According to Julia Child, "A party without a cake is just a meeting." I would have to say that I agree with that statement! When I attend a birthday party or wedding or shower of some sort and there is no cake, it just feels like something is missing. I know, I know...there are those of you who say you really don't like cake and prefer pie or some other dessert, but that only makes me wonder if your cake experience is limited to "store bought" cakes with little flavor, no texture, and sugary, tasteless icing. I do feel sorry for you if that's the only cake you have ever tasted. A good cake is so much more than that!
Wedding cake for Katie and Treye Crotteau
I'm thankful that I had a mother who made each birthday special by baking and icing a birthday cake. In my younger years, the cake was often covered in frothy Seven minute icing, but as I grew a little older, my favorite cake became German Chocolate covered with Coconut pecan icing, drizzled with dark chocolate. I wish I had a picture of one of her cakes....a labor of love. Her cakes were not the picture perfect creations you see now on pinterest or baking blogs, but they were delicious...a little taste of heaven in your mouth.
Peanut butter and chocolate cake for nurse friend at the clinic
When my first son was born, I admit to purchasing his first two birthday cakes from a bakery. Back then, I took a picture of something like a teddy bear or one of the birthday napkins with me and asked the bakery cake decorator to incorporate the theme on the cake. Frankly, the results were pretty pathetic! My mother-in-law encouraged me to learn how to decorate cakes myself so I took a one night class through our local school district extended learning program. With my Wilton cake tips and decorating bags I was good to go...using the "star" tip profusely for many a birthday cake with various themes...dinosaur, cowboy, snake, soccer ball, pirate chest, castle with knights, water slide with little people, cars, put put golf course, basketball, baseball, football, even a broken foot in a cast ...you get the idea. Once in a while, I would do a "pretty" cake for a family member or friend, but "boy" themes ruled my cake decorating. (Sorry, pictures of "boy" cakes are in the archives of the basement!).
Bridal shower cake for Nakayla
One year, a friend of my sister and brother-in-law called and asked if I would do a 25th wedding anniversary cake for them...you know, like a wedding cake with three tiers. I tried to say no, that I had never done anything like that, but she persisted until I said yes. So, with much trepidation, I studied my latest Wilton cake book and took the plunge! (I wish I had a picture of it readily available....I'm sure it's buried in the picture boxes somewhere!) With the help of many pink rosebuds to cover little icing boo boos, the anniversary cake was not a total embarrassment. What I learned was that cake decorating is all about the proper equipment, assembly, and some technique....and that flowers cover a multitude of cake sins!
Bridal Shower cake
Since then, I've done a number of bridal or baby shower, wedding cakes, and birthday cakes for friends and family. I'm nowhere near to being a professional, so I try to stay away from "cake baker for hire" scenarios. I also avoid fondant like the plague...because I don't like the taste or texture of it and haven't worked with it. I know, I know...fondant allows you to make much smoother, detailed, perfect cakes....but it's never been about perfection for me. My cakes are all about taste, first of all, and a little decorating personalized for the recipient. It's been fun to surprise friends and co-workers with a cake...making the day "a party"....not simply a meeting!
Birthday cake for Jill