Tuesday, May 31, 2011


It's been a very long, long weekend.

What it lacked in cake and butter cream it made up for in french fries and soda pop.  There was a trip to a theme park, visits to various attractions in Terrible Haute (an affectionate title I assure you) and lastly, there was a trip to the zoo.

I'm beat.  That two year (almost three!) old has put me through some very public tantrums, smacks in the face, world class sassing and just generally vexing behavior.  I've not been a perfect parent, but we all survived and we still love each other.  I'm extremely grateful for that!  You have no idea!

And I'm gonna keep choosing to be grateful - for my son's burgeoning independence (would that it would transfer to his toilet habits, or lack thereof), for my husband's stalwart heart, for the firm discipline I got when I was a kid that I'm now passing on to my kid - "you'll thank me one day!"  Aha...

I'm thankful for opportunity.  I've been on the receiving end of many encouraging words from small business owners and the like - what a boost!  I'm thankful for my husband's opportunities - another job interview lined up for Thursday morning. 

And I'm thankful for God's sweet, always in time provision for our little corner of the universe.  Cake orders that pay phone bills - - teenagers who don't over charge for lawn work - - baby sitters who like to be paid in cake. 

And even on days filled with parental trauma, we have a dear little blonde boy telling me, in his tiny, sweet voice, "For God so loved the world...that he gave...only son so that  - - ever beweeves in Jesus...not die...but have everlasting...LIIIIIFE!" 

He always jumps and screams the last word. 

And it makes my heart so happy, so grateful, so ready to take it all on again tomorrow. 

Thank you, sweet Lord. 

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nothing Says Thank You Like...

Double Chocolate Raspberry Cake!

My baby sitting crew appreciated their cake:).

My husband and I have a really high-brow tradition for our anniversary. 

We go to...Holiday World.  That's right.  The highlight of our Hoosier traveling for the year is usually a two hour car ride through God's Country - aka GORGEOUS Southern Indiana - and a day of riding wooden roller coasters and the best water slides ever. 

What can I say?  We're simple people who like simple pleasures:).  Actually, Holiday World will always hold a special place in our hearts.  Our honeymoon consisted of whatever we could find that was fun on the way to Ft. Campbell, KY.  That meant a cabin in Brown County and a couple of days in Santa Claus eating funnel cakes and riding coasters.  And we had a blast!  So we go every year. 

We've been married four years...and now, with a toddler in tow, we take our annual trip very seriously.  We had a day full of sitters lined up, and this double chocolate raspberry cake was my thank you to the free help my family put up so we could go have a good time.

It may have been 55 degrees, but we rode every water ride and had a great time!  I'll never go again when it's that cold, but dang it!  When you have sitters, you go no matter what!  Grit your teeth and think of England!  or...'Merica!  Ahem. 

Happy Anniversary to us!  Weren't we cute??

Oh the irony!  My wedding cake was gross...would that
I had known of my love of cake four years ago!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ready, Set...Set!

It's time for a little cake soul searching.  It's time for some goal setting.  So, ready, set...SET.

My Goal:  Get certified to be my own food safety supervisor.
My Plan:  Take the ServSafe test on July 25th and blow it out of the water!  I am already at the point where I'm questioning the methods of servers and food handlers in every restaurant I go to.  Hey, Waitress with nasty long red finger nails...are YOU the one making my salad??  Hey sandwich dude in your single use gloves...How long have you had those on??

My Goal:  Find a real kitchen.
My Plan:  I need a plan for this one.  Ideas anyone??  Seems like the only places around Linton are not set up for epic baking.  But hey, if I decide to deep fry my products, I'm good to go.

 Photo Credit
My Goal:  Get accountable.
My Plan:  Pay the fee to ye olde Greene County Health Department, get a tax ID number and get myself a serious, no kidding accounting method...or an accountant, which would be much better. And most importantly: WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN ALREADY!!!

My Goal:  Be a vendor at bridal shows.
My Plan:  I think I can attract some attention with the whole real butter cream thing.  From what I can tell, most of the cake shops in this area go for the cheap icing. I have a vision of a yellow dislplay, a vase full of gum paste flowers and a faux cake to be oggled by bride passers-by and their loaded parents!
*SIDE NOTE: Super excited about this group I found called the Wabash Valley Bridal Society.  I    would love, love love to be one of their vendors.

My Goal:  Set up better online system.
My Plan:  I want a real website...not sure how long this blog will suffice.  For now it's perfect for this one woman show.  With a fully functional website, I could take orders and interface with online party and wedding planners better.

My Goal:  End this post
My Plan: 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

This List Goes to Eleven.

Oh, the bridal cake let down!  I'm in the cake valley.  After reaching the cake mountain top, I am now reduced to project-less reflection, dwelling on past pictures and butter cream of days gone by.   As I ruminate, I am keeping a list of things to do differently next time.  So, in no particular order, here are my lessons learned:

1.  When modifying a recipe, and it turns out awesome, WRITE IT DOWN, so you don't have to create said awesomeness twice.  Golly!

2.  When traveling with butter cream in pastry bags, keep it at room temperature.  I put mine in a cooler.  DUMB.  When I got to the reception hall, my beautiful, smooth icing was a hard lump in a plastic bag.  I was filled with panic, massaging the icing bags to warm them up.  (Didn't help that there was a former professional cake maker hovering over me as I tried to look like I was in complete control.)

3.  On a related note - do not use disposable pastry bags with real butter cream.  Real icing demands real tools.  Nothing so confidence inspiring as your pastry bag popping as you try to pipe a straight line.

4.  Buy a refrigerated van.  My friend Christy and I just about froze to death on the hour long drive to the wedding location.  We had the air on full blast to keep all parts of the cake cool on the drive.

5.  Warn, warn and triple warn brides and wedding planners: Real butter cream MUST stay relatively cool.  A hot reception = a hot cake = a melted cake = tears and possible cursing = someone is mad at the cake maker who warned everyone not to let the cake get too hot.

6.  Measure everything nine times.  My tall tier was not centered.  I did not like that. 

7.  Stop using plastic seperator plates, woman-up, and learn to stack a cake with the ginormous sharpened dowel. 

8.  And use more dowels. 

9.  And bring scissors, a knife, a plastic drop cloth to protect the serving table from butter cream...and if at all possible a very understanding friend or sister-in-law  (or both) to keep you calm.

10.  Make more cake...learn more...do more...enjoy it all!!!!

11.  Yes, because we all know things are better when they go to 11...PRAYING REALLY HELPS.

Apparently the reception hall got rather warm and the big, beautiful, bridal cake started to lean precariously.  Yikes!  I was mortified until I was reassured by multiple eye-witness sources that it was all okay. 

And I think this last comment from the bride says it all:

"Amy, our cake was FANTASTIC!!!!! So gorgeous, and amazingly tasty :D Thanks again!!!!!"


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bridal Cake Revealed!

Oh so many lessons learned!  Every time I take on a big cake project, I come away from it with another PhD in decorating.  So much...so much I will write about later, since I'm pretty much exhausted at the moment.

Lemon Cake with Raspberry Filling
Almond Cake with Almond Filling

This bridal cake was a wonderful experience.  The anniversary tier and the two bottom tiers were made of lemon cake with raspberry butter cream filling.  The tall middle tier was almond cake with almond butter cream filling.

Here are a few more pictures for your viewing pleasure!  I will post more later when I'm feeling more coherent:).

Can't take credit for this adorable topper...made entirely out of paper!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Free Form Poetry (just to tell you I'm a little busy at the moment)

I am making a wedding cake.

It's really big.

It's absolutely gorgeous.

It's completely delicious.

It's a lot of work.

See, I can prove it:

A LOT of cake

Friday, May 6, 2011

Butter, Butter, Butter: BETTER!

Well, what HAVE you been doing while I've been away the past week or two?  I know...I know...crying yourself to sleep because there hasn't been a Cake Lore post. 

Well, cry no more! 

I'm covered in a fresh coat of butter cream icing and I'm feeling the excitement of this month's wedding cake extravaganza!  We're talking four tiers of towering tastiness - lemon, raspberry, almond - I bet you wish you knew where this cake was going so you could crash it and have a slice:).

As I was laboring over my first of many batches of butter cream today, I was reminded, yet again, why it is the Queen Mother of all icings.  Fondant is gorgeous if done correctly, but it's not everyone's favorite texture or taste. 

Then there's the ever-present "butter cream substitute" which is just a bunch of crisco and powdered sugar beaten in to a fluffy mess - a mess which, in my opinion, never ever gets as smooth as real butter cream and tastes nothing like the real thing. 

Real Butter Cream...and my cake bible, Sweet Celebrations by Sylvia Weinstock

I think I've reached a turning point.  As much as I appreciate and love my friends at Wilton, I have to take an official stand on this one.  Crisco icing is gross.  Buttery butter cream is AMAZING.  It's like dressing a cake in a silk ball gown.  Smooth, satisfying, delicious butter cream...I just can't go back to that other stuff. 

I'm trying to carve out a niche for myself.  Here it is:  REAL icing. 

The bride who ordered this month's wedding cake was at my brother in law's wedding last September.  That was the famous lily cake you see displayed so proudly in the banner of this blog.  She said she'd never seen wedding guests go back for seconds of a cake and it was some of the best she'd ever had.

And that almost made ME cry.  What a lovely thing to say!  I confess being so tired I hadn't noticed people going back.  Cake is an exhausting business. 

So that's what I'm striving for...something different than the white stuff that passes for icing in most bakeries.  I want people to know my cakes by the flavor - and the flavor is BUTTER.