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Rachel’s cakes is growing up! You may be wondering what that means… We have a lot of changes going on, all for the better. My business has developed over the years into more than just cakes. I do classes, parties, cupcakes, cookies and cake jars!! My skills have increased dramatically and I see myself as an overall confectionary artist more than just a cake decorator. I am currently enrolled in a Master mind business

class because believe it or not I don't know as much about running a business as I should...I started this business with the idea of baking and decorating fun cakes! But there is a lot more that goes into it than that...there is ALOT of correspondence with clients, invoicing, expenses, planning, marketing, branding, website updating, social media. Paperwork that I dread!! I'm sure that a lot of you can relate to that. I'm learning every day and one thing that I've realized is that my name & logo don't really represent this business as best as I could. So I have been having a lot of fun figuring out a new name & logo for Rachel’s cakes! I hope you are all excited to follow along and take this journey with me!

So another fun project that I have been working on are my Cake Tasting Boxes!! I am so in love with these, they are exactly what I wanted and are a perfect presentation for my cake jars. The idea came to me to provide cake jars for specific people who wanted to do a cake tasting (for weddings or large cake orders). However, Ive discovered that these boxes also make great birthday and thank you gifts, hostess gifts, or for anyone who really just wants to try a variety of flavors. In order to provide a more personalized experience I am packaging 6 flavors of cake jars into a beautiful box, it will include tasting spoons and a few of my most popular flavors. The flavors will vary, but in the future I will be providing seasonal tasting boxes and maybe even subscription boxes. These boxes are now open to preorder for the end of February, early March availability. I am so excited for these and I hope you love them as much as I do!!

You may have noticed I have started adding cake decorating classes to my events. I discovered while doing cake decorating parties that i really enjoyed teaching the kids to decorate, and I loved seeing how each of their cakes turned out.  I am working with a few local businesses to set up classes in their venues. I plan on doing 2 each month and I am coming up with more and more ideas. My first 2 classes are this week in St. James & Northport, featuring a fun Valentines day drip cake. I have gotten some feedback from my customers about other classes that would interest them, such as flower cupcake bouquets, ice cream cone drip cakes, and geode cookies! I have some fun ideas for kids clases (like a spaghetti and meatball cake!) as well so keep checking back with us for the schedule.

I will also will be speaking at Women's Power Brunch in April for High school students. When I first was approached about this I wondered if my story, my business was good enough for this...however after talking it through I realized I do have a story. I may not have taken the typical path or the most direct one but my path & my choices have led me here. And more than anything I want my children and other teenagers out there to follow their passions and pursue their dreams. You can do something you love and enjoy & make money doing it! You don't have to settle for a life that is just mediocre. It is not easy, it takes a lot of work and time and investing your whole self into it, but it is soooo worth it. 

Another exciting thing happening in my life is that I interviewed for a Confectionary Wars TV show! I am super excited and scared to death to do something like this, but I had to take a chance and at least try. I want to challenge my skills and artistic ability and this is probably the most extreme way to do it! I won’t know if I'm cast on the show for at least a few more weeks but send me your positive vibes and lets hope. Either way it was an achievement for me to interview with them!

As you can see I am in a highly motivated state over here!! I want to share my energy, I attribute that to a passion for what I have created and am creating. I want people to see that you can do this. I have also been reading (and by read I mean listened to on AUDIBLE, becasue really who has that much time to read these days!) ALOT!!   I highly reccomend these books for overall self growth & personal development and motivation. They are- “Atomic Habits” by James Clear, “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero, “The 5 Second Rule”, by Mel Robbins, and “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek. These have all helped me tremendously in getting more focused with my business and personal life.

If you enjoyed this blog please comment below!! Let me know what you are interested in, any fun class or cake ideas that you would like to see??

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Happy New Year everyone! I figured since it's the start of the new year we will start off with the basics. Many bakers assume that their customers know how to place an order for a cake. Seems easy right?? Well I have learned that's not the case, you all have a lot of questions, and I'd love to help answer them. So here we go!

How do I place a cake order? How much will it cost?

Many of my inquiries for cake orders start out like this-

Customer- "Hey, I need a train themed cake for my kids 3rd birthday, how much will that cost?"

It is impossible for me to give a price with such little information. One of the most important things I need to know is how much cake does the client need? How many people do they want to serve? Often I'm sent a picture of a 3 tier cake when the customer only needs to serve 30pp. Those 3 tier cakes are beautiful and show stopping and can often be redesigned to a smaller size, however most people don't want to pay for 30 servings of extra cake.

If price is not a factor and you just want a show stopping cake I can always make that for you as well! Another trick (so that you aren’t leftover with a ton of cake) is to use a dummy cake as one of the tiers. A dummy cake is a piece of styrofoam shaped like a cake tier. For example, say you want that 3 tier cake but you only need to serve 30pp, we can recreate the largest bottom tier out of a “dummy” tier. This dummy cake is decorated exactly the same, you just don't need to cut that tier. 

Another helpful piece of information is the design or theme of the cake. I am often sent pictures of cakes that the client likes, which is very helpful. Often I will take those ideas and come up with something a unique design that incorporates everything that you (the client ) likes. Many times I'm sent a picture of a cake that the client wants me to replicate exactly.  If you are not sure what you want that is fine too, I can work with you to come up with the exact custom design you want to wow your guest at your event. 

*After receiving all of the above relevant information I can give you a price quote!!

When sending an inquiry I will also need to know the date of your event/party. Certain times of the year get booked up very quickly and I have to make sure I can accommodate your order. This is why I always recommend contacting me as soon as you know the date of your party. Two months advance notice is usually a safe bet, however I do sometimes have last minute availability also so it never hurts to ask.

“So what happens now, how do we place the order?”

After our initial contact and you decide you would like to place your order with me, I first will send you an invoice to collect a deposit. The deposit is usually 100$ or half of the price of your cake order whichever is greater. The invoice will include any relevant information that pertains to the cake order as we discussed (by phone, email, or Facebook messages). After the invoice is sent and I have received your deposit, I will work on and send you a sketch of the design (if needed) and I can order any special materials I may need for your order. I like to have all details for the cake order (such as filling, flavors, exact colors, delivery, etc..) 3 weeks in advance of the party date. I am always available to answer any questions related to the cake by email or phone throughout the process. The balance of the cake is due 1 week prior to the party/event. 

Do you deliver?

Yes I do deliver! I deliver for free to my local area of Smithown, St. James, and Nesconset. Anything outside of that area has a fee. Delivery fees are based on mileage with a minimum of 30$.

What if I want to pick up my cake?

Many of my customers do pick up their cake orders. I make the cakes structurally sound so they can be delivered safely. They are boxed in sturdy cake boxes.

You must understand that I am not responsible for the cake once it is picked up. I will advise you if I think its better for me to deliver the cake. 

Single tiers, even smaller 2 tier cakes, cupcakes, cake jars are more easily transported. 3 tier cakes are a little more tricky. You need a flat even surface, where the cake will not be able to move around or slide in the car. You need to drive carefully! No sharp turns or short stops ( trust me, I learned this the hard way!)  

*one trick I learned and now do every time I deliver my cakes, is to line the trunk with shelf liner. The rubbery, tacky kind. This way when I put the large cake box back there it doesn't slide around on the carpet. It works perfectly!!

I hope this information was helpful!! Please comment or reply with any other questions you may have and I will respond with another post soon.

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One question I am frequently asked is how I got started doing what I do. So I decided this would be a great topic for my first blog post!

My journey into the cake decorating business officially started when my daughter (who is now 19!) was diagnosed with a peanut, tree nut, and egg allergy at 3 years old...however, to give you a bit more history, I always loved to bake and eat baked goods!! (maybe that was my motivation for baking)

I also was a bit of an artist all through out my childhood and even into college. I really liked drawing and painting and anything hands on where I could be creative. After high school I went to a local community college and earned my AA degree in Fine Arts. During that time I also become a young mom to my oldest daughter (who will be 22 soon!) and before I graduated I also had my second daughter. Against my better nature, (but probably to my parents delight) I decided to be practical and get BA in psychology. By the time I graduated from Stonybrook University I had 3 children (my son who is 13 now). It took me a bit longer than the average person, but my goal was to graduate by the time I was 30 and I did it. By then I was also in full time mom mode and didn't use my degree as planned!!

Throughout that time and before we had officially discovered my daughters allergy, my younger sister had started making my children special birthday cakes... you know with the wilton shaped cake pans and star tip designs, they were really cute!! I didn't think that I would EVER have time time to do that as a mom to 3 young kids. However once we discovered the allergies to eggs and nuts, we realized it was nearly impossible to find a cute kids cake from a bakery. Cake decorating was not as big as it is now, and there weren't a lot of local bakers attempting this either. Through trial and error and a lot of google searches I discovered a couple of eggless cake recipes and I attempted decorating my own cakes for my daughter. I also started with the wilton pans and simple designs laid out on the pictures. I started doing some cakes and cupcakes for other family members as well.

At that time I started to think, wouldn't it be amazing if I could learn how to do this well, and get paid for it!! I realized I had a lot to learn but I did have some skills and if I started to keep my eye out for jobs at bakeries. The stars seemed to align for me and a cake decorating position became available at a local bakery near me, I showed them some pictures of the cakes I had made and I was hired!!

I started out at the bakery basically outlining pictures and filling them in with colored icing. I practiced writing on cakes, I learned how to make buttercream roses and eventually learned how to cover cakes with fondant as well. Working in a bakery was a great learning experience for me and probably one of the most fun jobs I've had!!

During the time I worked at the bakery I also was making cakes for friends and family and built up a business based on a lot of personal recommendations, and facebook posts and pictures! It was amazing how it grew. If someone wanted a cake from me, and I wasn't sure how to do a technique used, I said yes anyway... and I figured it out! There is a ton of information and classes and you tube videos where you can learn almost anything and do it well if you practice.

Eventually my business grew to the point where I decided it would be best if I quit the bakery, I also struggled with being able to be home for my children and driving them to there activities while working... being on my own I would be able to create my own hours around my families needs.

My business has been continually growing, which is amazing but is not always easy! I am still a mom, a wife, I have a home to manage and I have been running this alone for all this time!! The idea I had to create a cake business that could serve children with allergies is much more difficult as I have become busier and with so much variety in my orders I don't have a completely nut free kitchen. In growing, I also decided to become licensed and insured over 3 years ago, which means more expenses. Im not complaining I love what I do and I enjoy that challenges that come along with this most of the time.

As I said before, 10 years ago, wouldn't it be amazing if I could make custom cakes for people and get paid for it... and now I am! Its pretty amazing, and just goes to show if you really want something and work hard for it you can do it! I am still looking for ways to always learn and grow and expand my business. I hope to share that with you all here on my blog!

One of my cakes when I first started baking for my daughter. This used a Wilton castle shaped cake pan. And at that time I also used the store bought frosting that came in a can from the grocery store.

Another cake I made for my son using a Wilton pan, its actually pretty cute!

My first fondant cake EVER!!!

A recent fondant cake I made for an MTV Reality star!

Another one of my more recent fondant cakes, as you can see my bow technique has changed a bit!

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