Monday, December 13, 2010

The Learning Curve - Part 1

It's amazing to realize that we have been operating as Plum Crazy Cake Company for almost five months! Time has truly flown by and we've learned so much about decorating cakes (Heather, in general; Launa, for profit) and running a small business in Fresno.

We started off the month with our first official wedding cake order. The bride and groom wanted a "Winter/Christmas wedding" theme. So, we decided to do a simple white two-tiered buttercream cake with sugared cranberries and some additional sheet cakes with a sugared cranberry on each slice.

Sugared cranberries are yummy!

The cranberries were a big hit!

Thank you to Dave and Denise Roseno for letting us be a part of your special day!

As the month continued, we moved on to other orders. One thing we have learned over the months is to try to coordinate our cake projects on the same day(s) so that when we are using the commercial kitchen we rent, we can spread that cost out to more than one project.

Last week, we found ourselves doing just that as we worked on two different projects: Mocha "Cuppa"-cakes (Launa) and prepping for a cake party (Heather). It's so much more fun to be down at the kitchen together. It makes the time go faster and the extra hands are always helpful in keeping dishes washed and dried and saving one of us from dropping something.

As mentioned, Heather was working on getting ready for our second cake party -- a fondant cake decorating demo for an 8-year-old's birthday party. The first was a test-run of sorts for Heather's daughter, Hayden, and her 8th birthday (read about it here). So, Heather felt pretty confident about running the party with 4 girls -- especially since her first go at running a party had 12 kids from age 3 to 10 at two different stations!

The first cake party was definitely a learning experience. Heather baked two batches of yellow cake in a jelly roll pan, and then had the kids use shaped circle and square fondant cutters to cut out pieces of cake for their 3-tired creations. While a good idea in theory, it proved to be difficult for little (and big) hands to frost each tier due to the unfinished edges. Let's just say the "crumb coat" ended up being full of crumbs, rather than keeping them hidden.

So, we brainstormed a better way to make tiers for frosting that would yield finished edges. We thought about using a 3-tiered cake pan, but dismissed it as difficult for children to cover with one piece of fondant. We then discussed a 3-pan set, but didn't want to have to spend the money to purchase four sets (for the 4 kids) or take up a lot of time by buying just one set and then baking the tiers four times in a row.

We eventually decided on the Tasty-Fill set from Wilton, thinking we could bake the mini cake in the normal side and the flip them over and fill in the depression on the bottom of the cake for the top tier. Unfortunately, it ended up being too small to be a good top tier. Heather didn't figure this out until the day before the party, so she went hunting for the perfect size for the top tier -- and found it in her 1 cup metal measuring cup. So, we ended up baking the top guessed it...four different times! It worked though -- although we're thinking we'll go back to the first cake pan option and then cut the tiers apart.

After the cakes were baked and ready and the buttercream was mixed and colored, Heather worked on mixing up the fondant and coloring that. Sofia (the birthday girl) had chosen yellow cake with the colors pink, lavender and light blue for her party.

The day of the party (and the night before too), Heather packed up a tub of all the supplies she would need....silicon mat, fondant rollers, cutters, shape cut-outs, icing spreaders, etc...and put on her Plum Crazy t-shirt and headed out for the party.

Sofia's mom had everything ready and their spacious center kitchen work space make it easy. As Heather set up, Sofia was beside herself with anticipation and kept a running tally of the time when her party would start. And at long last, all four girls had arrived and we were ready to begin.

Heather all set up and ready to get the party started
The girls had a great time and ended up creating some pretty amazing cakes!

Heather helping Sofia add ribbon to her cake creation

All four girls' cake creations
Sofia's mom, Bethany, even got in there. She finished decorating the cake that Heather was demonstrating on, and did a great job.

Then it was cake eating time. Bethany stuck a candle into Sofia's cake and we were ready to sing Happy Birthday.

Sofia ready to blow out that candle and dig in!
A good time was had by all. And Heather left feeling like the girls could recreate the experience -- especially since she left some goodie bags filled with the recipes we used for each girl. And, of course, our signature super duper decorating kit for Sofia.  If you would like to book a cake party for a special person in your life (and it need not be for a child) visit here.

No comments:

Post a Comment