It is always wonderful to celebrate major events with families all over central Florida. There are so many things we rejoice in like weddings, births, anniversaries and birthdays. We also should stop and celebrate the loved one who has worked hard for his entire life to provide for his family. He has earned a rest and a chance to pursue hobbies and things that work has kept him from enjoying fully. In this case it is golf. Our newly retired celebrant left the life of a tow truck driver to pursue his enjoyment of the game of golf. Well deserved, sir, well deserved! His loving daughter, Mandy, arranged this cake just for him and while I was there she let me see her sleeping daughter who was still in her tummy when I made her baby shower cake. She is an angel and she has the sweetest most gorgeous Mommy. It touches me somewhere deep in my heart to witness a family celebrating and an even deeper place in my heart when I get to witness the happy changes in their family over a longer span of time. They let me be part of the love they have for one another and that is just amazing to me.
It has not been that long since I began this cake journey. As with any business it can take a while to gain momentum and really start to have a solid client base. You have to have patience, which I am usually short on, and faith, which I have an abundance of. In the beginning of a business, especially when that business is an artistic outlet that you need in order to not lose your sanity some days, it can be painful to hear the words “That price is too high for me” or “Someone else said they will do it for less” or even worse “I have never heard of you”. Being professionals we say “I understand, thank you for your inquiry”. On the inside we some days want to cry out “Don’t you see how good I could be if you only gave me a chance to show you?!” For many clients it can be about the budget. Or the budget can really hinder the ideal of the cake they will take home in the end. Or maybe they just do not trust you because they did not go view your work first. For many of those who design cakes it is mostly about the need to create and make people happy- the financial aspect is just to cover costs and let us call it a “job” when it is really something we need with all our hearts to do. Yes sometimes we become frustrated when we are not chosen but we know there is nothing we can do. Someone else will make that cake for a smaller price and in some cases the cake may not be what you could have would have should have made if only you had been allowed. Which we accept as it happens every day and we are all free to choose where we shop and who we trust. There is nothing, really, that we can do. Right? Well…. if you are like me and have trouble sleeping once a design is in your head with no way out but one and a fierce need to prove to at the very least yourself that yes you CAN rock that cake then you will make the design anyway. It doesn’t matter if the person who had never heard of you ever sees it. Sometimes we need to roar. There needs to be a touch of ego in art to drive you to better yourself and to seek self challenge. You let that ego do its job and then you let it go and resume worrying about whether or not you will ever be as amazing as you want to one day be. Enjoy the moments when you rock that cake or whatever else you rock in your life. Flex your muscles. Practice your art. It only makes you more “ready” when that special client calls you. And they will. Have faith in yourself and work hard and they will call. Never forget to sometimes roar!
Multi patterned cakes are eye catching and alive. They draw the eye to multiple places and bring an energy and action to what could be a static appearing object. I love mixing media, patterns, colors and styles to create a cake that can range from fresh to bold. Denise is a bride who had an eye for patterning and she definitely wanted a cake that captured her style. Her beautiful bridesmaid dresses ran the gamut of grey and were just gorgeous. In her cake design I wanted to not only mix subtle patterns with more bold patterns but also take the traditional and add a modern twist with the chevron style which is currently so popular. Denise’s final design captures her color scheme as well as drawing upon the pure elegance of the white hydrangea used in her ceremony. Her adorable cake topper was provided for me to place in point of honor atop the cake. There is just a hint of shimmer to the grey tier to catch the light and eye at her beautiful venue with touches of silver for elegance.
What an honor it was to be asked by a local women’s group to host a buttercream basics class at their monthly luncheon! This was my first time teaching and the goal of the class was to learn simple piping techniques but mostly it was to have fun and enjoy outstanding fellowship. These ladies were very eager to get started and they each dove right in trying different borders and flowers. The room was filled with laughter and everyone had a great time. Prior to the class the ladies enjoyed a light luncheon followed by my lemon cake with raspberry filling and white chocolate ganache. The theme for the cake was spring, feminine and soft colors. I chose a blush pink accented with brighter pink peonies, a simple textured ruffle border and gold beads for a touch of dazzle. Perfect for a spring day in Florida!
In my mind I pictured a woman who was alone, with a past, and hurts inflicted on her heart which made it hard for her to open up and trust in love. Much like myself I suppose. This woman seemed cold on the outside, icy, aloof, some thought her unapproachable. In reality her heart burns fierce and strong and bright like the sun. Or a deep red rose against the sparkling snow. Her heart longs for her one true love and one day he finds her. Her heart begins to beat for him. The one person who understands her, accepts her, cherishes her for all she has been, all she is and all she will one day become. This cake is not for the woman who has fallen in love for the first time in her youthful innocence. This cake is for the woman who has overcome, been shaken by life, yet still retains her passion and hope. The woman who has sat upon her icy throne until her Prince finds her and melts the snow with the kiss of his acceptance and devotion. There is always a happy ending… when you love.
I have loved every single moment of planning and making this wedding cake. It has everything that I enjoy most- It is feminine, floral, detailed, and blush pink! There are times when we fall in love with the cake design and there are times when we fall in love with the clients. When the planets are aligned just right we fall in love with both. Carrie has a small son who was recently diagnosed with a peanut and tree nut allergy. For a baker this can be a terrifying thing. You dwell on the potential for microscopic particles to somehow make their way in to your cake no matter what precautions you take. It probably doesn’t even work that way under normal conditions but…. what if?! Yes, my head is always filled with those horrible what ifs. I knew I had to be beyond organized and have allergen safe cleansing protocols in place as I had never baked for an allergic client before. Carrie was so very wonderful. Between the two of us we called every manufacturer of every single ingredient that I would use in her wedding cake. She was an angel. She helped me not be terrified that I would hurt her child and in turn I felt a fierce attachment to them both. I prayed so often during this process because it is just that important. It was such an education and I truly admire the people who live with food allergies in a processed food world where factories are not generally safe. They cannot rely on a description of a food. They cannot rely on knowing what should be in their food. You cannot always rely on product packaging either. When you call manufacturers they often times do not know what else may be in the room with what you are serving. If you call back again and get another person you may get a different answer! So it is scary. I made a Google doc and shared it online with Carrie and every item was reviewed and verified. In the end the petal dusts could not be verified as safe as they are repackaged and we just could not take a chance on her sons well being so he got his own little chocolate cake that day and every other ingredient in his Mommys cake was safe just not those sugar flowers. When Carries cakes were delivered and I drove home… I was kind of sad. She is a really great person and her little one stole my heart before I ever met him. This is one of those cakes and families that I will always remember.
We are not supposed to play favorites with our children. We are supposed to love them equally. And we do. Really. We do. Maybe we let our 5 year old sleep in our bed. (coughs) Every night. That does not mean he is our favorite. Each of our children have amazing qualities that we adore. Yet face it when 2 of 4 are fighting, screaming and throwing things you might be more inclined, at that moment, to gravitate more towards the sweet, calm, quiet one who is happy. And then it changes and some other boys are fighting and a different one is “child of the day”. Oh, wait, we are here to talk about cakes not parenting, right? There can be similarities in fact. We fret over our cakes, baby them, fuss at them, pet them, love them, adore them, and sometimes they give us grey hairs and scare the bejiminy out of us. It’s true! But this cake…. aaahhhh… this. cake. Yes it was a fret and worry fest. Yes I had moments of yelling “Say my NAME!” and moments of almost crying with worry. Which is how I knew this would be my favorite. Ever. Or at least so far. Elizabeth, my beautiful bride, is a martial arts instructor. So is her husband, Martin. (Insert thought of “I so must make these two black belts happy!!” haha!) You would never really guess that her body is a weapon because she is so gentle, soft spoken, mannerly, and her eyes dance with light! I felt so very protective of her (Shh! Don’t tell her!) and she is more than capable of protecting herself I am sure. Yet… she is so sweet and happy! Elizabeth had the most gorgeous pinterest board filled with top of the line luxurious photos that made my heart sing. She wanted an Asian inspired design and she really liked my last dragon cake and she had peacock colored orchids!! She gave me her complete trust from the beginning. Complete design freedom. That is a cake designers dream. Or at least mine. I immediately connected with the images she had collected. Opulent, rich, decadent, exciting and bold. I have been ecstatic over this wedding for months. When it was finally time to make the cake… I started sweating it. Sometimes what is in our heads can be very intimidating. What if our result falls short of what we envision? What if we see magic but we can not make it reality? I shook for a few minutes then told myself “Yeah, so? What IF? What if I totally rock this cake and make the best thing I have ever made and Elizabeth loves it and I love it too?” What if. What if can go either way and you will never know which way it is going to go if you do not just leap. Attack it. Pour yourself in to it. I am never going to be perfect. Never. No matter what or how much I learn and grow. That does not mean that I will ever give up or give in or let fear of failure stop me from trying. Someone commented when I posted this cake to my social media sites that they had always been told that blue and green should never ever go together and that I had proven them wrong. That has been on my mind ever since. Peacocks, the blue summer sky with the deep green trees, a beautiful sparkling blue swimming pool in a green lush yard… of course it goes together. Follow what speaks to you. If you never learn the rules you never have to follow them. Trust your heart. That is what brings two people together to commit their lives to each other. It can make a pretty cool cake, too.
Jessica was one of the first brides to book with me for 2013 and she knew exactly what she wanted in a cake. It was stunning and right up my alley design wise. I make it a practice to not replicate other peoples designs and I went in to this cake wanting to make changes but not really sure what changes to make. The design was just that perfect to me. Sweet and Swanky Cakes is the original designer and while there are definitely differences you can also definitely tell who’s design inspired this cake. I love painting on cake. It is one of my favorite things to do. One of those things that used to terrify me but now that I feel comfortable with it I utilize this technique a lot. Whenever possible in fact. It is fast, it is forgiving (if you have vodka to clean up mistakes) and did I mention it is fast??? If you make cakes and you are afraid to paint trust me when I say it is one of those things you really should try because it can create some striking designs and do so in a fraction of the time it takes to make little fiddly things out of fondant.
When I meet with a client I am not shy to tell them how new I am to all of this. I want clients who have faith in my potential not my portfolio. Just because I have never done it in no way means that I can’t. Jessica had that faith in me. She saw my work, liked it, and she knew I could paint this cake for her even before I did. Ok, I do believe I can do anything I put my mind to and that there are no limits to what we can accomplish if our heart and will are big enough to dream it. That is how I was raised. On the other hand you don’t really really know until you are finished and it is done. Thank you gorgeous Jessica for having faith in me. Your ability to have faith and trust in someone you really do not know spoke volumes to me and I know your life will be a beautiful one. How could it not be? It is amazing what people teach us when we let them. I have more faith in myself because of Jessica.
When a person really gets hot and heavy in to cake decorating they tend to become a little OCD about things. Things like having the smoothest finish, sharpest edges, cleanest lines. As much as I do love an element of the random to my cakes yes I at least try to strive for these things. Strive, I say, not actually accomplish. When someone asks me to make a rustic iced cake I both jump for joy and cringe. I jump for joy because I know I do not have to be perfect and flawless which are things I never am anyway. I cringe because it makes me twitch to ice a cake then not make it as perfect as Kristenly possible. Or to actually go back in and “mess it up”. The result, however, is really quite stunning in its simplicity and free form loveliness. Yes, I am now a believer. Flower making is one of my “things”. Not going to call it a specialty because there is still much to learn. Definitely flower making speaks to me and I love any cake which gives me the chance to make flowers. Especially flowers I have never made before. Succulents come in so many shapes, sizes and colors that really you can do most anything. They are not fussy to make and they are quite fast. The same as with a rustic iced cake the effect is beyond the effort. Combine the two and you have a real winner. Brides have so many choices now and so many images to look through. They know what they want. Christie is a smart and pretty young college graduate who, besides making me feel really old in comparison, taught me that my way is not always better. That a ton of detail and time and sweat and tears and stress can give you a showstopping result but so can simple, clean, pure. She taught me to trust my bride. And myself. And the two of us together working toward one vision. For that I will always be thankful. She doesn’t even know she did that for me. I do, though, and it is a lesson I needed.
It is interesting the funny ways we can become connected with our clients. Melanie’s mom, Cindy, had been referred to me by one of Noah’s teachers a long time back. Those were the days when I was really just getting started and had an even longer way to go than I do now. Not much of a portfolio to speak of either. She had inquired about a cake and a long time had passed. I received an email with a suspicious link in my business account one day and thought to myself hmmm this name looks familiar. After some digging I found her inquiry and decided it would be nice of me to email her and let her know I thought maybe her account had been hacked. Aaaannndd see if she still needed a cake. So I did. Being bold is not my strong suit so this was unusual for me to do. Long story short I met with Cindy and her daughter Melanie and some friends and family and they tasted some cakes and we discussed designs. I am telling you Melanie is the most beautiful and sweet young woman. She just radiates kindness and is beyond gorgeous. The kind of woman who’s sweetness radiates in her face, eyes and smile. I was just so excited to be asked to make her cake and cupcakes and can really see this union lasting a lifetime. Melanie’s mom, Cindy, wore herself out taking care of this wedding too. I have never met a more loving mother. In fact if they would like to adopt me I would be thrilled. Cindy made the beautiful birds nest cake topper for her daughter to keep and it was just perfect for the cake and the wedding. You never know how you will connect with people. Maybe you speak once and they are never heard from again. And maybe, when the time is right and you have grown and are ready to give them what they need, they will be brought back in to your life in the most random way so never be afraid to reopen that door. You meet the best people that way!