I started decorating in 2002 - just for fun! It was my son's first birthday and I had an idea what I wanted his birthday cake to look like. I wanted a train cake! And not just any train cake... I wanted it made with bright colors, a coal car filled with candy gumdrops, a smokestack, and NOT A PICTURE DRAWN ON A SHEET CAKE! I pictured it a 3D cake, but where-oh-where would I find a bakery to make this for me??
I called around (Wal-Mart, Giant Eagle, etc.) to see if they would be able to bake and deocrate my vision... but no one did cakes like I was describing! I decided to try it myself. I went to the local grocery store and bought several frozen Sara Lee pound cakes, a bunch of cans of Betty Crocker vanilla frosting and some other "supplies" I thought I would need. I built him a 3D train, complete with a track made with pretzel rods, chocolate covered donut "wheels", a smoke stack (a "Ho-Ho" cake) with cotton candy coming out for smoke, a coal bin car with black gumdrops - it was sloppy and not exactly what I had pictured in my head (LOL) but it sparked an interest!
In 2004 - the year my daughter was born - I took some Wilton Cake Decorating courses at my local Michael's stores. Ah... now I was learning how to do things "neater" and "prettier" - as well as EASIER. I found some of my ways weren't always the "right" way or the "easiest" way to do things. I started learning tricks and techniques I didn't know before and I really started thinking big with my children's birthday cakes. Friends and family started asking me to make cakes for their children... and all of a sudden, I had a small "business" within my group of friends.
I kept it small (maybe 10-12 cakes per year), but things started getting out of control. I began to get phone calls from strangers. These people were friends of friends and most had eaten my cakes at a party somewhere or had been told through the "grapevine" that I did cakes... Since I was quite nervous baking for strangers (I turned most of those orders away) I decided to check into getting licensed. VIOLA! I went through the steps and now am legal to bake and decorate for the general public.
My home kitchen just became way to small and I kept telling my husband that I wished I had a separate baking space. On the weekends where I had 4-5 orders, I about went crazy finding the space to do it all and store it. A local bakery closed down in Indiana and a friend messaged me that they were selling all their equipment. My husband and I contacted the owners and we were able to buy a set of double-wall ovens, a range, a triple bowl sink, two matching refrigerators and a proof rack. We stored it all in our basement and garage (I had a strange "appliance fetish" going on there for a bit....) until we finished the bakery. My husband converted the 3rd bay of our garage into a complete commercial bakery/kitchen for me. My inspector came and signed off on my new space in May of 2015 - and ... my new adventure began!! It turned out beautiful and I get so many compliments from customers on my baking space when they stop for their goodies. I get so many customers tell me it's nice to see their cakes come from a CLEAN, well-kept bakery!! (Think about that for a minute....)
There you go - my business history - in a few short paragraphs!
I have a wonderful husband (we've been married 21+ years so far) and one energetic, "almost" 14-year old daughter and a teenage son (who is driving!!!) My daughter LOVES baking with me, and I'm hoping the interest sticks so that I have a skilled helper/assistant when she gets a bit older.
Currently, I do all the cakes myself. The business has grown pretty fast and I'm entertaining the idea of finding someone to help me out, but that is just a dream and may never come to be :o) Sometimes I like being small - not every weekend has a cake order! Sometimes I dream of expanding my business! My mood shifts with the day and what projects I have lined up for the week. I also like having a business where I can pick and choose the weekends and projects that interest me. I can stay busy if I want to or schedule a whole week off to be with my family. That being said:
I devote as much time as possible to each and every item that leaves my kitchen, so on those busy weekends with children's activities, or family plans, I will only book what I know I can handle comfortably - or choose not to take any bookings at all (GASP!! not take ANY orders???... yep!). Sometimes my schedule is considered "full" because I have seven cakes already on my calendar for that week. Sometimes it is "full" with only one birthday cake order. The time is in the details, so even the smallest cake may actually be a HUGE time-consuming project. So, my best advice is to get your orders in early to ensure you are on my calendar. I do try and accommodate customers with last minute orders, but a few weeks notice is strongly recommended.
Thanks for viewing my page and I hope to bake & create for you sometime in the future!
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