Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Te Amo!

Anyone who follows this blog regularly knows that when I am silent for a few days, it's because I have a consuming project (or five) to work on.

I've been going back and forth in my mind over the past few weeks about what I thought was an overwhelming schedule for this summer.  Many factors combined to lead me to the place where I was overwhelmed at the stack of orders I had for the wedding season, and my sanity demanded that I stop shopping for new orders.  I even turned down an order:(. 

I really just thought I had too much to do already, and couldn't do it justice.  One thing I never want is a sub-par cake with a Bake Lore card in front of it. 

But here I am, halfway through what I thought was a crazy-busy season, and I find I am handling it all just fine.  In fact, I kind of wish I had a few more orders. 

Live and learn.  That's what this whole process is about. 

In the meantime, I am happily working away on a gum paste topper for a bridal shower cake.  I'm giving you a sneak peak's going to be great!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

You Quit When You're Done

I have a singular goal for Bake Lore this summer: finish the business plan.

I have no intention of pursuing investors at the moment.  I'm doing this so I know where I'm going.

So far, I'm sitting pretty with my one-woman, one-kitchen show - I want that storefront, but I want it when I'm ready for it. 

I got some good news from the health department this weekend, indicating I have crossed yet another hurdle to official business-hood.  It's all falling in place.  Dare I dream that Bake Lore might finally be ready to make it official?

So I guess the long-term list looks a little something like this:

1. Finish business plan.
2. Purchase insurance - shout out to our local Richard Brown company here in Linton.  They actually insure start-up bakeries, and they are very affordable.  Got a great quote from them.
3. Register with local, state, federal agencies.
4. Advertise...a lot.
5. Join some bridal societies and take up beautiful booth space at bridal shows.
6. Fill up Summer 2013 calendar.
7. Get paid!

My passion for this business has waxed and wanned over the past few years.  I've really contemplated giving it up, calling it a hobby and forgetting the stress and mess of creating an actual business. 

Then I realized - work is work.  Yes, I love cake.  I love to make them beautiful, and I love to see people enjoy my creations.  But I am not doing this for my own amusement or as some sort of sugary philanthropy.  I'm doing it to create a new source of income for my family.

That independence is a huge motivator.  This is work, make no mistake.  I enjoy it - most of the time - but you don't get to quit working when you're tired.  You quit when you're done.  And I ain't done yet. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

"Green, with Percy on it"

"Andrew, what kind of birthday cake would you like this year?"

"I want a green one, with Percy on it."

That was the conversation I had with my now 4-year-old son several times over the past few weeks.  I kept asking, because I expected the answer to change every time.  But no - every time I got the same answer: green, with Percy on it. 

Were you ever four and knew exactly what you wanted? 

Ah, the joy of knowing what you want...and being Batman.
Andrew got two birthday parties this year.  His actual birthday fell on a Wednesday, so we had a small gathering with pizza and a little pile of Saturdays.  He knew his "Green with Percy on it" cake would come a few days later when the family gathered en masse. 

"It's a UTILITY BELT!!!!!"

His response to, "What would you like for your birthday?" has consistently been, "toys."  So we had some wiggle room there, but we really hit it out of the park.  He opened one of the packages and yelled, "It's a utility belt!!" with all the joy and satisfaction of being young and getting what you really wanted for your birthday.  That was a great guess, and I give full credit to my husband for that one. 

Finally, Batman's long wait for his green cake was rewarded:

8" Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Mousse filling, Vanilla Buttercream

I kept it simple this year, and it was just what he wanted.  Nothing's better than giving your child a gift you know they are longing for. What a shadow of a sliver of a taste of what God feels when he satisfies our righteous desires...what a gift to experience even a whiff of that sweetness. 

Percy the train...thank you for being a toy an not making me
craft you out of gum paste at midnight last night:). 

This year we had chocolate cake, filled with chocolate mousse (a la Joy of Cooking...mmmmm) and topped with the signature Bake Lore buttercream. 

This cake may not have topped the style of years past, but it was by far the best-tasting cake I've ever made for my son's birthday.  And yes, I let him have two pieces. 

I love you, dear, sweet boy.  Happy 4th Birthday to you!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Happy Marriage

I supplied the cake for a 50th wedding anniversary party today.  I have known the couple for 15 years, and they are the model of fidelity, godliness and strength we all strive for.  It's good to have role models like that. 

They asked me to make a replica of their original wedding cake.  While the pictures they had on hand were great, they didn't provide a lot of detail for their cake.  So we went with simple and elegant. 

Celebrating 50 years and counting!

The topper is not a Bake Lore original.  The flowers are silk, and yes, those are Wilton pillars separating the tiers.  I usually balk at the pillared look, but this is just simplicity itself.  I love it. 

Actually, this is my first ever cake with pillars.  I've never had an order from anyone who wanted them.  I usually hear someone from Food Network in my head saying something snide like, "Hey, um, the 80's called, and, um, they want their cake back!" 

But I can't help it.  I love the way this turned out.  Honestly, it's a lot easier than sawing dowels to just the right height for stacked cakes.  These hidden pillars are pre cut and ready to go - plus they are super stable.  Gotta love it. 

Close up on the Chocolate Cake
Sometimes, less is more.
This cake was three flavors - Bananarama, Chocolate and Buttery Yellow.  I need to think up a better name for my chocolate cake...any ideas?  I love good ideas:).  It's iced entirely with Bake Lore vanilla butter cream and topped with some silk flowers. 

Bananarama Cake and Vanilla Buttercream
Just perfect. 

Congrats to Pat and Gary.  God bless you and THANK YOU for your wonderful example of leadership and faithfulness in our church and in our community. 

When I grow up.  I wanna be like you:).

Monday, June 4, 2012

Almond Bliss and a Table of Cake

Now that you've seen the Lightly Lemon creations, I'm proud to show you the Almond Bliss cakes that accompanied them on the dessert table. 

And I'd love some feedback on a photography issue I'm having here.  I'm not sure if the first or second picture has better color and lighting.  I tried to adjust things in the second shot down yonder, and I'm just not sure it actually improved things.  What do you all think?

4" and 8" Almond Bliss Cake, Almond and Vanilla Buttercream
Gumpaste toppers

Better? Worse? I don't like it as well as the other shot.
 Next up we have the large peony cake.  What a great, simple topper this makes for a bridal look.  Really, the great thing about all these cakes is that they are versatile, and you could easily bring them into any celebration as an eye-catching centerpiece.

6" and *" Almond Bliss Cake, Almond and Vanilla Buttercream
Gumpaste topper

And now...DRUMROLLLLLL Please! 

The final product: a bridal cake table I am very proud of, mostly because of the priceless Ooooo's and Ahhhh's I heard from the bride and her attendants as they looked over my shoulder.

Wedding One is in the books!  I'll be starting in on another big project soon, but for now, I will sit back and enjoy the marzipan fruits of my labor. 

Later, cake lovers!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Lightly Lemon

Now that you've seen the individual toppers, I'm going to show you the finished cakes!

Today, you get to see the Lightly Lemon cakes, and tomorrow, the final reveal of the Almond Bliss and the combined cake table at the reception. 

Lightly Lemon is a big fan favorite, especially with brides.  It's always included on a tasting platter, and a lot of times, even citrus haters say yes to the cake!

8" Lightly Lemon Cake, Vanilla Buttercream
Marzipan and gum paste topper
I LOVE the peach.  I want to eat that peach - and I could!  But it would taste like marzipan instead of peaches:).

And now, the prettiest, frilliest pink ribbon confection you'll ever see! 

6" and 8" Lightly Lemon Cake, Vanilla Buttercream

Ribbons!  And more...RIBBONS!

Oooo...don't get too fancy with that camera, Amy. 
This second cake was also a blast to decorate.  Here's a little before shot...

I got a little uneven in a couple places, but when your hand is cramping up, you do the best you can.  With the whole thing covered in the same texture, it was a combined effect.  I think the imperfections aren't noticable, and they let you know that someone took the time to work on every single row.

So that's it for the first flavor!  Tune in Monday to catch a look at the other two cakes and see the finished table at the wedding. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012


New flowers!

I've been sitting on these, figuratively speaking, for a week or two, dying to show them to you, but not wanting to spoil anything for my bride. 

The only thing better than a real peony is a peony you could potentially eat! 

I'm in love with the petal cutters I ordered from Sugar Craft.  They worked like a dream, and as you can see, they definitely do the job. 

These flowers are topping four individual cakes, which I will reveal soon.  This was a fun, creative project, and I'm so grateful for the tasteful, artistic eye of my bride who selected these for her big day. 

My personal favorite of this bunch is really the peach with it's little blossoms.

The peach is marzipan.  I used a little vodka and gel food color to get the classic peachy hues going.  And then I used petal dust for the actual blooms.  The "bark" is a whole lotta white floral wire painted brown, again with a little booze and gel food color.  (What can't you do with that combination??)

Last but not least, the smaller peony with it's little blossom buddies.

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peak at my floral cakes for this week.  It's been a joy to work on all of these.  All the best to the happy bride and groom!!