Shakar Bakery designer cakes, and the stories behind their making!
I created this cake for my mother’s 65th birthday. It’s said the color scheme for 65 is silver! My mom is Uruguayan and I wanted to create something special for her. Geodes and agates are heavily exported from Uruguay and have always been a passion of ours so I decided to recreate them with sugar, fondant and chocolate! This entire cake is edible, simple and...Read More
Three days ago, yes THREE, I got a cake request for a dead rat on a silver platter. This was a very odd request but after they told me it was for a Joan Crawford movie feature it made sense! They wanted to celebrate her birthday with the iconic scene in “What happened to Baby Jane?” of the dead rat being served on a bed of lettuce! So here he is: 2ft large and 25 pounds! The entire rat is cake! Greg Laemmle having fun with my cake!...Read More
If there is one thing you need to know about me, I am a huge fan of Nikola Tesla . I can’t remember how I first learned about him, it might have been during my Physics quarters at UCSB, or it might have even been earlier than that in some futuristic themed book I’ve read. Regardless of HOW I learned about him, once I knew of him, it was over for all scientists in history- past, present, future. Tesla is THE man. Aside from being an incredible genius, he had a heart of gold. If you read the Wikipedia link I hyperlinked above, you’d see why. He isn’t a perfect person, but it’s the flaws that make his life all the more fascinating! So why am I talking about Tesla?? I’ll tell you 🙂 About a year ago I was invited to participate in a Steampunk collaboration with fellow cake artists from around the world. We called ourselves the Steampunk Sugar Geeks and the creations for this collaboration are insanely talented!!! You can see them all here, on our website: http://steampunksugargeeks.com/ I’ll admit that even though I had a full year to create my piece, I didn’t get to put it all together until 3 days before deadline. Before you think I’m a procrastinator (I am, but that’s not the point here), I lagged because I needed to have the right vision for my piece. Originally I wanted to create the actual Tesla Coil, a musical one at that, but my schedule kept getting bombarded with life and the fun project kept getting swept aside. So I’ll be making that one for my birthday next year 😉 I didn’t want to give up on Tesla…I wanted to combine my three passions in this project: Time travel, cakes, and Tesla. That’s when I decided to create a time machine using the Tesla lightning system. Since I was strapped on time, I bought a kit from http://www.amazing1.com/ Ok, not to put them down or anything, but the little lightning kit was disappointing. Maybe I was expecting too much since I wanted to originally build a large tesla coil, but the little sparks that jumped from one end to the other were so…boring. That’s when I decided to try to increase the sparkage going on in my piece by adding metal and wires to the clock. After a few hours of playing around to see what’s conductive and what isn’t (I had no idea if fondant would attract electricity or not, since it DOES contain moisture) by prodding the wires with a plastic rod, I finally got it to be interesting. It was still weak, and the system didn’t shoot out continuous flow, so I was stuck with what you see in the video. I experimented with adding food coloring to the protective caps (that’s why one is black and one is yellow) because food coloring is water based. Doing that created the sparks to flow down to the base, which was cool! I got shocked twice putting it together…oops 🙂 kids, don’t try this at home, unless you have a little bit of mad scientist in you! Here are my photos! They’re not the best, since I was rushed, but enjoy anyway! ...Read More
I had the pleasure of making the Death Star cake for the second time! Since I don’t like to repeat designs, I opted to make this cake more metallic and machine like and added a light for good measure! Here is the YouTube video of the cake in...Read More
This is a LONG and very detailed blog post. The Back Story: I always dream big. When I decided to leave the engineering world behind (January 2013) and focus full time on Shakar Bakery, a part of me felt sad that I would no longer be able to do cool engineering work. But then I thought to myself “wait, why not incorporate cool engineering work into your cakes?!” If I succeeded in doing this then I’d mesh the best of both worlds and be a happy camper! I’ll be honest, ever since I started this business in 2009 I wanted to make a moving cake. Unfortunately as an environmental engineer, a chemist and a baker my knowledge was pretty limited and thus years passed without a moving cake. Until I met Garen Khanoyan, a JPL engineer who happened to have degrees in electrical engineering and computer sciences! I met Garen after I wrote an article on the Mars Rover in 2012 (read it here) and I soon learned he was co-owner of Harsanik.com , an online directory of vendors catering to wedding services (coincidentally I also wrote a story about this for the Armenian Weekly. Read that one here). I attended one of their bridal shows in March as a vendor and during a quick chat with Garen he asked the magic question: “Have you considered making a moving cake?” Let me tell you, I was pretty excited and my very loud “yes I have!” must’ve proved it. So now that I found my electrical engineer to help me make a moving cake, WHAT would I make? It had to be amazing, a show stopper, a really big challenge. Neither of us had ever dabbled into this sort of project, and Garen joined in on the fun knowing that no money was to be made from this. This project was for our own growth and learning experience! I actually found an excerpt from our e-mails dated March 13 2013, check it out: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ me: So while I was remodeling and organizing my kitchen today I got the first idea for a moving cake. I thought of a really creepy cake for Halloween that would combine movement and your sensor board. It doesn’t have to be this exact design, but the engineering idea is pretty neat. The design I’m thinking of is an evil clown. everyone HATES clowns. Now imagine you have an evil clown cake with eyes that actually move… and when you near the cake and face the eyes move to look straight at you and the clown blinks. or if we want to get super creative, we can make it open it’s mouth and laugh.I don’t know about you, but that would make me pee my pants Garen: Creepy Halloween moving cake! Nice! we’ll need simpler designs first before we start moving too many parts! me: We have from here till October to practice with simple designs and work our way up. I think big! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Since you’ve already watched the video, you can hopefully see that we didn’t stick to the “simple design.” Right about this time Daft Punk released their Get Lucky track teaser and that’s when I knew I had to make THEM! In 2007 Daft Punk toured the US and I missed their concert due to the stupidest reason in the world. My sister had EXTRA tickets and I didn’t go! To this day I kick myself in the butt about it. I waited years for a new cd so that I can redeem myself and go to their concert! So I decided to make a tribute cake for the French duo. I’d create my own mini-concert in case I couldn’t score tickets this time around! When I proposed my design idea to Garen, he thought I was crazy but the challenge was too awesome to turn down. I can tell you one thing: ignorance is bliss! If we knew how much work we were getting ourselves into, I don’t know if we would’ve proceeded with the project! I kid, I kid, this...Read More
It’s not every day your 5th grade teacher finds and adds you on Facebook! I was so excited to reconnect with my favorite elementary school teacher. She is one of the few people who helped shape me into the person I am today. Growing up in an Armenian community wasn’t always easy and thinking “outside the box” used to be very unconventional during my youth and more often than not I stuck out like a sore thumb amongst my peers. But this teacher embraced my “weirdness” and encouraged my imagination to roam free and flamed the fire of my unconventionality. She was so proud of me when she heard that I started my own cake business and ditched the average 9-5 life style. To my surprise she contacted me to do her grandson’s baptism cake. If you told 11 year old me that I would one day bake a cake for my teacher’s grandson’s baptism I’d look at you incredulously (of course back then I used to want to be a veterinarian). Anyway, we met up for a consultation. Look, here we are: Her instructions reminded me why I always loved her so much: “Dare to be different! I don’t want anything typical or conventional. Let’s do a vintage design with a mocha cake with hazelnut filling” She liked my idea of creating a pillow cake with sculpted doves and a cross, but didn’t give much guidance with the design. Designing a vintage theme for a boy was tricky- a little too many vintage details and the design becomes too feminine. The cake ended up looking like this: When I was ready to deliver the cake I felt like I was submitting a final exam! I was a little nervous since my customer didn’t want to see the cake at all prior to delivery, she wanted to be surprised. As if deliveries weren’t stressful enough I now had the constant worry that she maybe wouldn’t have liked the design! Lucky for me, she loved it! She told me she intentionally didn’t give me design details because she wanted to see where my imagination would take me. Again she reminded me of why I always loved her and her teaching style 🙂...Read More