the "back story" to the "start up" part 2
Welcome back! We ended our last post about the "start up" with cakes coming in on the scene. I always dreamed of big, beautiful cakes but man, did I have a lot to learn. I can honestly say if I were still rolling out cakes, I would still be learning.
My first cake was for Stella's first birthday way back in 2009. She was turning one.
Her nursery had a mobile of birds hanging over her crib. She would talk to those birds every morning. It was the sweetest thing ever. So, of course I thought I could make this incredible bird house cake for her first birthday. Please don't laugh. I had my fondant cutters and food coloring all ready. The assembly was much harder than expected and getting that icing smooth was a little tricky, but she didn't seem to care. It was the first to many, many cakes.
Apart from learning about the actual cake, I had many opportunities to hand mold things from my fondant that I was getting pretty good at making on a weekly basis. The kitchen was a mess of powdered sugar and icing, but I was starting to feel like a real small business owner.
This "tea party" theme set is still one of my favorite cakes of all time. I was so exited about the details and loved how it all turned out. I am still shocked that so many people had enough trust in me to create something for their celebrations.
I began to get asked to do lots of different designs. I started watching YouTube videos and paid for a fews small classes that taught basic cake "tips and tricks". I even got in touch with a lady from across the world who made amazing cakes. I would find myself emailing her about all kinds of things. She would respond within a day or two and offered so much help and guidance. I even printed out her emails and saved them for years, using them as a guide so i wouldn't ask the same thing over and over again. I remember thinking to myself, if I ever get "really good", i can't wait to help someone else one day like she helped me. She made amazing cakes, and I never climbed to her level, but I realized after a few years, that was ok. I didn't have to become a superstar. I was doing my best and learning so much.
I learned to make simple syrup and trim the tops off of cakes to level them out. I learned how to lock in moisture and had fun learning new designs when piping my icing. I learned how heavy a homemade cake can be when there are multiple layers. I remember wanting to make sure the cake made it safely to its new home once the customer came to pick up their order. I had a few scary calls but for the most part, no wrecks or serious catastrophes. I learned what "filling" the cake meant. I even branched out and made a few different flavors, with my favorite being lemon with raspberry filling with buttercream icing. Everything I made was from scratch. After knowing what I needed for most cakes, I realized Michaels and Hobby Lobby did not supply everything!!! I found a small baking shop about 20 minutes from home, but it soon closed and I was so sad. After that, I began searching online and found what I needed from different sites that were well known in the baking community.
I have never been so thankful for this space in our kitchen before I started doing cakes. It took so much space to have everything out and ready.
With every order, I felt like I learned something new.
Fast forward several years. Sawyer was getting bigger and Stella was becoming more involved in activities outside of the home, such as dance, sports etc. I remember feeding Sawyer in between batches of fondant and cake design while my Mom would come help watch the kids. It was becoming a lot to juggle. I hated to say no to anyone because I took so much joy in creating something for each person. The best part was building relationships with so many new people. It was my favorite part., and still is today.
Cakes were on the scene for several years, but unfortunately life happened and I had to let go of what was taking up most of my time: cakes. I added Cake pops slowly, and to be honest I had to dig into the archives to find my first pops. They were from 2009, but they didn't become the main menu item for quite some time.
To be continued... and I promise there's only one more part to this "start-up" story!
(to see more of my cake days, I have a ton of pictures over on my Sweet Stella Treats facebook page)
Thanks for following along!