Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Once Upon a Time

Upon upon a time, and I do mean a LONG time ago, I got an order from a client that wanted a castle cake.  She was on a very limited budget, so she decided on a castle shaped sheet cake.

Now granted, my little business was still very new, and I wasn't as experienced as I am now, but I also didn't have any other orders that week.  So I worked extra hard on her cake, and even had my friend Rita help me with it.  It's certainly not perfect, but at the time it was probably the most difficult cake I had ever made.

And then the big day came; pick-up day.  The customer came in and we basically unveiled it like it was a new line of shoes!  And she said "Hmmm... that's nice".  What - nice?!?  I charged you for a basic sheet cake and I gave you this 3D castle cake!  That's got to be better than "Hmmm..." right?

I was SO crushed, but I still give clients a little extra from time to time.  You just have to realize that not every customer will be wowed by your work, even when you've given them way more cake than what they were expecting.  To us it's our livelihood, the outlet for our artistic passions, but to some it's just a birthday cake.

Have a great week!

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Belated Christmas Gift!

I have several nieces and nephews, but there's only one school-aged niece in the family.  Kaitie's still a tween, and she still thinks I'm sorta cool.  The bad news is that her family lives in Oregon so I don't get to see them a lot.  But when I do, she always wants to see her Auntie Jen and make cakes! So for Christmas, I put together a cake decorating kit with some basic tools, some fondant, some cutters and other stuff and I sent it to her.  She was very tickled with it, but then I get the following pictures in my Inbox this week and I was SO thrilled!

Using the food markers on her leaves

Didn't her leaves turn out great?

The finished product!  Kaitie did excellent!!
 I enjoy passing down any cake wisdom I can, but it's especially fun when it's children (and family)! Have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Our Most Popular Display Cake Ever!

This display cake has long since served its usefulness, but at one time I carried this cake to so many shows and it always got rave reviews.

I initially made it because I wanted to play around with a wonky cake and I wanted to play around with a hot pink / lime color scheme.  Then I sold some cookies at a small art show (gee, that was a LONG time ago) and I brought it along.  Everyone wanted to know more about it, and I got lots of cake orders just because I brought that silly dummy cake along.

About a year later I did my first bridal show and even though I didn't think it resembled a wedding cake in the slightest, I brought it along anyway.  And I had brides raving over it again!!  Several said that it was the perfect cake for their wedding, although none on them wound up picking anything like it when we designed their cake.

That's when I learned that you should always bring a real attention getting cake with you to any show.  A bride might want a simple ivory cake with swiss dots, but seeing one won't necessarily get her into your bridal booth.

Think of it this way - the road is full of Hondas and Fords, but people line up to see monster trucks or the Batmobile at an auto show!  Have an awesome week!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Wonky Sweet 16 Birthday Cake

Last weekend I had the pleasure of making a Sweet Sixteen cake for Maranda in Dalton, GA.

It's been a while since I have made a wonky cake, They're big fun to make, and they look impressive. 

I'm not sure about the rest of you, but when I make a wonky cake, I carve out a well for the second tier in the spot it will be placed on the first tier.  That way, the cake will sit flush and keep the proper center of gravity.

And since the tiers wind up being higher than my normal (already tall) tiers, I add a cake board in the middle of the tier for extra added stability.

Once everything is carved, fitted, and stable, just add on fondant accents, ribbons, and your gumpaste bow loops!

Have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

New Wedding Cake at the Chattanoogan

 HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!  I hope today finds you something sweet!

I was contacted not to long ago by the fine folks at The Chattanoogan.  They have an area of their consultation room that in front of a huge window that faces the street.  They were asking some of their favorite vendors to dress the window to showcase some spring wedding trends.  We sent a few e-mails and we finally settled on a turquoise and cream theme.

Since the cake is going to be in front of a window for a few months, I have to be careful not to add a lot of color to the fondant.  Some colors will fade right out with extended exposure to sunlight.  Cream fondant was a great choice for the dummy cake.

I used some white royal icing to stencil some swags and used a few molds to make some accessories for the cake.  I have worked with color long enough to know that there re several different shades of white, cream, and certainly turquoise.  So I bought a few different shades of turquoise and brought them with me.  Sure enough, I wound up changing it when I got to the venue, but the other ribbon looked so much better!  And best of all, worst case scenario?  Come fall I can replace that ribbon out for an orange or brown one and keep right on using it.

The styrofoam used in the dummy cakes aren't super cheap and they are time consuming to make, so why not get all the mileage you can out of them!?!?!

5 hrs - removal bel ribbon to get exct color - work w oth vendor turq & crm tried flowrs no place

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sittin' on a Dock with a Cake

So I have made cakes for young Kaben on several occasions, but when Tara (his Mom) from the Car Barn called and told me that her Dad was turning 70, I knew we would make him an awesome cake too!

One of Kaben and his grandfather's favorite activities together is sitting on the dock of their beach house.  That's a theme I can work with!!

I don't want to go all Jerry Seinfeld here, but what's the deal with molded figures?  I work and work on them, and I'm still never 100% happy with them!  I spent at least 6 hours working on these 2 figures alone.  Like most things, I guess I just need more practice to get better and faster!

For the other bakers out there that do wedding cakes, how do you price "other" cakes (like birthday cakes)?  Including the figures, I spent a good 11 hours on this cake.  The artistic side of me really enjoyed making it, but the business side of me thinks that the same amount of time could have made a (higher-priced) wedding cake.  Do you price differently for wedding / birthday cakes??

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Buttercream Inscription Wedding Cake

I know that I'm not alone in this, but one of the things I dislike the most about decorating cakes is writing on them!  I'll do most anything to get out of it, gumpaste plaques, edible images, etc.

But when I met with this couple they wanted a verse from the Song of Solomon piped on their cake.  So I had to the 'ol noodle crankin'... and here's a technique I came up with worked very well.

First I printed out the verse using the computer and then flipped it over so I could see it in reverse.  I know there are ways to do that on the computer, but I didn't have the time to figure it out on my new PC!  Next I taped it to the back of a baking sheet and then taped a piece of cellophane very tightly over the paper.

Now I use a tip 1 to pipe over the the verse in reverse.  I pop the baking sheet in the freezer for 5 minutes.  Then I removed the cellophane with the words still on them and very carefully flipped it over and placed it (very straightly) on the cake.  Then you can carefully remove the cellophane with the words left behind in just the right place.  I wanted my words to stand out a little more, so I piped over the words that were already there.  I placed them in the chiller and then used a small paintbrush to even out the lines.

As you can see from the picture below, it turned out quite nicely!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Super Bowl iVillage Feature

I was contacted a couple of days ago by iVillage about featuring one of my stadium cakes for an edible football stadium article they were running.  Of course, I said "Yes"!  It wasn't until the feature went love that I realized I was featured right next to Bakerella!  What an honor!

It got me thinking about all the football cakes we have made in the past, and even though we aren't "football people", we always have a great time making them.  In fact, I usually only watch the half-time show during the Super Bowl, if we even watch that.  Chaddy and I are much more at home watching The Puppy Bowl!

So without further ado, here's some of the more awesome football cakes we have made in the past.  Just think of it as a clip show of one of your favorite TV shows!  Just click on the caption if you want to see the original post!

UGA Sanford Stadium Groom's Cake

UT's Neyland Stadium

Alabama's Bryant Denny Stadium

University of Auburn Football Helmet
Have a great weekend!


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