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!