Emoticakes is Re-Opening!

shallishsunflowersAfter a little over a year hiatus, I plan to re-open on November 3rd! I received my Tompkins County Health Department Permit after a pre-operational inspection today, and will be purchasing ingredients and getting the space completely ready for baking in the upcoming weeks.

I’m so excited to make cakes, cookies and cupcakes again! I thank everyone for their well wishes and support during this transition year.


A Farewell (for now)

This has been a tough week for me.

I have been operating my at-home bakery business under an exemption from the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets as a “home processor” since April 2006.

After I attested that I was still operating the business this year, I received a call this week to cease operating Emoticakes as a home processor. In January 2013, they changed their policy, prohibiting a home processor from making specialty items such as birthday cakes, per order. Further, they disallow selling directly to consumers from my home. As of this writing, I could still sell at “wholesale marketing or retail agricultural venues, which includes farms, but excludes food stands that are not located on a farm or at an ag-related event.” Continue reading

Walrus Cake (Wally, for short!)

This spring I had the opportunity to make a Walrus for a wedding/groom’s cake. I was really excited (and nervous) about making him. The customer asked that I try to replicate this picture.

I fell in love with Wally (that’s what I called him) while making him. In fact, my entire family fell in love, so it was hard to bring him to his final destination! He was a lot of fun to make, and while he didn’t end up looking exactly like the picture he was modeled after, he had his own distinct personality.

Need to make your own Wally? Here is a quick guide for you. You’ll want to use a pound cake or Madiera cake recipe that is good for sculpting. Also keep in mind that you don’t want too much icing between the levels of cake.

  1. Bake your cakes and allow them to cool. I used two 12-inch round cakes for my walrus. Prepare a thick buttercream frosting. Cut out your cake board to desired shape and then begin sculpting your cakes.
  2. Add height to your walrus and then add his head. Use your knife to trim little pieces of cake as needed. Place all the cake trimmings in a bowl. You’ll use them in step 3.
  3. Combine all the cake trimmings with frosting and mix until you have a nice, spreadable mix.
  4. Use an offset spatula to spread the mix over the top of the sculpted cake. Smooth out any imperfections until you reach your desired coverage.
  5. Roll out your chocolate fondant (I love this one  from Albert Uster Imports) and cover Wally. I covered each limb one at a time.
  6. Continue covering his body and adding details.
  7. Now cover his head, being careful to trim carefully to avoid noticeable seams.
    * You may also do this all in one step by covering his entire body. I opted for smaller areas because he was so large.
  8. Begin to add his features.
  9. Add his tusks. The tusks are made from gum paste  and are held into his head with straws.

Gumpaste Bow

For Alex’s 21st birthday, her mom wanted her cake to look like a present with a pretty pink bow. It was time to break out the gumpaste!

I quickly colored the paste a brilliant pink with candy color and rolled it out until it was very thin. Then, it was time to cut ribbons and assemble.

Gumpaste bows are fun and actually easier to make than their ribbon counterparts!  You’ll need gumpaste or a mix of fondant and Tylose powder to make the fondant harden like gumpaste. Look below for the picture tutorial or for step by step directions.


  1. Roll out the paste until your desired thickness is reached (1/8″ works well). Make 20 loops of varying sizes (roughly 5 longer loops, 5 the next size down and so on until you reach your shortest loop length. Allow to dry at least 2-3 hours.
  2. Trim edges to a center point, cutting away on each side. Now, flatten a piece of fondant to about 1/4″ thickness (not gumpaste) and press your second longest loops into them. Add another layer of fondant and then add the next layer of loops, staggering.
  3. Continue this process, adding discs of fondant, until you reach the top of the bow. You will need to turn the top loops sideways to have a nice three-dimensional look. Your longest loops are left. Lay the longest loops where you want the bow to go on the cake. Top with the remaining finished bow.

Owl Cake

My cake design process has changed lately due to interest in Pinterest. Sometimes I’m not so sure that I love this new trend, but other times it is a lot of fun to create a cake based on pictures of other designs.

For this first birthday celebration, my client had two inspiration cakes for me to work from. She wanted the polka dots and the name on the side like this cake, and wanted to have the owl from this image. The cake needed to integrate the party colors, too: pink, green and brown.

Armed with pictures, it was time to begin! This cake is a gluten-free chocolate 9″ round cake, and the owl is made from Rice Krispies and marshmallow.

fondant owl cake


  1. Bake and crumb-frost the cake. This cake is filled with vanilla mousse, covered with vanilla buttercream and then prepared with pink fondant as a base.
  2. Make the owl shape. Mix up about a half batch of Rice Krispie treats and shape them into a dome. Check the size against the cake to make sure it is proportioned properly. Next, allow it to cool and set-up. Then, cover the shape with one layer of chocolate fondant. Use a 1″ cutter to cut feathers. Apply feathers starting from the bottom, gradually getting lighter in color until you reach the top.
  3. Make ears with gum paste, and affix them to the owl with toothpicks or straws. Allow to harden.
  4. Now, roll out a larger disc of chocolate fondant. Cut out a triangle shape in the middle. Lay the fondant over the top of the owl, covering the ears and back of the owl. This fondant serves as a final layer so you won’t see the imperfections of the base layer. Now add small embellishments; eyes, feet, the bow etc. *See these in top final picture.
  5. Make a fondant resting pad for the owl. Place straws in the cake to support the owl’s weight, and insert a dowel through the center to push the owl down onto. Decorate the cake with name, polka dates and final borders.