Archive | Elysia Root Cakes

Meet the team: Andrea Alvarez Reno, Cake Artist & Baker

Last but not least in our Meet the Team series, meet Andrea Alvarez Reno, who is a cake artist and baker on the Elysia Root Cakes team!  Andrea is an extremely talented artist and not only does she excel in the pastry arts, she taught herself calligraphy as well and in her off hours, owns and runs Andrea Reno Calligraphy.  Andrea is originally from Honduras but cake artistry and love brought her to Chicago!  Andrea received her L’Art du Gâteau certificate from The French Pastry School here in Chicago.  

Headshot by Laura Witherow Photography. Hair and Make-Up by Joanna B Artistry.

Andrea owned a custom cupcake and cake studio in her native Honduras and worked as a lead decorator for a couple of other bakeries in Chicago before joining the Elysia Root Cakes team!  She is also the best dog mom to her dog Manolo.  We are grateful to have such a talented person on our team! Read on to find out a little bit more about Andrea!

What do you like most about working at Elysia Root Cakes?  As a perfectionist myself I love the fact the all the cakes are done as perfect as possible.  The first time I learned that we could use a ruler to make the cake the perfect levelness and circumference it was like fireworks in my brain.

What has been your favorite project at Elysia Root Cakes?  Definitely the pleated architectural inspired cake. It was such a challenge and such a unique cake! The fact that it was all white made it better and all the math that involved was thrilling to me.

Delivered to Acadia restaurant this past September.  An architectural wedding cake designed by an architect groom and executed precisely by Andrea!

What is your role at Elysia Root Cakes?  Construction of cakes and elaboration of artistic elements AKA Cake Artist.

Motto or personal mantra?  You give your best. There is no other option.

Three words to best describe you?  Perfectionist, motivated and hard working.

Fondant dragon for a wedding cake, hand sculpted by Andrea

Back of the hand sculpted fondant dragon

What did you want to be when growing up?  Three things: baker, veterinary or forensic doctor!

Describe the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in your life thus far?  Grabbing my bags and my dog and coming to a country where I would have no family (except my husband) and no friends, leaving behind everything I ever knew.

What is the most important thing you have learned in the last five years?  Family and health are the most important thing.

Calligraphy and edible wedding invitation created by Andrea.

Edible gala invitation created by Andrea.

Outside of work, what kinds of hobbies and interests do you have? I’m obsessed with Crossfit and nutrition.

Where is your hometown?  I am from San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

What is your hidden talent?  I like to think I’m very strong. I can currently squat 200 lbs and I’m going for more weight!

Gorgeous sparkly art deco fondant wedding cake with a ruffled bottom tier to match the wedding dress!

 

Thanks for taking the time to read about the Elysia Root Cakes team.  Check out more from Andrea on her Instagram and make sure to also check out her calligraphy Instagram as well!

Members of the Elysia Root Cakes team: Andrea, Maddie, Monica and Sammie at the 2017 Wish Upon A Wedding Gala.

Meet the team: Danielle Leahy, Cake Artist and Baker

This week, meet Danielle Leahy, the Elysia Root Cakes team’s Cake Artist and Baker!  Danielle joined the Elysia Root Cakes team in the past year.  Danielle moved to Chicago from Washington D.C., but is originally from Pennsylvania.  She received her degree in Baking and Pastry Management from The Culinary Institute of America in New York.  

Headshot by Laura Witherow Photography. Hair and Make-up by Joanna B Artistry.

Danielle interned at Pink Cake Box in New Jersey and also has a strong pastry background, having been on the pastry team at the Rosewood hotel in Washington, D.C.  We recently sent Danielle to 3 days of  Cake Carnival in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada to learn from six amazing cake artists and to further develop her own skills.  She spent 3 days creating this beautiful wedding cake that showcased a variety of different techniques.

Wedding cake created by Danielle. Photo courtesy of Danielle Leahy.

Read on below to get to know a little more about Danielle!

Before work at Elysia Root Cakes what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?  In high school I took phone orders for a company that sold plants and seeds.

What do you like most about working at Elysia Root Cakes?  I like that we are always doing new and different techniques and learning every day.

Danielle pictured with the Elysia Root Cakes team and the cake we created for the TV show Empire for the Prince tribute episode.

What book did you last read? 32 Yolks by Eric Ripert

Where is your hometown? Hatboro, Pennsylvania

What has been your favorite project at Elysia Root Cakes?  My favorite project so far has been the monkey baby shower cake.

Hand painted baby shower cake with hand made fondant monkeys that Danielle helped to create.

What is the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery?  A French bulldog puppy

What is one food you wish had zero calories? Pizza

Danielle and our intern Maddie, delivering a wedding cake. Photo by Jason Kaczorowski Photography.

Where is the best place you’ve travelled to and why?  Italy because of the amazing art, delicious food and wine

What is one thing you can’t resist?  Peanut butter

Thanks for taking the time to learn a little about Danielle, Elysia Root Cakes team’s Cake Artist and Baker!  

Danielle pictured with Courtney Clark, Sarah Myers, Joshua John Russell, Avalon Yarnes, James Roselle, Susan Trianos and Chrissie Boon. Photo courtesy of Danielle Leahy.

Meet the team: Monica Anderson, Senior Cake and Confectionary Artist

This week, meet Monica Anderson, the Elysia Root Cakes team’s Senior Cake and Confectionary Artist!  Monica has been an integral part of the Elysia Root Cakes team for the past four years.  We previously profiled Monica back in 2015.  Monica is from Naperville, Illinois and now lives in the River North area.  Monica has a degree in Baking and Pastry from Kendall College.  

Photo credit: Rebecca Marie Photography. Hair by Livia Caporale. Make-up by Andie Cumber.

Monica worked at various bakeries in the Chicagoland area before joining our team in 2014.  We’ve loved seeing her develop her skills and become an even more amazing cake artist during her time with us.  We are happy to have encouraged Monica in developing her skills by sending her to learn from some amazing cake artists such as Mark Seaman, Nicholas Lodge, Mike Elder, Mary Jo Dowling, and Colette Peters

Monica in class with Colette Peters during Florida ICES mini-classes.

Monica recently competed in her first cake competition and took 2nd place in the Professional Wedding Cake Division at the National Capital Area Cake Show in Virginia.  We’re super proud of her accomplishment.  Read on to learn a little more about Monica!

What has been your favorite project at Elysia Root Cakes? My favorite project thus far at Elysia Root Cakes has been the Rainbow Trout Groom’s cake that we created in 2016.

Photography: PenCarlson Planner: Sweetchic Events

What is your proudest moment at work?  My proudest moment at Elysia Root Cakes is when I came in 2nd in the Professional Wedding Cake Division at the National Capital Area Cake Show.

Monica with her cake at the National Capital Area Cake Show

Monica’s Wedding Cake design that took 2nd place Professional Wedding Cake Division at NCAS 2017. Photo credit: Laura Witherow

What is your favorite thing to do in Chicago?  My favorite thing to do in Chicago is to go to all of the amazing museums.

What phobias do you have?  I have a phobia of bugs crawling all over me! 

What did you want to be when growing up?   When I was a kid I wanted to be an architect.

Monica and Elysia on an 2016 Icing Smiles delivery for Dulce’s 1st birthday to Almost Home Kids.

What is an ability you wish you had? An ability that I wish I had is teleportation.

What is the one thing you cannot resist?  Chocolate and Peanut Butter!

What is the favorite part about working at Elysia Root Cakes?  The ability to be creative and to create beautiful cakes for people to enjoy on a special day.

Monica and Elysia on a wedding cake delivery in 2014.

Best vacation place you’ve been? The best place I have traveled to was Italy.

What celebrity do people think you look like?  When my hair is straight, people think I look like Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Thanks for taking the time to learn a little about the Elysia Root Cakes team’s Senior Cake and Confectionary Artist!  Check out more from Monica on her instagram. 

Monica and her boyfriend Zack at the 2016 Wish Upon A Wedding Gala.  Photo credit: Studio This Is

Meet the team: Kelly Dull, Elysia Root Cakes Head Baker

Meet Kelly Dull, the Elysia Root Cakes team’s head baker!  Kelly is in charge of the deliciousness that comes out of the Elysia Root Cakes’ kitchen each week.   While Kelly is originally from Elyria, Ohio right outside of Cleveland, she has lived all over the United States on both coasts, from Santa Monica, California to Brooklyn, New York!  Kelly received her Bachelor of Science in Baking and Pastry Arts from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. 

Headshot by Rebecca Marie Photography. Make-Up by Andie Cumber. Hair by Livia Corporale.

Kelly is not only the Elysia Root Cakes team’s head baker, but she is also a successful culinary instructor and you can find her teaching classes at Give Me Some Sugar in Roscoe Village, Sur La Table in Skokie, and Read It & Eat in Lincoln Park.  We are grateful to have such a talented person on our team! Read on to find out a little bit more about Kelly!

What do you like most about working at Elysia Root Cakes?  I love that we have so many opportunities to push ourselves and to learn and grow.  We are always trying to be better than we were and that’s exciting.

The Elysia Root Cakes team at a fresh floral arranging class given by fellow Green Wedding Alliance member, Jori from Fab Flora Chicago!

Before working at Elysia Root Cakes, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?  I helped a good friend open and run a bakery in Providence, RI.  It was one of the most challenging, exhausting, exciting, and rewarding things I’ve ever done.

What is the weirdest job you’ve ever had? I was a car hop waitress at a place called Dog N Suds for four summers in high school.

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us: At age 26, I spent 4 months on a solo road trip around the entire United States.

Kelly and Michelle delivering 240 (!) mini-cakes in 2016.

What book did you read last?  Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “What Happened”

What is your favorite movie and book? My favorite book (besides the Harry Potter series!) is “The Things they Carried” by Tim O’Brien and favorite movie: A League of Their Own.

What did you want to be when growing up?  A veterinarian until age 14,  then a pastry chef/baker!

What is the most important thing you have learned in the last five years? Self-care and how to say no to people.

What is your hidden talent?  I can juggle!

What has been your favorite project at Elysia Root Cakes?  The Harry Potter themed cakes!

Kelly and Danielle with one of two Harry Potter themed cakes we’ve had the opportunity to make. The one above was a birthday cake!

The 2nd Harry Potter themed cake was a groom’s cake (Photo by Averyhouse)

Thanks for taking the time to learn a little about the Elysia Root Cakes team’s head baker!  Check out more from Kelly on her instagram and her website. 

Kelly and her boyfriend, Andrew at the Wish Upon A Wedding Gala. Photo by Studio This Is.

Real Wedding: Jessica and Jacob

Jessica and Jacob’s wedding at The Langham Chicago was such a beautiful and glamorous affair! Every time we look back on the details of this amazing day, captured beautifully by Rick Aguilar Studios, we feel so honored that we could be a part of it! The show-stopping five-tiered cake was adorned with black fondant ribbon and fresh white florals from Kehoe Designs, creating a modern yet elegant design. The cake table was draped in a textured white linen which beautifully contrasted the smooth, slick surface of the cake.

We love a sophisticated and minimal design, and this cake was no exception. We wish Jessica and Jacob many more days that are as special and happy as their wedding day!

Vendors //

Photography: Rick Aguilar Studios | Event Planner: Barbara Moss Events | Florist: Kehoe Designs | Venue and Catering: The Langham Chicago

XO, Elysia

A Magical Affair

Brandy and Brian’s wedding day at The Langham Chicago was full of love, laughter, and magic. One of the most unforgettable parts of the day was the revealing of the groom’s cake. Brandy surprised Brian with a Harry Potter themed cake, to honor their shared love for the famous series. The two-tiered cake was topped with the Sorting Hat, and adorned with a wand, snitch, and train ticket to Hogwarts, which are all signature items to the books.

The magic didn’t stop there! For their traditional wedding cake, we created a show-stopping 4-tiered cake adorned with gorgeous pink and burgundy flowers from Stems Chicago, as well as luscious greenery. Candles decorated the cake table, lighting up the cake to enhance its beauty.

We loved getting creative for the groom’s cake and keeping it classic for the wedding cake! Groom’s cakes are a fun, yet special gesture that every groom appreciates, and will have your guests in awe. Take a look at the gorgeous photos from AveryHouse below to get some inspiration!

Vendors //

Photographer: AveryHouse | Planner: JDetailed Events | Venue and Catering: The Langham Chicago | Florist: Stems Chicago | Entertainment: Becca Kaufman Orchestra

XO, Elysia

Hand Painted Details to Elevate Your Cake Design

At Elysia Root Cakes, it is our job to keep up with wedding trends, and the hand-painted wedding cake craze is one we can get behind. Hand-painting is a beautiful and creative way to bring in elements of your day that have meaning. Whether it’s incorporating your favorite flowers, your monogram or your new china pattern, be sure to make it your own! 

Take a look at some of our favorite hand-painted cakes below!

Photography: Amanda Megan Miller | Fresh Floral: Fleur | Venue: Radisson Blu Aqua

Planner: Jayne Weddings | Photography: Julia Franzosa Photography | Venue: Ravenswood Event Center

Inspired by invitations by Rifle Paper Co. | Photography: Elysia Root Cakes

Planner: Frank Event Design | Photography: Rush Photography And Video | Venue: Anna Held Studios

Inspired by Invitations by Chicks N Hens | Fresh Floral: Kehoe Designs | Photography: Tim Tab Studios | Venue: Café Brauer

XO, Elysia

Christy Tyler Styled Shoot

We love being a part of styled shoots – especially this gorgeous Christy Tyler photography workshop shoot.  Creating a cake that perfectly complements the design, decor, florals, and bride is a challenge; one that we will always accept!

From the pretty pink ring box and flourishing tablescape to the beautiful china, pulling inspiration from all aspects of a shoot is crucial to creating a stunning cake design. For this shoot a three tiered classic all-white cake adorned with luscious pink sugar florals, greenery and blush flower buds, set the stage for an elegant and romantic affair.

Take a look below at all of the details from this fabulous shoot!

Vendors //

Venue: Chez Event Space | Photography: Christy Tyler Photography | Florals: The Petal chicago | Model: Aimee Mazzenga | Dress: Alice in Ivory bridal | Hair and Makeup: Debra Petrielli Hair and Makeup |Paper goods & ring box: Jenn Heller Design co | Linens: BBJ Linen | Rentals: Kate Vintage Wed | Video: Robert Cawthorne

XO, Elysia

A Groom’s Cake with a Bark

Liz and Joey’s wedding day was a joyous celebration, filled with friends and family! The most memorable part of the day had to be the unveiling of the groom’s cake – Joey was pleasantly surprised to find his best friend turned cake form. Liz wanted his Jack Russell Terrier, Pebbles, to be a part of their special day, and this was the most creative way possible!  Liz arranged for Joey’s favorite Boston Crème pie from Joe’s Seafood to be delivered to us so that we could depict Pebbles getting into trouble by eating his pie!

This cake was so much fun to create, and even more exciting to see Joey’s expression when first laying eyes on him! Take a peek below at this one of a kind grooms cake, and Joey’s once in a lifetime surprise!

XO, Elysia

Vendors //

Photography: Carasco Photography | Venue: The Drake Chicago | Planner: Kesh Events

Spring has Sprung in Cake Form

With Spring just around the corner – we here at Elysia Root Cakes are overflowing with inspiration! This Spring season is full of enchanting blooming flowers and trees putting forth new leaves, the earth looks dazzling! With all this new beauty around us we cannot help but think, how do we incorporate this grace into our cakes?

From actual bright blooms to sugar flowers to colorfully hand painted designs, our inspiration beams from Spring time and transcends through our cakes. Take a peek below at some of our favorite seasonal cakes, and get a little spring in your step!

Photography: Carasco Photography | Floral & Decor: HMR Designs/ Rishi Patel  | Planner: Birch Design Studios

Photographer: David Wittig Photography | Floral & Decor: HMR Designs/ Rishi Patel | Planner: Birch Design Studios

Photography: Leathem Photography | Planner: Clementine Chicago | Floral: A Stem Above Chicago

Photography: Rush Productions | Planner: Frank Event Designs

Photography: Amanda Megan Miller | Planner: Jayne Weddings (katijayne) | Shoot Concept: Indie Wed

Photography: Tim Tab Studios | Floral & Décor: Kehoe Designs |Coordination: CJ Janda

Photography: Becky Brown Photography | Florals and Coordination: CJ Janda

XO, Elysia