So…I’m 3 weeks from my first baby’s due date, and I’d like to do a little series of flashbacks to share with you my experiences training in the world of cake before I started my business in Kansas City. It all begins with Wilton classes at the local craft store in Athens, GA while I was in school. I took all three of the courses that were offered at the time, and a few pictures of the cakes we made are below:
I’m not particularly proud of these cakes (umm…or the photos!) and am honestly a little embarrassed to share them now. But…I’ll throw myself on out there for criticism because no one can possibly be more critical than me. It just goes to show that a person has to start learning somewhere!
Some friends from school got married that spring, and I was asked to make wedding cookie favors for them. It was super-fun! The picture on the left was the inspiration photo given to me by the bride (I am unsure of the source). They would look different if I did them today, but they tasted good and it was actually my first delivery for a wedding!
After that I made a few cakes for customers while living in Atlanta. Here are a few of them:
About a year later, I moved to Sydney, Australia, still dreaming about working in the cake world. After a series of lucky breaks I became an intern at Planet Cake, one of the top cake shops in the city.
I began working as an intern one day a week, and it was amazing how much there was to learn! After some discussion with Paris Cutler, I started a blog called The Planet Cake Intern to document and share my experiences there. The next few weeks of postings on Talk Sweet to Me will share with you the weekly adventures while I was there, followed by my transition to working in the U.S. Enjoy!
Click here for a funny photo (reminds me of one of my favorite blogs, Cake Wrecks)!
There is a reason black fondant and support dowels exist in the world. And what a great response by the bride, talk about making the best of a bad situation!
Last weekend I had the honor of making the bridal shower cake for a friend’s daughter. She gave me an inspiration cake, color scheme, and flavor choice, which was “Lemon, lemon, and MORE LEMON!” Needless to say, only a lemon cake with lemon curd filling and vanilla buttercream would do!
The color scheme for the shower was bright yellow with navy blue and white accents. I was given this image as the inspiration cake…
Cake designer unknown
…but also given free reign to interpret the design in my own style. Don’t you love it when people trust you to be good at what you do?! Here’s what I came up with, all drawn very formally in blue pen on the back of an envelope:
Then of course comes the baking, assembly, and decorating!
The cake was delivered, my friend was thrilled, and then it was time for me to put my 8-months-pregnant-and-very-tired feet up to rest!
Craftsy has released even more new cake decorating classes. The fun never ends!
Designer Fondant Textures taught by Marina Sousa, Food Network Challenge Champion. This class includes instruction on ruching, fringe, ruffles, and sparkling sequins. Sooo pretty!
Cake Design Made Simple – Art Deco with Lindy Smith, author of The Contemporary Cake Decorating Bible. It sounds like so much fun to learn her cake designing techniques!
Classic Car, Timeless Techniques by Mike McCarey of Mike’s Amazing Cakes. This cake would make such a perfect birthday celebration for someone who loves classic cars. I know my husband’s jaw would hit the floor if I made him a classic car for his birthday cake! The parts that sound best to me are learning the gelatin technique for a perfect clear windshield and all the time saving tips for the details!
The Art of Airbrushing with Lisa Berczel, master of airbrushing techniques. This one looks super-exciting with all the design skills and textures you can add to your decorating arsenal…I’ve never been super-confident with an airbrush, but taking this class sure would help!
What more could a cake decorator ask for? Can’t wait to see what’s next…
Have you taken a Craftsy class? Tell me about it!
In my current position as marketing manager, I was lucky enough to cross paths with Laura Lake, who is, in my humble opinion, pretty much a marketing genius. Laura is a published author who is passionate about marketing…and writes regularly about the topic to help small business owners on the About.com – Marketing page.
Look there for some great information on Marketing, Branding, and Public Relations that can give you insight and ideas on how to spread the word about your amazing cakes! The posts are not directly related to cake, of course, but can be very useful in giving you some general ideas on what you can be doing.
You can also sign up for her newsletter on the right side of the page here for information delivered directly to your inbox.
I’d love to share with you today that I came up with an amazing vanilla cake recipe to follow up last week’s post on the quest for vanilla cake perfection. Truth is, I’ve had two complete and utter failures since that time. Anyone want a brown vanilla “white” cake that tastes like…nothing? Me neither. I threw a lot of cake in the trash this week. (Maybe seventeenth time’s the charm here?) I’ll keep trying!
Moving on to more fun things: An orange ombre petals cake. This one was inspired by both the bride’s invitations and a wedding cake photo she found online:
A lot of orange petals were made that week, all in different shades of creamsicle. A delicious color!
Those were assembled onto the simple white fondant-covered cake tiers using royal icing, and delivered to the reception venue in Kansas City’s River Market.
I’ve always loved thinking of cakes as edible sculpture. Like any artwork, sometimes it makes me happy, sometimes it makes me cry, sometimes it makes me crazy, and sometimes I am just relieved to be done with the darn thing. This one felt mostly happy…and a little relieved too, of course.
How do you usually feel when you’re finished with a cake delivery? I hope you said LIKE A ROCKSTAR!
So, it’s truth time. I pretty much hate vanilla cake. Not the flavor – because that’s truly delicious – but because the perfect recipe for it continues to remain elusive. Come out, come out, wherever you are!
Sure, there was a recipe I used for my business for the many brides who wanted a traditional white cake on their wedding day. But I never LOVED it the way I loved my chocolate or lemon recipes. So recently I tried Sweetapolita’s Fluffy Vanilla Cake recipe that she worked out while on her own quest for the perfect white cake recipe. Here is a link to many of her vanilla cake recipes. I truly admire her dedication (and her blog is pretty amazing too, of course!).
My husband and I had a couple friends over for dinner, so I had the perfect excuse and willing guinea pigs to test the recipe on. The cake was off to a good start when it rose nicely in the oven and smelled like my grandma’s sugar cookies when it came out. Heavenly.
Cutting into the cake was beautiful – it held it’s shape and made a very clean cut. At first bite, we were all met with a very nice melt-in-your-mouth texture and it was moist enough the night that I baked it. However, it still dried out very quickly and had that “white cake” flavor that I don’t like. Maybe that’s the baking powder? Alas, it made me want to pour the rest of the bottle of my favorite vanilla into it, but then again that seems like overreacting. And I might need it for another trial run.
The whipped vanilla bean icing was very buttery, but does taste wonderful in small doses. I LOVE the vanilla bean flecks in it!
Overall, the cake recipe was met with rave reviews by my friends and co-workers, but this cake-obsessed fool is still on the hunt for the best vanilla white scratch cake recipe ever. Stay tuned!
Do you have a favorite vanilla cake recipe made from scratch? How did you find it?