and groom to think about their wedding, we always ask them to consider what is their particular passion, or to think of places that they love which we can talk about and build into their design.

One of our brides’ family has been going to Walt Disney World forever. She and the Groom wanted to express their love of everything Disney withoutGardenia Flower  having Mickey Mouse everywhere so, needless to say, they were nervous trying to figure out what should be on the cake. The bride was looking at some pictures from their recent Disney World trips and saw the gardenia in bloom and knew that had to be it. The couple told me they had a connection to those flowers because no matter where you are on the grounds of both the Grand Floridian Resort or Polynesian Village Resort you can smell them everywhere.

After we had talked about the design and the colors she had in mind, we went back to the tasting session to think about their favorite combinations. The bride mentioned that her grandmother was originally from Italy and loved a special variation of Cannoli that had candied orange peel. There we had the decision immediately! This reinforced for me how important it is to think about what makes a wedding cake so unique, because it is all about you, just like the wedding day is all about you!

Once I start working on the elements of the cake, I will look back at my notes and think about what the customer told me, it really helps me get emotionally involved in the preparation, so that I am focused on creating the cake the couple described to me. So for example when I color the sugar flowers, I am making sure the edible food dust blush attains the right shade of color.
Coloring Sugar Flowers Candied Orange Peel


While I bake and prepare the ingredients, in this case you can see the candied orange peel drying, I think about what it means for the couple and how I am helping them create their dream cake!

And here is the end result, a beautiful three tier wedding cake with gardenia sugar flowers!

Gardenia Wedding Cake

Planning for your Wedding Cake

  • Posted on December 1, 2014 at 3:52 am

It’s the Thanksgiving Holiday and Wedding planning season is already off and running. We are holding tastings for events through end of next year, so I thought it would be useful to write about the wedding cake experience!

We encourage our couples to book a tasting and bring along several family or friends to corroborate their opinion about the best combinations of cake and filling for their reception. We want the couple to settle on their favorite flavor, but also to consider one or two other combinations that can be baked into several tiers, this way they can cater to different tastes in the wedding party, the chocaholics vs the nut lovers!

Don’t fret about buttercream vs fondant. If you want a perfectly smooth sculpted cake, then fondant is the best bet, it will also help your cake hold up to temperature fluctuations and humidity. Some bakers will charge more for fondant, although our policy is not to do so, since we roll our own fondant, to ensure a better taste and pliability for sculpting.

At the tasting and design session we also draw a sketch of the ideal cake design, incorporating elements from the wedding dress, color theme, table centerpieces, floral arrangements, invitations or even the couple’s favorite pets and hobbies! The more creative material you can bring to a design session, the closer wee can get to your dream cake. Most couples write to us after their event about how much fun they had at the cake tasting, we strive to make it enjoyable and memorable. One couple even featured our tasting in their own wedding planning blog!

Wedding Cake Design Elements Cymbidium Orchids Wedding Cake Sketch

Cake Fiction is not a high street or volume bakery. One thing that differentiates us from other specialist cake businesses is the fact that we limit the number of cakes we make each week, so you can be sure we are concentrating on your event. Your cake won’t be made by an assistant or inexperienced artist. Think about who you want to make your cake, who would you trust and why? Reviews by couples on reputable online wedding sites like The Knot and Wedding Wire are good places to establish a level of confidence in your shortlist of decorators.

Whoever you choose to create a wedding cake for your event, be sure to work with a cake decorator that is fully qualified, operating from a licensed commercial kitchen and who can present a certificate of insurance to your venue. Even if you have an enthusiastic family friend or relative that offers to create a cake for you, be aware that many banquet halls and restaurants will not accept caterers who cannot present credentials and insurance.Green Cymbidium Orchids Wedding Cake

Once you have settled on your cake decorator, make sure you also connect them with the staff at your venue who will
be organizing your reception, so that your cake has a table and setting exactly how you want.They should have table cloths and cake stands that match your vision, if not they can often be rented from the cake decorator. Even if you have a smaller wedding cake, it can displayed in a manner and location that makes it stand out. You can expect the decorator to follow up with you in the weeks leading to your event, just to finalize last details, modifications to your design and the number of servings based on your wedding guest RSVPs. Then just trust them to deliver and set up for you, letting you get on with your perfect day!

Wedgwood Theme Wedding Cake

  • Posted on October 8, 2014 at 1:54 am

It’s interesting sometimes when our wedding couples live remote, but are planning an event near us many months in advance. So, we do a lot of communication via phone and email in order to think through the design and to sketch them ideas that match the elements they describe to us.

In this case we were approached by a Florida couple to create their wedding cake for an intimate reception at a private residence in Maplewood, NJ. The Groom had lived for many years in England and had a special affinity for all things English, that included the iconic Wedgwood Jasperware pottery. My husband Simon is English too, so together we came up with lots of ideas from our own family heirlooms for inspiration:
Wedgwood Jasperware Plate Wedgwood Cameo

One of the key components in complex cake designs is being able to find just the right mold to achieve the effect that you are looking for. However it’s not always exact, so you have to be creative in being able to extract fondant only from certain parts of the mold that are a good fit. When finally the couple was able to make a visit to Cake Fiction for a tasting, I already had a good idea of what they wanted, and how I could achieve just the right look for their cake.

Here are several of the molds I used that helped achieve the right look, one with swag lace patterns and the other a floral rose:

Mini-Lace Mold Blue Silicon Mini-Lace Mold Rose Swag Mold

In the end they opted for a three tier cake with Wedgwood blue fondant, and a furled leaf ornament cake topper. Once we moved in to place the various fondant pieces from our molds, I began to pipe final details with white royal icing. For the cake itself the couple chose red velvet with white chocolate cream filling, which made a fun color contrast when the cake was cut.

I was quite surprised last weekend during our open house for the village historic tour, so many visitors stopped by and mentioned having seen this cake posted on our Facebook page and how amazing it was! Delighted as always to have caused such a stir!

Cornelli Lace Wedding Cake with Matching Cupcakes

  • Posted on August 29, 2014 at 2:40 am

We love working with the team at Rat’s in Grounds for Sculpture, it has to be our favorite venue for weddings. The gardens around the restaurant with the walkways and pond, modeled after Claude Monet’s garden in Giverny are unforgettable.

Rat's Restaurant

Rat’s Restaurant in Hamilton NJ


Rat's Restaurant Pond

The Pond at Rat’s Restaurant

Bridge at Rats RestaurantTable Setting at Rats

The team in the kitchen have always been very supportive, giving us space to add final touches to wedding cakes we deliver there. And we know the food too, having eaten there on our own special occasions, I’m happy as a professional chef to recommend the menu as first class!

For Kate and Trevor’s Spring wedding we created a cupcake display, a selection of cupcakes decorated with periwinkle hydrangea sugar petals and each placed carefully in an individual paper lace wrapper. On top of the display we set a white wedding cake with a piped Cornelli lace pattern, and finished off with two wooden Mr & Mrs toppers.

The cake itself was chocolate fudge with amaretto moccha and covered in our own fondant, colored very slightly off-white. Half the cupcakes had the same flavor combination, but the remainder were red velvet cake with white chocolate cream. Delicious!

Cornelli Lace Wedding CakeCornelli Lace Cake and Toppers

The venue has an added attraction, our little helper team always want to come along and assist with delivery and set up. That way we also give them some free time after to visit the gardens, and pose for photos!

P.S. Speak to our friend Christopher Carrell if you are thinking about arranging an event at Rat’s Restaurant, and count on us for your perfect cake!

Wedding Cake Inspired by Succulents from our Garden

  • Posted on July 26, 2014 at 7:27 pm

I have been working on different flower beds surrounding our Cake Fiction barn. It’s hard landscaping a property from scratch, but we are making progress and the garden is in bloom. My latest bed contains a collection of succulents that I have been collecting and planting over the summer months, although I need to keep an eye out for the deer, who dig them out but then don’t eat them!Succulents Wedding Cake

In particular I like how these unusual plants add an ornamental aspect to the garden, and also how they blend in with rocks that we have unearthed as we dig and gradually reclaim the property!

Enthused by my gardening progress, I thought the succulent plants would make wonderful decoration on a wedding cake and I started testing my skills crafting different flower varieties from gum paste.

Last week I had a cake tasting for a wedding
couple, and when we talked about the design for their event, they said they wanted something out of the ordinary, I proposed the succulents. They loved the idea and here to the right is what I created!

I did more research and found some other ideas that might inspire you as you plan the finer details for your special day. I thought these bridal bouquets with Succulents were fabulous:

Succulents bridal bouquet in peach Succulents and purple orchid bouquet Large Succulents Bouquet

Also you might consider these succulent favors in galvanized metal containers, and various centerpiece arrangements for your tables.

succulent wedding favors

Assorted succulent centerpeices

Have fun planning your event, making it unique and memorable!



The Season for Strawberry Shortcake

  • Posted on July 15, 2014 at 2:11 pm

  Strawberry Shortcake Painting

Living out in the country is a great way to get inspired by nature and what it has to offer, especially if you love cooking and baking as much as I do. Fresh ingredients are easy and fun to find. A glorious place to take the kids to go strawberry picking  on a beautiful midweek summers day is Alstede Farms near Chester NJ, which  has huge fields abundant with strawberries and blueberries in June / July. Later in the year other fruits such as peaches, raspberries, and blackberries are also available. Many people asked me about strawberry shortcake for their specialty cake; however, because a specialty cake is covered in fondant, one has to make some modifications to the original recipe. But every good strawberry shortcake starts with fresh strawberries – this is where a local produce is so wonderful. My three daughters and I decided to come to the farm for this reason.

As soon as we got out of the car, my youngest daughter Lucille ran directly to the farm animals that are kept for petting, while I gathered up the strawberry baskets.

photo (20)photo (22)

Strawberry PickingStrawberry Picking in Chester NJFresh Strawberries

What the kids loved about strawberry picking was the fact that the strawberries were hidden and they had to search for them within the plant, unlike picking fruit from trees, which is almost too easy! I also found that we had a much better selection of fruit on a weekday. If you visit on a weekend it can get very crowded and the amount of perfect strawberries available for picking decreases.

So once we had taken the tractor ride back to the farm, we went home to Long Valley, where I set to work on the fresh strawberry shortcake recipe I wanted to test.


Strawberries in a basketThe Barn at 11 East Mill Road

Strawberry Shortcake Recipe:

Yield: 8 servings


1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 cup + 1 tbsp sugar

4 oz cream cheese (room temp.)

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter (room temp.)

3/4 cup milk

2 large eggs

1/4 tsp vanilla extract



2 lbs. strawberries (hulled, divided)

1/4 cup water

3 tbsp sugar (divided)

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 cups chilled whipped cream

1 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar + additional for sprinkling

3/4 tsp vanilla extract



For cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9-inch cake pan with nonstick spray. Sprinkle bottom and sides with sugar, tap out excess sugar. Sift flour and baking powder in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat 1 cup sugar, cream cheese, and butter in a large bowl to blend. Beat milk, eggs, and vanilla in another medium bowl to blend. Beat milk mixture into cream cheese mixture. Add dry ingredients; beat only until smooth, do not over beat. transfer butter to prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining 1 tbsp sugar over top of butter.

Bake cake until golden brown on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Cover and let stand at room temperature.

Sliced fresh strawberriesFor sauce:

Coarsely chop half of strawberries (about three cups). Place them in a medium saucepan.Add 1/4 cup of water, 2 tbsp of sugar, and lemon. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until strawberries are very tender, about 4 minutes. Pour strawberry mixture into food processor and puree until smooth. Strain sauce through fine mesh strainer into medium bowl. Cover and chill until cold, about 2 hrs. Keep chilled.

Quarter remaining strawberries. Toss with remaining 1 tbsp sugar in another medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature until sugar dissolves and juices form, tossing occasionally, about 30 minutes. Add strawberry sauce. Cover and chill. Whip chilled whipping cream, 1 1/2 tbsp of powdered sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until peaks form. Cut cake into 8 wedges. Split each wedge horizontally in half. Place bottom of each wedge on plate. Spoon strawberry mixture over, then top with dollop of whipped cream. Place top of cake over cream. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

photo (23)


Hope you try  the recipe and enjoy it!





Naked Cake in Rustic Wedding Shoot!

  • Posted on June 24, 2014 at 11:33 pm

We took part in a photo shoot, organized by Wedding Planner Kat Eitner (www.katEitnerEvents.com), together with a talented group of Vendors at the Raritan Inn nestled in picturesque Middle Valley near Califon NJ, and just five minutes from our new converted barn Long Valley location .

I prepared a three tier naked cake, brimming with fresh fruit of the season (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, apricots, cherries and also sculpted fondant pomegranates) finally with drops of honey poured over it.

Naked Wedding Cake with Pomegranates Naked Wedding Cake Close-up Naked Wedding Cake

Photography: Michelle Lange (http://www.loveandbemarried.com/)

To see much more of this fabulous event, I am certain you will enjoy this short 2 minute video of the shoot, filmed and edited by Nayeem Vohra films:

Bohemian Wedding Shoot with Naked Cake


For an archive of our older blog posts: please visit http://cakefiction.blogspot.com/.