Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Carmen: Omaha Orpheum Theater

The original Creighton Orpheum Theater was built in 1895.  It later operated as a downtown movie theater from the 1940s until 1971 when the building received a $2 million renovation.  It reopened in 1975 as a performing arts venue once again.  This incredible building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and continues to enrich the arts and culture of Omaha.  It was a great inspiration for another piece in our Bliss Cake Show.


This 12" dummy cake is topped with another 9" round that were both frosted in buttercream.  The stage floor displays a Faux Bois or "false wood" effect made with white and dark melting chocolate, while the operatic superstar, Carmen, was hand-carved from royal icing.  Her dress was made of fondant and the cascade of roses was created from royal icing as well.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

At Home: Nebraska Humane Society

Omaha's Nebraska Humane Society was founded in 1875.  As the fifth oldest Humane Society in the United States and a local organization that does so much good, we were proud to showcase it through one of our pieces at the Bliss Cake Show.  

The cake was a 12 inch round covered in fondant with a Faux Bois or "false wood" floor made of melting chocolate.  The fireplace and animals were created from fondant and royal icing, and the fire was candy brittle.  While each of these cakes can be made edible, the ones for the show had a few tricks.  For starters, the "cakes" themselves were styrofoam to extend the shelf life of each piece and make them lighter to transport and display.  Another example would be the the walls on this particular cake that were frosted in buttercream on a food safe plastic.  

This cake captures the quintessential feeling of home:  the warmth of family and the feeling of being safe and loved. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Latte Art Throwdown

We interrupt the Cake Show series to tell you about an event held at our coffeehouse last night.  We hosted Omaha's first Latte Art Throwdown, put on by Beansmith Coffee and sponsored by Barista Magazine and Espresso Parts.

Latte art is a method of preparing coffee created by pouring steamed milk into a shot of espresso and resulting in a pattern or design on the surface of the resulting latte.  It is particularly difficult to create consistently (and under the pressure of a coffeehouse full of spectators), due to the demanding conditions required of both the espresso shot and milk.  The pour itself demonstrates that the the espresso and milk were prepared correctly and is the last challenge for the barista in creating the latte.  

Latte art is very difficult.  

This next part has not been scientifically proven, but it is my experience that latte art makes people smile.  It is addictive and a great way to measure the progress of a barista's skill.  In competition form, it has also been known to induce sweating by the barista and shouting by the gallery.

We want to say "thank you" to judges Paul Kulik, Jon Ferguson, and Jason Burkum and a big "congratulations" to the winners Simeon Bricker, Laura Clark, and Todd Campbell.

We were overwhelmed with the turnout of spectators and competitors from Lincoln, Columbus, Kansas City, and the Omaha metro area.  We are excited to be part of raising the coffee culture of this great city and are thankful for caffeine and your support along the way!

The winning latte by Simeon Bricker out of K.C.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bliss Cake Show

photo by Justin Fennert
Bliss Old Market Bakery is known for cupcakes.  
They are delicious morsels of food:  adorable and portion-controlled and such a great fit for so many occasions.

Sometimes, however, you just need a cake--  
not just to feed peoples' stomachs but to provide a feast for their eyes and imagination. 

This past winter we decided to have our first ever cake show.  It was absolutely a group effort (like everything in a good small business) but decorator, Cait Irwin, was really the ring-leader in this event that showed our love for Omaha and displayed cake as art.  

For those of you who missed the event from March 23rd to April 5th in the gallery at The New Black, we are going to do a little blog series to let you in on the magic.  
We hope this gives you a better idea of what we can create with edible items.  
Enjoy, ask questions, but please...
don't lick the art