Latest News & Blog

Villa Parker Southwest Shoot


By Kelly McGeehan - March 28, 2018

Honeycombe is frequently asked to be a part of special photo shoots. There are so many reasons to take advantage of these opportunities. We get to work with Denver’s best industry professionals, creating an ever growing network of amazing vendors. We are also able to see all the behind the scenes work that goes into creating a truly unique experience. So much thought is put into these shoots. Florals, dresses, suits, jewelry, linen, plateware, desserts, ambiance....the list goes on forever! While we are typically given a theme or inspiration board to work from, we always have free range for design and that’s the most fun part! And after all is said and done, each vendor has beautiful, professional photos to share and use on their websites and social media. We just love being a part of these shoots and will continue to create cakes and other sweets for as long as we can!

These are highlights from a recent shoot at Villa Parker. It is an adobe venue, about 25 miles southeast of Denver, that makes you feel like you just stepped into New Mexico. Lots of bold colors and greenery were used, alongside cow skulls, succulents, and terra cotta accents. These are my absolute favorite shots from that day.
             



These gorgeous floral arrangements were made by Amber Mustain Floral Design. The tablescapes are compliments of Hunt and Gather Rentals. 







This gorgeous bride’s gown was provided by Emma and Grace Bridal. Her jewelry was provided by Sarah O Jewelry and Stacy Sterling Jewelry. Hair and makeup was done by Beauty on Location Studios. We are just in love with her simple, bohemian vibe.







Now, onto the cake! When considering the design of this cake, we wanted to go on the more simplistic side, knowing that there would be a lot of decor and bold colors being used. We chose a white background with a few design elements to really make it pop. The bottom tier is embossed with a southwestern motive that we pressed into the fondant. It is very subtle, but makes a big statement without adding color. We hand cut a Southwestern pattern and painted it with a copper luster for a focal point on the middle tier. The cactus is hand molded fondant with royal icing spikes. 





Our favorite item for this shoot though was the cactus and cow skull sugar cookies. They were the perfect accent for this shoot! We used a basic sugar cookie and used white fondant for the icing. The cactus have the same pattern pressed into them that the bottom tier of the cake does to tie in the pattern again. The cow skulls have a simple dusting of copper luster and adorned with small pieces of sugar veil and gold luster paint. Again, keeping them all on the simple side, as to not take away from all the colors being used else where. You always want to take into account everything else being used in a photo shoot. Making something too busy ends up taking away from the entire aesthetic.

Thanks to Tied with a Bow events for including Honeycombe on this beautiful shoot! And of course, Villa Parker for letting us use their stunning venue! 

 
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Wedding Cake Ordering: 101

The info you need before you go, the important questions to ask, and how to create your dream cake!

By Kelly McGeehan - January 26, 2018

Planning your wedding or any large event can be stressful and overwhelming. If you have never done something like this before, sometimes you don’t even know where to begin! Since we are in the prime time for cake and dessert consultations, I wanted to write this blog to help alleviate any fears and answer any questions related to ordering a wedding cake or dessert display. After all, this will most likely be the most important dessert you ever order!

                  

Pre-consultation: the important information you should know before you sit down for a cake tasting.

1. A basic idea. Sounds easy enough, right? You would be surprised on how many people don’t have a basic direction as far as design or style of their cake. There are SO MANY different styles for wedding cakes, so having an idea of the way you want it to look is really helpful. Ask yourself these questions: Is our wedding contemporary or more traditional? Is a pure white wedding cake what you want? Is height important? Do you prefer buttercream or fondant? Do you want to incorporate fresh florals? Should the cake tie in with the overall theme of the wedding? Do I want all guests to have a slice of cake or offer other desserts with the option of cake?

Knowing the answers to these questions before you head into your consultation will really help your cake artist understand the look and feel you are going for. It also eliminates time wasted on scrolling through photos and feeling uncertain. 

2. A budget. This is one of the first questions I ask all of my clients. It is a waste of everyone’s time if your cake artist is trying to “sell” you something you could never afford. Be honest and most pastry chefs will be happy to accommodate you. At Honeycombe, I will ask for a budget or price range and after the consultation, I will come back to the client with 3 different options. One on the lower end of the budget, one on the higher end, and one right in the middle. Remember that there will usually be a delivery fee and potentially a set up fee depending on the intricacy of the design. 

3. Discuss ideas with fiance. This may seem obvious, but I have had a lot of experiences where one person is completely in the dark as far as design. As with all aspects of your wedding, both parties should be on the same page about the design and budget, so that you don’t end up bickering in front of your cake artist....(yes, this happens)

4. Guest count and other venue/timeline information. Most consultations are done months and months before the RSVPs are due, but having a range of the possible guest count is a must! Cake for 75 people is far different than a cake for 200! Having a venue locked down and a preliminary timeline helps your cake artist plan their delivery and set up. Always give them contact information for your coordinator, venue point person, florist, and any other important people associated with your big day!

               

During the consultation 

1. Ask questions. Pastry chefs are very familiar with French terminology and other pastry techniques and styles. Not everyone knows those things, so if you don’t understand something, just ask! 

2. Bring inspiration. While most cake artists never want to copy another chef’s cake design, having some photos to show is always a good idea. It helps your artist visualize your look and it helps the client be able to show what techniques or design elements they like without knowing the proper terms for them.

3. Look through your cake artist’s photos. Every artist will have their own style! Most pastry chefs will say they can make any kind of cake or utilize any technique, but I believe you can really see their style through their photos. If you are looking for a very contemporary, cutting-edge, stylized cake, you want to make sure your artist is capable of that type of work. Some chefs hate fondant and others love it, while some chefs specialize in buttercream only creations. Always pick the artist that you feel most comfortable with and you feel confident that can create the design you are looking for. 

4. Taste everything. This will most likely be one of very few tastings you do. Your cake artist does them all the time. If they take the time to prepare something, at least give it a try! You would be shocked at how many times clients look at me funny when I hand them a peanut butter and jelly French macaron. But once they taste it, they are hooked! Sometimes, what you end up choosing is not what you expected at all. That’s part of the fun!

                             

After the consultation 

1. Discuss with fiance. Some clients like to put down a deposit immediately, but it’s not always necessary. I encourage my clients to discuss everything in private while I compile a few scenarios for them that include pricing and serving sizes. I will always let my clients know if I have other inquiries for that same date or weekend. It is a first come, first serve type of scenario though, so don’t wait too long, especially if you are getting married during a very popular wedding month, like June or September. 

2. Confirm flavors, design, etc. If you have decided to book, provide what flavors you would like and the design of the cake. If necessary, ask for sketches from your artist to ensure you both have the same vision. Most artists will allow changes to be made up to a certain date. Major changes to a 4 tier wedding cake cannot be made 2 days before your wedding. At Honeycombe, all servings sizes and design aspects are set in stone when you make your final payment, which is 2 weeks before the wedding date. By then, you should have all your RSVPs and feel completely comfortable with your design.

3. Sign a contract. As with all wedding vendors, it is important to have both parties review and sign a contract. Be sure to carefully read the refund/cancellation policy. Request an electronic copy for your records.

Deposits and Payments

While every bakery requires different things, most will require a deposit to “Save the Date” This means that once this deposit is received, you are guaranteed their services on that day. Chefs base their incoming orders based on if that date is saved or not. Some bakeries may be able to take 5-10  weddings for the same weekend, but some may only take 1-2. So this is a fairly important step. If you delay putting down a deposit for too long and another order comes through for the same date, you may need to make other arrangements. Honeycombe will always contact the first client to see if they wish to put down a deposit and let them know there is another inquiry for that same date. 

Honeycombe’s deposit and payment information is as follows:

$100 “Save the Date” is due as soon as you know you want to book with Honeycombe. (Nonrefundable)
50% Deposit is required 2 weeks after the “Save the Date” payment. Changes to design and servings can be made between this payment and the final payment.
Final payment is due 2 weeks before the wedding. All details are now finalized, including the delivery.

Lastly, enjoy this part of your wedding planning! Eating cake definitely beats picking linens and plateware, so have fun and don’t be afraid to eat dessert for breakfast! 

               
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Luxe Mountain Wedding Magazine


By Kelly McGeehan - November 7, 2017

Thanks Luxe Mountain Weddings for publishing photos of some adorable cake pop wedding favors for Annie and Eric from June 16, 2017. Check out the full gallery below!

http://luxemountainweddings.com/2017/11/02/classic-wedding-foothills-colorado/







       

 

Mise en Place: what it means and why it's so important


By Kelly McGeehan - October 31, 2017


Mise en Place
. It is the first phrase I learned when attending culinary school at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is a French term for "everything in it's place". Simple, huh? Well, not always. Having your mise set up properly is key to producing pastries (and savory food) in an efficient, clean, quick manner. 






              

     When I teach the Intro to Baking class at The Seasoned Chef, I always start my lecture with talking about the importance of mise en place. I can't tell you how many times I will go to assist a student in making a recipe and ask for the eggs and get looked at sideways. "Oh, I must have missed that on the recipe. Let me go crack 8 eggs real quick!" It won't always destroy a recipe, but if you know anything about pastry arts, it's that everything needs to be precise! So if you needed to add those eggs while your batter was at a certain temperature or consistency, you may have missed the boat. 

     Naturally, your first thought for mise en place goes to ingredients. Make sure you have all your ingredients and have them scaled out properly. (I suggest reviewing your recipe at least twice to check that you have all the ingredients before starting anything!) But, it extends to equipment as well. Make sure you aren't scrambling around to find the proper Kitchenaid attachment, silpat, or piping tip required to make your recipe. SO MANY recipes are reliant on specific temperatures, textures, and consistency to be made properly. If you think you can pipe perfect little marshmallows, but you didn't prep your sheetpans or piping bags, think again! You will have what I call "snowman poop" mallows, instead of clean, smooth ones. Marshmallows needs to be piped IMMEDIATELY once they are at the right consistency. Waiting even just a few moments can completely ruin their appearance. 

     Another important part of mise en place is making sure your oven is preheated to the proper temperature, or that you have room in your refrigerator or freezer to store your product. 


                     
     Many people can be intimidated by baking, especially in higher altitudes. And while not every recipe you try will come out perfectly, you can at least set yourself up for success by having your mise en place ready to go. This is not a "beginners" baking tip, this is what professional bakers and chefs do every single time they produce something. 
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Perfect Cookies in High Altitude


By Kelly McGeehan - October 30, 2017

Cookies may be considered one of the easiest pastries to make, however they tend to be inconsistent and under/over baked. For such a simple product, there are a lot of factors to consider...temperature of the dough, thorough mixing of the dough, creaming the butter and sugar properly, oven temperature, and size of cookie. With these professional baking tips, you will be able to create a perfectly shaped, soft, delicious cookie every time! All professional baking tips are in bold!


Snickerdoodles

4 oz butter, softened
5 1/2 oz granulated sugar
1 egg
8 oz all purpose flour
1/2 t baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 oz honey
cinnamon sugar for dusting

Equipment

Kitchenaid mixer 
5 quart mixing bowl
paddle attachment
rubber spatula
2 oz ice cream scoop
flat sheetpan 
electronic scale

Method of Preparation

- Properly scale out all ingredients and prepare all equipment.
- Cream the butter and sugar together. Creaming means to bring a fat and sugar together on medium speed to create a paste. Cream on medium speed for 1 minute.
                  
             
                  
          **continue to cream when your mixture looks like this**.        

               
     **properly creamed butter and sugar should look like this!**

  
- Add the egg and honey and mix throughly into the butter mixture. Scrape the bowl down to make sure there is no egg in the bottom of the bowl. Cream on medium speed to create a paste.

               

               
                          **no lumps of egg here!** 

- Combine the AP flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to the butter mixture and combine on low speed until thoroughly combined. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. Mix on medium speed for 30 seconds.

                   

                  

- Scoop out dough with a 2 oz ice cream scoop. Using an ice cream scoops makes all the cookies a consistent size that require the same baking time.

                 

- Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes or overnight before baking. Chilling the dough (most importantly the butter in the dough) helps prevent the dough from spreading too much in the oven. 

               


-Dunk cookies in cinnamon sugar before baking! 

                  

- Bake at 350* for 7 minutes. Turn sheetpan in oven to prevent dark cookies due to hot spots in the oven. Bake another 7 minutes or until slightly brown along the edges. Always remove cookies from oven BEFORE completely baked. Carry over baking can take a perfect cookie to an over-baked cookie. 

               
- Remove from hot sheetpan after 2 minutes to prevent additional carry over baking. 
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