Just a quick check in to share my latest cake! Isn’t she pretty? :)
Excuse me for just a second while I grab a box of Kleenex. It’s been on of those days where I can’t turn the waterworks off. You could maybe blame it on the pregnancy… it’s certainly not abnormal for me to cry at the drop of a hat these days, but today something extra heavy is on my heart. Today I handed off a cake to a family to take to their sweet little girl’s memorial service.
I was recently contacted by a recruiter at Icing Smiles Inc. asking if I would be interested in becoming one of their “Sugar Angels”. I had never even heard of Icing Smiles, but immediately dug into their website and was so impressed with what I saw. A non profit organization that partners with bakers across the country in order to provide free cakes to critically ill children and their siblings. I always love blessing friends and family with cake and cupcakes, especially in times of need, but I never thought I’d be able to use my caking abilities to bless my community in a larger sense. I was sold.
A couple weeks after signing on, I received my first “Call to Action”, as they call them. It was a request for a “zebra and pink princess cake with a ninja turtle tier” for little Emma’s memorial service. Sweet Emma was a fighter, but passed away when she was about a month old. This weekend her family celebrates her life on what would have been her first birthday. Her momma requested I include a ninja turtle layer in the cake as well, I believe for Emma’s big brother to enjoy.
Since the family asked me to pick the flavors for them, I wanted to give them something telling them what each tier is for reference. Normal people would have written it on the box. I’m not normal people. I’m the kind of person that takes 2 hours to design a custom cake menu… and it was too precious not to share.
So, yes, a very emotion filled weekend but I truly do feel so honored to be able to bless the family in this way. I hope the cake brings them some joy! And if you know of anyone you feel may be eligible for an Icing Smiles cake, please check out their website here!
Yep… the blog as officially taken a back seat. More accurately, the trunk behind the back seat… because it’s pretty well fallen off my radar. I’ve been so busy chasing my little guy (who is two in less than a month!!), growing this lil’ babe, putting together a big boy room, putting together a nursery, planning birthday parties, planning vacations, playing with my little Etsy shop (Land of Mae!)… and you know, little things like laundry, dishes, meal planning and the sort. OOF! I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way, but yes… I have not posted in a long time :) So I thought maybe I should just check in, say hey, let you know we are still around and maybe post a couple pictures of recent orders.
As I said before, I’ve slowed down on my cake orders to focus on some other aspects of life right now, but I have a lot of stuff coming up I’m super excited about! I’ve recently volunteered with Icing Smiles, an incredible organization that organizes bakers to provide free cakes to critically ill children and their siblings. I actually have my first Icing Smiles cake this weekend, so be on the look out for that. I can’t believe I had never heard of their organization before, especially being in the business I am! So if you know of someone who may be eligible, check out their website for more information! They are nationwide! http://icingsmiles.org/
Have a wonderful Tuesday!
Oh dear… it’s been over a month since I posted last. Sorry about that! I have a pretty good reason, I promise!
About two month ago I started NEEEEDING a nap every day. I lived for my son’s nap times so I could nap too. Then came a strong aversion to anything sweet (READ: CAKE AND FROSTING), an overwhelming desire to hug the porcelain throne every afternoon between 3pm and 7pm and then there was my super nose. I could smell the faintest offensive odor from a quarter mile away. It could only mean one thing…
I’m pregnant!! Baby Welch #2 is expected to make his/her arrival around December 19th.
Since finding out I have cut back my orders significantly, given the lack of energy and nausea. I do have plenty coming up on my calendar though and I will continue to make cakes until mid October, when I will start an extended maternity leave. To be really real with y’all… I don’t know what the future of The Welch Cupcakery looks like right now. I quit my desk job when my son was itty bitty so I could be a stay at home momma, and I intend to keep that my job numero uno. I do plan on keeping up all my licensing and such but we will just have to play it by ear once our little darling makes their arrival. I don’t think the cupcakery will ever fully go away, but there may be a time of hibernation while I raise my babies.
So, that’s why I’ve been MIA. We feel so blessed and humbled that God has gifted us another babe and cannot wait for this Christmas season! Lord willing, it will be a very special one indeed :)
And if you love the sweet little retro oven cupcake holder, you should hop on over to check out Claudine’s etsy shop! She has so many adorable printables!
I spend most of my cake making nights making bright colored, fun kiddie cakes (which I love!) but I get reeeeeally excited when a elegant wedding cake order comes my way! (…although I’m not taking on any more wedding orders) This was today’s cake. A gorgeous four tier, soft, elegant and understated cake. *swoon* And because making a 4 tiered wedding cake and two sheet cakes in 36 hours with a toddler is, in short, exhaaaaaaaausting…. my brain can’t come up with any more full sentences right now. So I’ll leave you with a few pictures. :)
Well I’ve been told for years that I need to rework my prices, and it’s something I’ve always known, but it was so hard for me to charge for my work! If I had it my way I’d give cakes away, but my husband doesn’t care too much for that idea :) And as a momma now, I want to make sure any time taken away from my darling little boy is time well spent. When I started this business in 2011 I had no intention of making cakes, and didn’t even know how to! But as time passed, my cake knowledge grew and I have somehow turned into a full fledged cake lady…. only I never really figured out pricing for my cakes. With that said, the last few weeks I finally decided it was time. I’ve been doing some market research and tried to align myself a little closer with other local cake businesses. So after three years, I have finally updated my menu and my pricing! I will be pricing each cake individually, based on labor, complexity of design and materials needed but the base prices are listed on the menu. If you already have a cake on my calendar, I will honor my old prices, but all new orders will be following these new price guidelines.
Also, you’ll see I’ve added plain ol’ white cake to my menu! In the past I’ve always used a vanilla bean cake, but I thought it would be nice to also include a true white cake for the diehards out there ;)
This last week was probably the busiest my little business has had to date. I most definitely am not in the market to sell anything but cakes and cupcakes, but this last week I not only took on all my cakes but tackled decorated sugar cookies, lemon bars and macaroons as a favor for an old sorority sister of min. As fun as it all was, I sure have loved my down time since! There was a lot of playing at the park and Frozen watching going down today :)
First cake up to bat won’t make a photo appearance… because *I* didn’t decorate it. My husband did :) One of his friends had a birthday this past weekend and he thought it’d be funny if I made him a black fondant covered cake and let him go to town on it. I must say, he did well!
Then we have my niece’s smash cake. My sister ran across a similar cake, only in chocolate, on pinterest and asked me to whip one up for my niece’s smash cake photo shoot. Jeanne Hansen Photography did an INCREDIBLE job capturing that little cutie pie digging into her cake! Check out a sneak peek here!
The next cake I made was for a dear friend of mine. Her church was having a women’s retreat this last weekend and she wanted a cake for a table centerpiece. The theme of their table was “Our Lifesong Sings”, from the Casting Crowns song “Lifesong”. She saw a picture of another cake I was to make last weekend and knew a variation of it would be perfect!
The final order I had was for a darling 3rd birthday party: lemon bars, macaroons, sugar cookies, a two tiered cake, a one tiered cake and individually boxed cupcakes favors for the party’s littlest attendees. The boys got bowtie cupcakes and the girl’s got high heeled cupcakes. I forgot to get a picture of the lemon bars but… they look like lemon bars. Nothing fancy! Here is the lemon bar recipe I used though.
Crown sugar cookies! I love this recipe! Per the reviews, I added a cup of powdered sugar to them and also a tiny bit of lemon zest. If you want to learn how to decorate them, this is a great tutorial! There are a lot of tutorials out there showing you how to outline with a thick icing and “flood” the cookie in with a thinner icing but I’ve found it leaves a border around the cookie… which isn’t bad, but I prefer them without a defined outline. The tutorial I linked above allows you to do the outline and flooding all at once with one consistency of frosting and you avoid a hard outline! Win win!
The high heeled cupcakes! I’ll have to do a tutorial on these someday. Once I figured them out they were pretty easy to make (and to make sturdy!) They are basically just a cupcake, milano cookie, pirouette cookie all stuck together with chocolate and decorated with buttercream icing.
Sweet little bowtie cupcakes in the party colors- I love making these!
Finally the macaroons… these aren’t THE macaroons because I forgot to get any pictures of them too, but I assure you I made these :) This is the recipe I have been using for them. I will warn you, they are TEMPERAMENTAL! There is no real set method of making them because they are so effected by humidity, heat, you name it. Just an extra turn or two of your wrist when folding the ingredients together can ruin them! So… there are hundreds of ‘tricks’ and ‘tips’ out there but when it comes down to it you just have to experiment until you figure out what works in your kitchen with your climate and your oven. This website is also a great resource for trouble shooting.
And that’s that! I hope your weather is as beautiful as ours is here in Iowa! Happy April!!
Oh dear has this been a busy weekend! I turned on my oven at 7am on Friday and here I am, 30 hours later and I’ve made, delivered and set up 350 mini cupcakes as well as pulling together this sweet, three tiered jungle cake! Oof! This is my favorite time of the week though. Bring on the family time!
This was such a fun cake to make! I love the patterns and how cute is that little lion? There really isn’t much out of the norm on this cake to talk about. The bottom tier is vanilla bean, the middle is chocolate and the top is carrot. I covered it in homemade fondant and made all the decorations out of homemade modeling chocolate.
Now to go enjoy this incredible weather! Have a great weekend!!
I started out this cake thinking “hey, this could be cool on the blog!” and I’m gonna be honest… over the next 24 hours while making it I wasn’t awesome about getting all the photos needed… It could have been the beautiful weather distracting me, or that adorable little boy running around the house, or the fact that I just got full bangs cut on a whim and have been coming to terms with them the last couple days… regardless of the reason, you are going to need to use your imagination a bit. :) I may have a picture of two on my phone I can throw in… Hopefully you will get the gist of the process!
First up, I sketched out a rough deer head and chest on my 13×19 cake board (it is a REEEEEEAAAALLY rough sketch). This way I could measure out approximately what size cake pans would work the best for my customer’s serving requirements and my board size.
I then stacked up some pans to see which would fit the best on my sketch.
So… you’ll need to make LOTS of cake. I ended up baking a 7″ cake, a 6″ cake, two 5″ cakes, a 4″ cake, a coffee mug full of cake and a couple cupcakes. I discovered my dishes are safe in the oven up to 450 degrees, and the shape of my coffee mugs would be a perfect nose to my deer! I didn’t end up using the cupcakes, but it was nice to have extra cake, just in case.
I started out by leveling my cakes and stacking them in a deer head and chest shape. I did this a few different ways and even shortened some of the cakes to get the shape that I wanted.
From here I grabbed my pastry bag full of strawberry buttercream (oh. dear. don’t even get me started on the amazingness of strawberry buttercream!) and filled between the layers. I split a few cakes to make sure each cake layer was about the same thickness.
Then I threw this bad boy in the freezer for a nice long lunch break. When carving cakes it’s much easier to work with frozen cakes. You can get much cleaner cuts! Here is where the photo slacking begins… I don’t have any pictures of me carving it, but basically I just rounded out the chest, took some cake off the sides to slim down the neck, and rounded out the head. I think I even ended up taking off the top piece of the nose because it felt too tall to me.
I then did a crumb coat (a very thin, rough coat of frosting on the outside to hold in the crumbs) and threw it back in the freezer.
While that was chilling I started in on the antlers. I took some wire and wire cutters and made a rough skeleton for the antlers. They don’t look like much now, but adding some modeling chocolate will really bring these to life! My modeling chocolate recipe comes from (surprise, surprise!) one of Jessica Harris’s craftsy classes. While this isn’t the recipe I use, this video tutorial from craftsy is an awesome reference for making modeling chocolate! My recipe is made the same way, but I use 14oz of candy melts (or 1 bag) and 3oz of corn syrup. They say to let it set overnight, but an hour is plenty of time before kneading it.
Start adding modeling chocolate to your wire and smooth it out as much as you can. The beauty of modeling chocolate is you can get rid of any seams using the heat of your hand to melt the chocolate a bit. Continue to add modeling chocolate and shape the antlers with your hands until you are satisfied with the results. I also took my fondant shell tool and scratched them up a bit.
I was too anxious to wait for the cake to be frosted and covered in fondant to test out the antlers :) How cute would a pink deer be for a girl’s party?
By now, your cake should be hardened up nicely and ready to frost! I used a pastry bag and piped a layer of frosting on the whole thing and then smoothed with a small palate knife and viva paper towels until I was happy with it.
I then coated the whole cake in a bit of shortening, to help the fondant stick and rolled out my marshmallow fondant to about 1/8 inch. I draped the fondant over the cake and slowly started smoothing it to the shape of the cake. Trim away any excess around the outside.
Carefully stick the antlers in. I used a lot of reference pictures to make sure I was putting them in the right place and wasn’t poking a bunch of unnecessary holes in it.
All that is left is to add in some details! The white chest and nose, the nose itself, ears and eyes.
Here I added on some modeling chocolate ears and the white piece on the chest. I decided later the chest piece was too small, so I removed it and redid it.
Here it is with the white chest fixed and the white brought up on the nose, plus the nose itself. My fondant tools have a bit of texture to their handles, so I used that to roll across the nose for some texture.
Next up: eyes. I made them out of black modeling chocolate with a white modeling chocolate backing to them. I added a small white light reflection in them and lined them with strips of black modeling chocolate to make “eye lids”.
I also added in a metallic gold name plaque at the bottom with a birthday wish for Parker!
Lastly I whipped out the shell tool to add some ‘fur’ texture and dusted the cake, strategically, with brown petal and pearl dust. And there you have it!
Have a great weekend! :)