The Sweet Charity event hosted by Albert Uster and held at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental in Washington, DC last week was a huge success.  This year’s show was even better than last year’s, with larger number of participants as well as guests.   The event helped raise money for The Heart of America Foundation’s® Books From The Heartprogram, which supports and promotes literacy and community service.  The Books From The Heart program provides much needed books for elementary school children as well as school libraries.  As the mother of a young son who won’t go to sleep without being read a book or two (and sometimes more),  I can appreciate the work they do and am proud to support their cause any way I can.

More than 60 area chefs and culinary entrepreneurs showcased their tasty treats, both sweet and savory.  I only wish I had had an opportunity to visit with some of the other vendors and get a little sample of everything.  I was impressed with some of the things I did get to taste, thanks to the culinary students that volunteered to help at the event.  They were happy to assist during the set up and tear down, and were on track to bring us small plates of food so that we’d be able to taste some of the fine goodies on hand.   An event as large as this can be a bit overwhelming to some, but for me, it’s exciting and entertaining, social creature that I am.

My cancan dancer cake was a huge hit.  I was happy to have finally finished working on that sugar piece.  It was my first time making a figure like that.  I had never painted a face like hers before, and if I do say so myself, I think she looked gorgeous!  It inspired me to work on two more challenging designs which I will be showcasing in two upcoming events (can’t reveal yet since I’ve been sworn to secrecy for now) .

Here are some photos of the event:

I always enjoy chatting with two of the nicest sugar artists in the area, Norm Davis and Zane Beg of ‘The Sweet Life’.

Clara's Designer Cakes Supreme Carrot Cake

Our Signature Carrot Cake with Dark Rum Italian Meringue Buttercream.  I adorned the samples with chocolate hearts from Albert Uster.  The cakes were a HUGE hit!

I’d like to give some much deserved kudos to the following people:

Albert Uster’s great staff and commitment to excellence

The Heart of America Foundation for their work and perseverance

All the culinary students from different schools who volunteered their time

My friend Lidia Miller who is a photographer, not a baker (although she can cover a cake with fondant better than some bakers I know).  She graciously volunteered to help me that evening so that my two assistants could have the night off.  Thank you, Lidia!

Sherene from Beyond Imaginations for the lovely display props

And to Jenn for hours of help stuffing cake and icing into tiny little cups 🙂