I have exciting news for you brides, bridesmaids, wedding guests and wedding crashers! Mark your calendars for Sunday, January 22nd from 12p-3p as the Gorecki Alumni Center is putting on the GO Show again! I will be a vendor and I want to get your opinions! Below is a short little survey about your preferences that you would like to see at the show. Even if you can't attend and want to vote for your favorite flavor, let me know your thoughts!
Once you're done, you can register for the GO Show here!
Phew! Wedding season is officially over and I've finally caught up on emails and sleep! Over the last few months, I have learned so many lessons that I would like to share with you.
1. I am very short and weak. I attempted to carry a 3 tiered cake, that weighed probably 20-25 pounds and I couldn't do it. Lifting dumbbells is way easier than holding out a board perfectly level, straight out in front of you, especially when it is taller than you. My goal during my "off season" will be to get some muscles at Achieve Therapy and Fitness so I will be fit and ready for the 2017 wedding season!
2. Related to #1. Make sure the cake stand provided can support the weight of the cake, as well as the width of the cake. I recommend using a cake stand that is the same size as the cake board or a little wider, to ensure the cake is as stable as possible. The cake board is always 2" wider than the diameter of the bottom layer of cake so that is a good way to measure for cake stands. It is also important for the plate to be completely flat and level. Any slight angle can make the cake slide to one side. Having legs on a cake stand may make the cake wobbly, especially if they are different lengths. Fun fact: according to mathematics, 3 legged stands won't wobble. Here is my proof. When in doubt, go with a 3 legged base or a real sturdy single legged base. That's enough of a lesson for today.
3. Cream cheese is dangerous during the summer. I thought I perfected my recipe to avoid a melting malfunction. However, when it is 80 and humid, there isn't much you can do besides watch it start to melt, stick it in the fridge and hope for the best.
4. Always make extra flowers, some with stems, some without and let them dry. It is better to be safe than sorry!
5. Always have a contact person. I have been in enough weddings to know that most people have a personal attendant or point of contact for their venues. I'm not sure why I never thought of it before, but it helps to have someone for me to contact if something goes wrong. What if I can't get into the venue? What if the cake tips over? I will have to tell someone! From now on, I require a contact person for all weddings. I don't want to bother the bride and groom on their wedding day.
6. Relax. About halfway through wedding season, I was very tense and always worrying about something. I'm not sure if I started to relax or if my confidence went up (or a little of both) but wedding cake decorating and delivery went a lot better when I wasn't clenching my jaw the whole time. Practice makes perfect, right?
Now that I have had time to process that somehow summer is already over and how much fun I had decorating these cakes, I, again, remember that I love weddings. My brides and grooms were all so much fun to work with.They all had such cute ideas and everyone involved was so happy-you could definitely feel the love! As stressed as I was this whole summer, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. So bring on the wedding consultations!! If you know anyone getting married, spread the word!
It's Time to Give Back
Hello everyone! I wanted to drop a quick note to tell you about an auction that Lb Cakes' is fortunate enough to be a part of. Way back in the day, I was part of an awesome choir called the Grand Cities Children's Choir. They were just starting their second year when I joined. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the choir for two years and it really shaped who I am today. It helped my confidence, I made new friends, I learned to sing properly and how to work well with others.
9th grade is the last year you can be a part of the choir and I just couldn’t give it up so I chose the option to become a GG. GG’s are mentors for the choirs, where they help with choir practice and shuffling kids around at the concerts. I will admit, I was a little terrified because kids SCARE me, they all think I’m their age because they’re taller than I am. But I was able to mentor the 3rd graders in Poco Voce for three years, and it was a blast (I was taller than a few of them)! I made even more friends, was able to show my outgoing side, help kids learn how to sing and I had the opportunity to give back to the choir that meant so much to me.
Since I graduated high school, I have always wanted to give back even more. I mean, I was involved in this fantastic choir for 5 years. But I couldn’t figure out how they could use me so I gave up and didn’t really think about it for a while. Then, a few weeks ago, my choir teacher asked if I would donate to the auction they are putting on to help my former choir go to Washington DC! Of course I would! It’s finally my opportunity to give back! The point of this blog is for me to say go check out the auction and if you find something you like, bid on it, I promise it will go towards a great cause!
Demo: Volcano Cake
I'm still here! I haven't written a blog post in forever, sorry everyone! It's been a busy couple of months and it's going to get even crazier this summer as wedding season is coming up. I'll make up for my lack of posting by showing you how I made my volcano cake this weekend!
I wasn't sure how I was going to do this cake because I had never done a cake with a giant water bottle in the middle. I placed the water bottle in the center for two reasons, the main one being for dry ice and the other for stability. It turns out, you can't buy dry ice in Grand Forks, so after some research (a little too late but now I know for next time!), I found a directory here. The closest place to buy it is in Fargo at Continental Carbonic Products Inc.
From my research, I knew if I wanted a big enough cake to keep the shape around the water bottle, it had to be at least 5 layers high. I played around with different sizes of cakes and ended up going with one 12", two 10" and two 8" rounds.
I took the lid off a Voss water bottle (which is the perfect size, by the way) and placed it in the middle of the cake and pushed just hard enough to indent a circle. From there, I cut the center out, placed it on the board and stuck the water bottle in the hole to make sure it fit. So far so good! Don't forget to frost the cake board where the cake will sit and the top of the cake before placing the next layer!! It acts like the glue to hold the layers together and if it's not there, the cake could slip off the board or the layers could start shifting.
I repeated these same steps for the next four layers: find the center, cut the hole, place on lower layer and stick the water bottle in so you know it fits. After the third layer, the cake started to get stuck to the water bottle so I left it in once I placed the fourth layer.
I ended up cutting the top layer into a 6" round by the time I decided to put it on top. I think it would work best to do a 12", 10", 8" and two 6" rounds next time. Or maybe, a 12", 10", two 8" and a 6" round. I haven't quite decided yet. Having two layers the same size, makes it a little more difficult to shape into a volcano.
But I just kept shaving away at the sides and eventually it turned into a volcano shape! The trick is to keep the cake on a swivel and continuously turn it and cut each side equally. From there, you only have to cut the little pieces that you may have missed. The most tedious part of this task was wiping all the crumbs off the cake. I eventually used my empty airbrush to blow the crumbs off the cake and the board.
Once you get the desired shape you want and all of your crumbs off the cake and board, start frosting it like a normal cake. I found that I was trying to smooth the frosting out too much, but since it's a volcano and they're not perfectly smooth, I had to rough it up a bit.
Once I was happy with the texture of the volcano, it was time for the sand and lava. For the sand, I piped a border of chocolate frosting around the edge of the volcano and dropped graham cracker crumbs so they would stick to the frosting.
For the lava, I tried a couple techniques with the candy melt. First, I tried melting red and orange together but then it just mixed into a lighter shade of red. Next, I tried melting them separately but swirling them together as they dripped onto my test cake. I wasn't happy with that, so I stuck with the usual technique of drizzling the red candy melt on first, letting it cool a bit and then topping with the orange candy melt. This seemed to work the best and allowed me to cover any holes that were left from the red.
The second to last step was to create the waves on the board. I ended up making two different shades of blue buttercream (royal blue and sky blue). I placed them both in a bag with a large star tip so they would mix a little as they came out of the tip. The key here, is to make more frosting than you think is necessary. I made one loop around the base of the volcano and ran out of frosting and it is really difficult to match two different shades of blue. To create the waves, you just use the reverse shell technique and pipe it on until you think they look enough like waves.
The last step was to add the palm trees. I found these little guys on Amazon. As I was putting the trees on the volcano, I was reminded the nature is random and I should stop putting the trees on the volcano so perfectly. Oops!
All in all, I think this cake was a success. I learned a few things while making it and it didn't take me as long as I anticipated so I ended up having some free time this weekend. I haven't quite figured out what to do with this "free time" people speak of, so I ended up cleaning my apartment. Close enough right?
I'm Facebook Verified!
Do you see that little check mark next to my name on Facebook? That means I'm verified!! Normally, I wouldn't write about something so small but I'm on my second cup of coffee and it took so much effort that I have to!
To become verified, you have to give them your phone number and they call you. Apparently, if you use your cell phone as your work phone, it doesn't count. So the next step is to send them one of the following:
Speaking of my second cup of coffee today, the new Caribou/Einstein bagels place opened up next to my apartment so I'm writing this from the brand new Caribou! From now on, all my business will be conducted here for two reasons: I am a Caribou addict and I stayed out all night on Tuesday to get free coffee and bagels once a week for a year so I have to get my money's worth! It's the perfect little spot to meet people and discuss cake. It is also really entertaining to see people staring at my dummy cakes, like "did she just pull cake out of her bag?"
Happy St. Patrick's Day week everyone! Tune in later this week for my latest experimental cupcake! I'll give you a hint...it involves minty goodness!
This weekend was the most relaxing weekend I have had in a while. I had time to deliver my cupcake order, experiment with a new cake flavor and go on a horse drawn carriage ride! I guess that is what happens when you realize you don’t have to clean your apartment perfectly from floor to ceiling and you wake up before noon! Check out these beautiful horses from Point Paradise Stables!
I was scheduled to deliver a few batches of coffee cake cupcakes for a wedding shower on Saturday morning. After two hockey games on Friday night, I quick frosted the cupcakes that I baked the previous night. Having learned from the last weekend, I knew I needed to frost the cupcakes as soon as I got home, or I would be up until 4am again. Thankfully, the frosting process went super quick and I was done before midnight. That is an accomplishment in the baking world…especially after a full time job and hockey! As long as I am learning, I’m always improving, right?
After delivering my cupcakes on Saturday morning, I accomplished so many things. I ran all my errands in less than an hour, so I had time to experiment with a new cake before my cousin’s hockey game. It started out so well, I found shredded carrots at Target and stuck them in my food processor and it worked perfectly. My biggest annoyance with carrot cake is cutting the carrots so they are small enough (and the fact that there are carrots in a cake). I found a super simple recipe so there aren’t any pineapples, nuts or raisins in this cake, which cuts down on the cost…a lot.
This little Oster 2-Speed Immersion Hand Blender with Food Chopper Attachment is the best $30 I have ever spent. Actually I'm pretty sure I paid less than that because I like sale items. I chopped these carrots in about 10 seconds! However, I'm thinking shredded carrots chopped up is not the way to go. I'm still debating so if anyone has any advice on carrots in carrot cake, I am all ears!
I baked the cupcakes first to see how the cake would rise. Last time, I stuck in two cakes and they overflowed all over my oven. Another lesson learned that saved me this time! I could write a book! The cupcakes came out perfectly so I was excited to try the cake.
The cake was great but I learned another valuable lesson: don't take the cake out of the pan while it is still hot! There is a reason the professional bakers put their cakes in the fridge before taking them out of the pan. After finding a few people at work to be my taste testers, I concluded that the cake needs a bit more flavor and maybe more stuff in it. What do you prefer? Nuts? Raisins? Pineapple? This cake is going to be a work in progress but I think I have found a great foundation for the the carrot cake recipe!
Engagement Cake and Cupcakes
Last weekend, I made my first engagement cake and it was a success! The thing I love about cake decorating is that I am able to personalize each cake to each specific person. This cake was special not only because it was for Andrew's cousin, but also because it described their love story. The bride is from Alaska, the groom is from Minnesota and they met at college in Minnesota. Talk about fate! While designing the image to go on this cake, I tried a few different images but I fell in love with the idea that I ended up using. I have always liked this design, and being able to show their love story in a unique way was very exciting for me! I guess you could say I'm a hopeless romantic! By the way boys, Valentine's Day is coming up!
After a fun weekend in the Cities, it was back to the grind with my full time job. Through work, I received an order for Friday for gluten free cupcakes. You would think after making these enough times, I wouldn't be nervous anymore but I'm so afraid of getting someone sick! I'm very cautious about cleaning my utensils and surfaces but you never know where gluten is lurking. In the future, I hope to experiment with more flavors of gluten free cupcakes, but since I'm so paranoid, it hasn't happened. On the way back from the Cities, we stopped at Nadia's Cakes and they had an interesting statement about their gluten free products. They called them "probably gluten free" cupcakes. There is always that off chance that there is gluten in the area that could get mixed into the products. From now on, I think I will call my cupcakes "probably gluten free cupcakes." On that note, time to prepare for next weeks orders and update my planner and calendar! If you have an event coming up, please check out my calendar to see if I'm available for your date! My weekends are filling up fast!
My First Grand Opening Experience
Happy Sunday everyone!
This weekend I had a really fun opportunity to provide cupcakes for a grand opening here in Grand Forks! Affairs by Brittany is an adorable wedding shop, with the sweetest employees, that officially opened their second location yesterday. They have everything from wedding gowns to prom dresses and cocktail dresses. After spending a little time there, I wanted to buy everything!
Overall, it was a really cool experience. I was able to talk to quite a few brides about my cupcakes and I got to hear my name on the radio!! XL93 was doing a live remote for a bit and interviewed Brittany about the shop. I got to the car just in time to hear Lb Cakes mentioned! Check out the audio here!
I love the atmosphere of these events that I have been doing! Everyone is so excited to be there and everyone is happy because they are getting married! Events like this remind me that all the time put into my business is worth it, especially when people end up booking their wedding cake after meeting me! I keep having to pinch myself because it just doesn't seem like it can be real yet! I have been getting wedding orders left and right, so if you know someone getting married that still needs a cake, tell them to book fast because my weekends are filling up!
Up next on the docket is my first engagement cake. Check back next week to see how that goes!
My First Wedding Show Experience
This past week, I did my very first wedding show! I was so nervous because I didn't know what to expect. When I arrived at the Gorecki Alumni Center, I looked around and saw all these professionals that had experience doing wedding shows before and they were very calm, cool and collected. Mom and I started to get everything set up and eventually my nerves calmed down. We made a lap around the building to see what everyone else's set up looked like. I knew I picked the right wedding show to be a part of because it was filled with the best vendors in the area.
Eventually, people started coming in and my nerves started coming back to me. Thankfully, my mom was there to help me with all of this-from setting up, to filling cupcakes to telling me that everything was going to be ok! I even got a pep talk from my Grandma, who reminded me just to be my sweet self and I would be fine.
I had the prime location right by the entrance so I immediately became crazy busy. I wasn't sure that we were going to be able to keep up with the amount of people that were coming up to us. But, in the end, we didn't even run out of cupcakes; so I would say it was a success!
I received tons of compliments from people so that really boosted my confidence and by halfway through the wedding show, I was having a good old time! By the end of the night, I knew I had a great product and I can break into the wedding market with my cakes and cupcakes if I want! Hearing compliments from people who don't know me or are related to me helps my confidence too. They weren't obligated to tell me how good the cupcakes were, but they did anyway! I received quite a few likes on Facebook a few more followers on Instagram and I even received a couple orders from the evening. Check out my display below and let me know what you think!
This all being said, I quickly realized that I will only be taking one wedding order per weekend, so I can keep my sanity and my day job. My new philosophy is book early and book often! I actually created a new wedding cake timeline to make sure that I keep up with the demand and to ensure that I can make the perfect product for every single couple.
The most common questions and comments I received from this wedding show include:
Are you located in town? Yes, I am located in Grand Forks, ND.
Why haven't I heard of you before? I am just starting out in the wedding industry.
Where are you located? I don't have a storefront but I bake in the Gorecki when I'm not at my full time job at the Alumni Association. I have only been advertising through word of mouth and social media.
Your cupcakes are amazing. Thank you, please take a business card and pamphlet!
I don't like red velvet cupcakes. Try one, I've converted many people from red velvet haters to red velvet lovers!
From this experience, I confirmed that networking is key. In fact, I have another grand opening for a new wedding shop coming up next week that I'm super excited about. Check out Affairs by Brittany's website and Facebook page! I hope to see you all next Saturday at the Grand Opening in Grand Forks!
That's all for now! Thank you all for your support and for letting me pursue my day dream!
This week has been a bit crazy. In addition to working my full time job, in 3 days, I completed 6 different orders, attended a college graduation and I'm not done yet. I love being this busy because I know my business is picking up, which is exactly what I want! Below is just a glimpse into my crazy schedule from this week. It is weeks like this where it pays to be organized. Plus everything is so brightly colored on my calendar and in my planner; it is so festive!
With that being said, to recover from this week, Lb Cakes will not be taking any orders for the week of Christmas, December 20th to December 27th. Being I am so bad at saying "no", and I always want to help everyone, I am laying it all out there now and closing the doors for the week. I also need to prep for the Go Show happening in less than a month! Yikes!
Below was an order for a Law School Graduate here at UND on Thursday. It was a combination of cookies and cream cupcakes and white almond cupcakes. The picks are just pictures that I printed on card stock and attached to a pick. Another order from Thursday consisted of white almond cupcakes and chocolate cupcakes, topped with graduation picks.
My orders for Friday consisted of two graduation orders and a Christmas order. The first order was a combination of cookies and cream cupcakes and red velvet cupcakes topped with graduation hats and diplomas. The Christmas cupcakes were a combination of cookies and cream and red velvet cupcakes topped with a cute little Santa! My third order was for Andrew's graduation. It's a white almond cake with edible image and plastic graduation cap.
My second to last order of the weekend that was picked up today, was a kitty cat cake, cookies and cream cupcakes and red velvet cupcakes. It was my first time making a kitty cat cake, which added to this weekend's adventures. I think it turned out really cute and I learned some new techniques so it was a win win!
Now I have to go prep for my last order of the week: my cousin's birthday cake! Time to go learn how to make a coffee cake, wish me luck!
Merry Christmas everyone!
I am Lindsay, the owner of Lb Cakes, LLC. I will be updating my blog regarding my adventures of being a young entrepreneur in the bakery business.