Thursday, February 28, 2008

Two Things I Made This Week

1) A cake for my mother’s 80th birthday party, which – trust me – tasted better than it looks here. In fact, it looked a whole lot better than it looks here – the fine art of food photography continues to elude me. This one was taken with no flash, in broad daylight, and it still has the cheesy gleam of bad porn. (Not that I’ve ever seen bad porn, mind you, but I’ve heard things.)

It was a Chocolate Mandarin cake, just one dense layer of good-quality semisweet chocolate with lots of orange zest – and also ground toasted almonds and candied ginger, which made for a really great complex taste – covered with a glaze made up of nothing besides more good chocolate, heavy cream, and Cointreau. It was a hit.
2) A little (5x7) watercolor for a fine young man whose age can still be reasonably calculated in weeks.

Which, all things considered, makes this a good week.

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13 Comments:

Blogger Kitt said...

Aw, sweet!

I've started playing around with using a big piece of white cardboard or foamcore as a light bounce for some shots, and it really make a difference. And I almost always have the camera set on macro and do a custom white balance.

My pictures are still nowhere near professional-looking, but I've noticed a big improvement over the last year as I've messed around with the camera more.

1:22 AM  
Blogger Miss T said...

You brilliant woman, nice watercolor! Watercolor is my nemesis.

That cake looks fabulous!!

11:45 AM  
Blogger Cara deBeer said...

the cake looks delicious, and the card is sweet.

for food photography, I think Kitt is right about an indirect light bounce. Jaden talks about it and . I'm not suggesting you invest in ego lights for $100/pop but her low-fi setup is inspiring to broke, space-constrained, lazy me.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Cara deBeer said...

okay, the comment box didn't like my html (sorry I didn't use preview to find this out before publishing) but there are two links in the above.

and the original URLs are here:

http://steamykitchen.com/blog/2008/01/29/
steamy-kitchen-food-porn-room/

and here:

http://steamykitchen.com/blog/2008/02/03/
lowel-ego-lights-for-food-photography/

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Renee DeLuca said...

That cake looks gorgeous, and delicious, Lisa!

And I love your artwork.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Debi said...

Oh, what a sweet painting for Aaron! That's just lovely, honey.

And that cake? Yum.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Alecto said...

right about now I would like to crawl into the center of that cake and eat my way out. come to think of it, that might be an exceptional idea. Also, the watercolor is sweet and compels me to stop working immediately and haul out my paints while I still have day light.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Mary-Laure said...

I sometimes chop some candied ginger into chocolate cakes, too! Isn't it exquisite?
The glazing looks fabulous, bravo!

6:51 AM  
Blogger techgeisha said...

just stopping by to catch up on your blog, now that i can come up for a breath of air from sick kid and other chaos-land... the cake looks gorgeous, i love your art, and especially Mr. Bonkers Smiles in His Sleep, which is also a fine name for the garage rock band that I am going to have when I grow up.
oh.

anyway.
love ya.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Alecto said...

I just found this:

http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/11/our-approach-to-food-photos/

on food photography, along with a bunch of other links.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Good suggestions, all. I think most of my problem is that once I'm finished making something, it's usually the 11th hour and the last thing I want to do is haul out foam core or a tripod, neither of which I actually own at present anyway. In other words, I'm mostly lazy.

Thank you for all the nice compliments, too. That's why I blog! (And the cake recipe is super easy.)

7:18 PM  
Anonymous White On Rice Couple said...

Happy Belated Birthday to your mom! And this chocolate mandarin cake is beautiful! I agree with kitt. Starting with a white foamcore adds wonders to photography.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to your mom! from "Muzz"

10:50 AM  

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