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Couture Cakes..

Wedding Show season is here!! January marks the beginning of wedding planning season, and it is easily the busiest time of the year for us meeting newly engaged brides, seeing the exciting things going on in the wedding industry, and making our decisions about what we’re going to do this year for the shows we attend.  When Dara Blakely and Alexia’s Bridal Salon invited us to do Bridal Buzz, we decided we wanted to really ” knock it out of the park”.  Bridal Buzz is being held on February 20 at the American Tobacco complex, and is a unique, invitation only event featuring the area’s most exclusive wedding professionals. Honestly, we like to show off, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity!

We sat down with Alexia and asked her about her favorite dresses of the season. Then we decided to take four amazing dresses from four exclusive designers, and create four cakes, one for each season.  Since Alexia’s is the exclusive home of Vera Wang, Alexia chose her favorite Vera Wang for our ” Spring” cake. It’s shown here in a silvery amethyst, but Alexia’s dress is in soft pink and ivory. The cake has hundreds of petal flourishes, Swarovski crystals, and is, hands down, one of the most creative cakes we’ve ever done for a wedding.

For summer, Alexia choose a fantastically elegant strapless lace gown by Monique Lhuillier. It’s actually part of the Fall 2011 collection and just got in to the store. It’s is SMOKIN’!! Elegant, sexy and very sophisticated. We actually just finished this cake and are very happy with the way it turned out.

I have loved designer Ulla Maja’s work for years, and I think the cake we did for fall based on her asymmetrical ballgown with floral appliques is my favorite of the couture cakes we’ve done so far.

The last cake, done for winter, is based on an opulent Reem Acra ballgown.  It has tons of platinum detailing on a white satin background.  Reem Acra is known for her hand embroidery, and as of right now, we’ve spent about 6 hours hand piping the details for the cake inspired by her work.I know that Hillary has been filming the decorators at work and will post some previews soon.

To see the finished cakes, please do join us and the area’s best wedding professionals at Bridal Buzz on February 20.

UPDATE: Here are some shots of these four cakes and their matching dresses at Bridal Buzz!

Wow! What a year….

It’s that time of year when everybody does a year in review, and we had a doozy here at Sugarland. It was only our 2nd full year ( We opened on Feb. 2, 2008) and I have to say, we totally rocked it!  In January, The News and Obsever named our cupcakes their favorite in the Triangle.   They said our buttercream was “divine” and ” mousse-like”  and, of course, we agree!

Then in February, Southern Living came to visit, spending a day shooting for their May issue. They were doing a story on great party elements,  and called our desserts, ” Fresh, Fun…and Modern”, and even popped in a few pictures of our fabulous gelato case.

In March, the super-chic ladies from Southern Weddings came with their absolutely adorable  art director Emily and photographer Nancy Ray for a lesson in making your own wedding cake for the summer issue of the magazine.  We had a wonderful time working with them, and would love to see if our lesson helped an ambitious DIY brides.

In April, we  had an amazing opportunity. The Full Frame Film Festival was hosting the world premiere of the film Kings of Pastry. It’s such an exciting film, especially for a group of pastry chefs. In fact, the film was just nominated for a  Tasty Award.  They asked us to create a cake for the event and attend the premiere.  It was a huge honor for us. We had a fantastic time, and everybody loved our cake. We also learned in April that the awesomely talented crew at DDC International, who does the videos for our website won an Emmy Award. How Cool is that?!?

Then came May, the crush of wedding season, and a visit from the Food Network. They had called earlier in the spring to tell us they were doing a new show on the best places in America to eat dessert and they were interested in featuring Sugarland.  At first we were all convinced that they were really coming for a  Throwdown,  but as it turns out, we were featured in the premiere, of  Adam Gertler’s new show  Kid in a Candy Store. ( which I’d link to, but it seems the Food Network has done some crazy link-blocking-voodoo).  The amazingly gracious and wonderful Robin Lin came and photographed the day, which was very long, 14 hours of total shooting, but we had a fantastic time, and Adam was a blast to work with. The crew was amazingly gracious, and we’re terribly grateful for the experience.

Rolling along through a crazy busy summer season, we had the opportunity to make a cake for the author  John Grisham and his lovely wife Renee. We found out that they are big Sugarland fans, and come in pretty regularly for cupcakes, but on this occasion, they asked us to make a special cake for their son’s fraternity reunion at UVA.  Once again, Robin Lin came over to shoot the “Animal House” themed cake for us. It was, possibly, the most fun we had all year making a cake. Don’t you love the Hokie being roasted over an open flame?

July brought the Food Network premiere of our show, and we were honored to have some many of our friends in attendance. Looking back at those pictures, it reminds me of what I love most about Sugarland. It’s not just a coffee shop or a cake shop. It’s something totally unique. You can bring a date or bring your 4 year old. You can watch a Carolina game or have a baby shower.  It’s perfect for celebrations and for days after a tough final exam. It’s so wonderful to be a part of so many wonderful days in people’s lives. We also got our cakes ready for our Southern Bride and Groom photo shoot with Dara Blakely. Dara is crazy talented, and we always love working with her.

In August, we were approached by TLC to appear on their show ” Amazing Cakes”.  We proposed a rockin’-exploding-yet-still standing-steampunk cake for the guys from  Mythbusters.  Some sort of contract-trademark yadda yadda something something kept us from making the cake, but we really feel at some point this cake must be made and then blown up.

In September, my sous chef, Joey, and I were in Las Vegas at the International Baking Industry Exposition where we learned a lot and had a great time. We also started work on the very first Sugarland cookbook. We also brought home a Metro Magazine ” Best of Everything” award for our wedding cakes.

October brought football season, over 35 weddings, and more customers than we’ve ever had before.November and December brought holiday pies and Gingerbread houses, and at the end of the year, we’d made  over 70,000 cupcakes, 1200 birthday cakes, 200 wedding cakes and 50,000 servings of gelato.  No wonder I’m tired….Happy New Year everybody!! We can’t wait to see what 2011 brings!