Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cookie Nostalgia

I got a little nostalgic today, and started looking back over all my old Bake Lore posts.  I've had a lot of fun playing with my food - and today, I just have to revisit the cookies I've made. 

Some were gifts - when you have a lot of cousins, it becomes necessary to find a less expensive Christmas option, such as, their giant initials in flour, sugar and butter:). 

For the girls...
For the boys...

And it wasn't too long ago that I was covered in royal icing to make the world's cutest baby shower cookies. 
Ohhh!  My biological clock just went off again:). 
I mean, cute!  What a great idea for a baby shower.  I mean, you need as much to munch on as possible at a baby shower, so why not throw in a tray of cookies to go with your awesome cake. 

And here is the awesome cake they went with! 

Monday, May 28, 2012


 Last summer, while making a cake I like to call the Colossus of Gant, for my good friends Scott and Krista (aka Mr. and Mrs. Gant), I realized I had an opportunity.

It takes hours and hours, days and sometimes even weeks to make a wedding cake.  I'm sure I could speed things up if I weren't baking and decorating from the same kitchen that has to produce meals for my family, but that's the only option right now.  So it takes a while.

The Colossus of Gant!
During that time, I am sifting flour with baking powder, beating molted sugar into a whipped frenzy and rolling out gum paste petals en masse.  It's not mentally taxing work.  It's important to pay attention, but the mind wanders...and the mind wanders to the couple who will cut this momentarily beautiful cake and embark upon the marriage journey hand in hand. 

That is a scary and wonderful thing.  That is a prayerful and powerful opportunity.

I feel compelled to pray for the couple receiving my labor.  I have to, because it is so important - for me, so that I don't loose sight of the joy of my work, and for them, because marriages need to be buttressed by the love and support of us all.

I've chosen to participate in the birth of a marriage.  Even if I am a hired hand and not a close friend, I feel the weight of that new, precious thing too, and it deserves nothing less than to enter its first year protected by prayer, saturated in it. 

To my brides this summer, I want you to know that you hired me to do a job, and I will do it with skill and professionalism. 

I will also do it with a celebration of prayer over you, your husband and your marriage. 

Love to you all!  And God bless you!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

My Creepy Hobby

"So, Amy, what did you do this weekend?"

"Oh, nothing much...the usual.  I stayed home and made tiny figurines of my friends out of sugar."

*cricket chirping*

"Riiiight, well I gotta go..."

Seems to me that this love I have of making stuff out of edible clay can be a little creepy sometimes.  I was thinking that while trying to gauge whether or not I had made a convincing bust line on the sugar image of one of my awesomest friends.

I actually asked myself "do those look like Friend X's boobs?"

At this point, I instinctively smacked my forehead with my palm and wondered why I started down this disturbing path of hobby turned business. 

No, really, this is a legitimate cake order.  Another super, stalwart gal-pal called me up and asked me to make this bridal-shower confection, and I instantly saw my friend and her husband-to-be as little gum paste figures, looking adoringly at each other through their fake, sugar eyes.  It had to be done.

I found a pretty great set of tutorials for clay on eHow to get me started.  I thought I'd show you a little of what I'm learning and putting into practice.  I'm going for more of a cartoon feel to these figures, so no chiseled abs on my models.  Just arms legs and faces thanks:). 

(Added bonus of this video: genuine Italian accent makes all instructions easier to follow.)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

One Gumpaste Brick at a Time...

I used to have a blogging mantra plastered across my desktop.  It had tons of great advice about getting off your butt...or rather on your butt...and getting the posts out even when you don't feel like it.

But lately, I've been ignoring all that great wisdom.

Instead of obsessing over the unique visits Bake Lore has been getting, I've started pursuing my own health with a vengeance.  That has meant a conscious choice on my part to let most of the outlying areas of my life just not matter for a while. 

I started training for a 5K *eek!*  I started calorie counting. I gave up coffee - was totally caffeine free for 10 weeks, and now I'm actually enjoying my favorite beverage without being enslaved to it - awesome.  And I started drinking TONS of water.  Every day, without fail, nearly a gallon of the stuff has been going down the hatch. 

All that water has really helped clear my head.  I'm about to change the world, yet again.

Nobody said I'd have smooth sailing from concept to store front.  Heck, I don't know if I'll EVER get to the storefront.  I've had to stop and reevaluate a lot in this process, and it's happened again.

I have this little thing I like to call a career.  It's interesting, totally cooler than yours and it has nothing to do with cake.  ;)

The challenge for me is how to keep that so-called career slumping forward, while simultaneously continuing my hobby/passion/love/obsession/business of creating the most amazing cake in the universe.  It's a challenge.  It's a little overwhelming when I let myself ponder it.
But, what do you do when you're overwhelmed?  You divide and conquer.   You make lists, and you do one thing at a time.  This cake shop is no different.

If you'll recall, I was trying to marked nine million products at one time - everything from bread to cake pops.  But reality reminds me FREQUENTLY that the two of us just don't communicate all that well. I was doing too much, and I was starting to hate it. 

Kind of like choking on chocolate - it seemed like an awesome idea to take such an enormous bite.  It tasted great at the start, but now, even in your oxygen-deprived state, you realize - it was TOO MUCH!

That's when I gave my business the Heimlich and pared things down to just cake.

Now, even my more conservative approach is getting out of hand.  It's time to get real and make some changes.

Bake Lore will still be baking.  I'll still be doing weddings and showers and anniversaries.  But the official business plan is going to focus on the sugar work - the flowers, the characters, the pretty little decorations.

I'm going to try to market not just to individuals, but to bakeries themselves - the places that do the health code stuff so I don't have to, and need a little boost to their biz.

I'm going to try to get a good arsenal of flowers stocked up, then start an online shop here at Bake Lore, where people can buy my flowers and toppers and order custom work.

We're going to get that well in hand first - build it up - then we'll move on.  Who knows, maybe by the time I retire from whatever it is I do during the day, I'll have a cake empire to fall back on - but every empire has to be built one brick at a time. 

So here's to the first brick - the first REAL brick - the gum paste brick:). 

Thoughts?  Questions?  Comments?  Snide remarks?  I'm all ears.

Friday, May 4, 2012


I'm not gonna lie.  Life has been brutal lately!  The husband just finished up his semester at school - kudos to him for being super smart and getting amazing grades! - and I have been oh-so-busy with the day job and the house (which has not sold, so we'll be Lintonians for the forseeable future) and the kiddo...whew! 

I've actually had the disheartening task of turning away cake orders.  I had to say no to a bridal tasting, which was very disappointing.  But honestly, if I can't pull of a cake I'm proud of, then I can't say yes to it.  I knew I was already booked to capacity for the summer, so I did the prudent if not profitable thing and said no. 


But, I do have good news for the cyber cricket who follows my blog even when I don't post.  The news is this:  THREE weddings, ONE big fat bridal shower and ONE enormous 50th anniversary cake...are all coming your way this summer. 

That means I will be posting more often, and it will be starting soon.  Tomorrow I'm getting started on some gorgeous peonies for one of my June brides, and I'll be sharing my progress with you.  Maybe I'll even post a video.  Maybe. 

Also, somewhere in there I have to make my son his FOURTH birthday cake.  (*He should not be that old.*)  And who knows what I'll pull out of my oven for that one.  One thing's for sure, he's not going to be getting a full-fledged kid party this year.  That is just exhausting, and with this crazy calendar, I am going to be doing well to tell family to come eat cake. 

In case you missed's the progression of Andrew's birthday cakes.  His first year was my first-ever specialty cake...the cake that launched a hobby:).   

First Birthday: Mega Blocks
Second Birthday: Super Why!
Third Birthday: Thomas the Tank Engine

Ok...later cake lovers!  I'm off to cover myself and all available surfaces in my kitchen with sugar and flour.