In the midst of going crazy, planning the perfect first birthday party for my middle child I discovered what I’d like to think of as one of my best-hidden talents “Cake Decorating”. Although it was more like cupcake decorating, none the less this is where it all started. My husband and I had been planning for months, and to save a little money I decided to make my own treats. I researched online and found so many fun videos on YouTube. We decided on a Sesame Street theme and found something do able for me. They were Cookie Monster cupcakes with long blue buttercream hair, big white candy melt eyes and chocolate chip cookies stuffing their mouths, they were the cutest cupcakes Ever! I received so many compliments from friends and family who attended the party. They were a hit for sure.
I began taking a cake decorating classes at the local Michaels hobby store a few miles ago from my house several months after. $30 dollars and a decorating caddy later, I was ready to go. To be honest, the things I learned in class have been nothing I’ve ever had to use. They were super outdated techniques, they remind me of the 80’s cakes I’ve seen in my mother’s old photo albums. It was a class of about 12, taught by an older lady who did more story telling than anything else. It was only for a couple hours a week in the afternoons. My best friend and her little sister joined me, which made things a little more fun. At the start of each course you were given a list of all the tools and ingredients you need to purchase and bring to class with you. Each week our instructor had us practice several different style flowers and we would be tested on them the following week. Roses were the hardest for me. We had to pipe them on a stem and I remember mine kept falling off, much harder than it actually looks. For our certificate completion, we each made a buttercream basket weaved cake and topped it off with all the flowers we had made throughout the time of the course. I was so excited to get home and show my husband the end result. I successfully drove it all the way home but as soon as I set it on the counter and opened the cake caddy I noticed the entire back of my cake had slipped right off. I was just glad it happened at home and not into of the class. I went on to complete one more certificate before calling it quits at Michaels.
YouTube was my best teacher in my cake business journey, their videos are endless. Anything and everything you need to know about cakes can be found on YouTube. My first few cakes were a lot of trial and error. My favorite YouTuber is Yolanda Gampp from “How to Cake It”, she’s awesome! She specializes in novelty cakes that look like actual foods, like hamburgers and fries to a huge pot of spaghetti. I had a book theme order earlier this year for my nephew’s baby shower and followed a tutorial of hers. She’s so good at what she does, she makes it look easy and always comes out perfect. I was able to follow along without any confusions; my final result wasn’t as sharp as hers but I don’t think I did too bad.
I began making a business out of my cakes in summer of 2014. The busiest and craziest season for bakers. Climate has been one of my worst enemies. I’ve had cakes melt, decorations sweat off, a bakers’ worst nightmare. I had an order for 350 people once. It was a huge three tire cake for a sweet sixteen celebration. It took me about 3 days to complete the entire thing, from baking all different flavors, icing, stacking and decorating. I lived in Hemet, CA. at the time and had to deliver it to Los Angeles. My kids were with their grandparents for the weekend and my husband was called into work earlier that morning. After finally completing it, I was home alone crunched for time and no one to help me get it to the car. It was a monster cake, easily weighed over 50 pounds. I’m not sure how I did it but I was able to get it in the trunk of my car, stopping every so often to make sure it was still in tacked as the ride was over an hour and a half long. I was about 30 minutes from my destination when I pulled over to check it out when I noticed the middle tier had slid over from all the stop and go traffic and the heat from the trunk. When I finally arrived, it looked awful. It was the sloppiest mess I’ve ever seen, I felt horrible. There was nothing I could do to fix it and their party had already started. My client was a good sport about it, I apologized and offered to take half off. He paid the full amount and tipped me on top. I swore that day I would never bake another cake again. This past month marks 3 years since I started my little baking business and although it’s been rough learning the ins and outs it’s been a great accomplishment.
Through the years I’ve definitely noticed an improvement in my work. I look back at pictures of when I first started, my work was sloppy. To say the least. I still have more learning to do, this is the good thing about this field. There’s always a new style and new techniques to learn to improve your work. I’m not sure how much longer I’ll continue to bake for a living but I can say it’s been a pleasure working from home and being able to share that time with my children. I’ve been able to financially provide for them while still playing a stay at home mommy.