Monday, October 13, 2008

Can You Keep a Secret?

Many brides surprise their groom’s with a cake, but recently I had a groom reciprocate. Jarrod called me several weeks ago to see if I would help him with a surprise birthday gift. He had asked his new bride, Farrah, what she wanted for her birthday. Her reply was that he make her a cake. Not buy one, make one.

This is where I came in. He called to ask if I would help him bake and finish a birthday cake with her favorite flowers, Stargazer Lilies. I had made them for their wedding cake (as you can see in the photograph from Greg Jansen Photography).

We had fun! For 3 days we baked cake, filled it with mousse, made gumpaste lilies and pretended that Jarrod was at the dentist with a pesky tooth problem. We sat and talked about everything while we worked. Jarrod was great, picked up the technique quickly, and he could honestly say he made her cake, all of it! I simply provided the ingredients and tools, showed him each step of the process and let him go.

Now here’s the part that I would have found the hardest. How did he keep it a secret? I would have let it slip a million times. And the dentist? I would have come up with something far more complicated and never kept it straight. I laughed every morning as we determined it would certainly take another day to fix that tooth.

It was fun for Jarrod, Farrah loved her cake, and I got to be a part of it. I love my job!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I Love That Ace of Cake Guy!

I receive many phone calls from people, mostly young women, who have decided after watching Ace of Cakes that they want to be cake decorators. They ask questions and talk about how fun it seems and how should they go about starting a business. Usually friends and family have told them, “You are great at this, you should do it for a living.”

Unfortunately, I think most of these people see the romance of the idea and celebrity successes.

That is, until I quickly introduce them to the reality.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a great field. I love what I do and wouldn’t do anything else. Okay, to be honest, after 27 years, I don’t think I am employable in any other field. Regardless, baking (whether working for a bakery or owning a bakery), is not a high-paying or glamorous field. You shouldn’t become a professional baker for the money, but rather do it for the passion of doing it.

Here are the facts according to my experience:

You work nights, holidays and weekends since that is when people schedule their celebrations.

Your refrigerator doesn’t ask permission to quit working. It just does. And, at the least convenient moment.

Your friends and family have to buy your cakes to help you make a living.

Equipment is expensive.

Your legs and back will not thank you for those 20 hour days. And, there are more then these kind of days than you would ever dream of.

Burns and knife scars do not make lovely fashion accessories.

Really, trust me on those last two.

I love what I do. I get to play with cake and make people happy. My job is a gift.

It’s just not a one size fits all kind of gift.