Thursday, August 26, 2010

Our Humble Beginnings

During a recent meeting, the two of us were flipping through Launa's photo albums of some of the cakes she's done over the years, as we thought about what we should include in our website's photo gallery. What was so striking, was the level of skill and mastery that Launa has achieved in a relatively short span of time. From Launa's very first cake in 2000 for her hubby's birthday --

Launa's first official cake in 2000

what she describes as a pretty simplistic now -- to one of her latest epic masterpieces, the Robin Hood Castle Cake (complete with burning turret), it's been quite the journey (which you can read from her perspective on her blog).

Created in 2010 for son, Levi's birthday party

As we flipped through the pages, she laughingly pointed out some that were fabulous in concept, but didn't render as well in actual cake. As we reflected over all those cakes for all those different events for all those friends and loved ones, it was pretty amazing to see how her style has grown and evolved.

Made with love for her sister's birthday in 2001

Although, there were some groans over flaws that she noted, most of them would likely go unnoticed by many of us.

The thought that kept coming in my head was, "do not despise the day of humble beginnings."  In truth, some of those early cakes don't have the same level of skill or wow-factor as Launa's latest cakes, but each cake and the journey along the way has been an amazing tutor. We saw many photos of her with her arms around a friend or family member for whom she baked and decorated and put her love into her cake creation.

Launa with dear friend, Amy and her Micah (2007) -- a child who was definitely a gift from God

I have been on the receiving end of many of her cakes (well, my children have been actually) and I have treasured each one because I know how much effort and care she put into every single one of them. Take, for example, the first cake she ever made for me. It was for my daughter, Hadley's first birthday. I had pre-ordered a cake from our local wholesale retailer only to find out the night before her birthday party that they were going to be closed the next day for a holiday -- and so I would not be able to pick up my cake. One desperate call later to Launa for something "simple" and this is what she showed up with the next day for the party.

Hadley's 1st Birthday Cake and Personal Cake in 2006
When I reminded her about what I had said all those years ago, she remarked, "well, it was simple." (To her, of course, it was!) She literally saved the day for us and went the extra mile to give Hadley a personal cake to destroy -- which of course, she did.

It was almost too pretty to let her destroy it!
The was the first of what would be many cakes that Launa would provide for my children's birthdays. In fact, my kids don't consider it to be a real birthday cake unless they have a "Launa Cake." After this last cake she made for my son, Declan, my eldest child asked me, "Mom, why are Launa's cakes so good?" And the answer to that would be, because Launa is good as what she does.

Launa's answer in 2010 to my request to "just make some sort of Toy Story easy one!"
I guess what I'm trying to say -- maybe not so articulately -- is that these early days of cake are a historical reminder of not only how far Launa has come in her talent as a cake decorator, but of the people's lives she touched along the way.

And, that's a huge part of why her friends and family are so enthusiastically supportive of her starting Plum Crazy Cake Company. Because without her, there would be no cake business. Her creative spark, obsessive attention to detail, and genuine love for people is what will ultimately make Plum Crazy successful.

And if you've been wowed by the evolution of her ability as I have been, I guarantee that we "ain't seen nothing yet!"

-- Heather, proud part-owner of Plum Crazy Cake Company, but more importantly, proud friend!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bringing Cake to the Masses

At Plum Crazy Cake Company, we're all about bringing cake to the masses. After all, shouldn't everyone be able to eat and make cake?

To do this, we've worked on some ideas this week at Starbucks (because we do some of our best brainstorming there) that will bring a little something for everyone. Hopefully, you already know about our group classes that we offer. Our Basics in Buttercream class is being rescheduled for September. As soon as we get the dates confirmed (sometime next week), we'll let post them up here on our Facebook Events page.

Launa demonstrating how to decorate novelty cupcakes
Maybe you didn't know that we also offer private one-on-one cake tutorials from basic cake making/decorating to more advanced cake decorating tips. This is great for the person who wants to work in her/his own kitchen. This also makes a great gift for a birthday or anniversary...or just because.

Our newest cake idea (and we're excited about this one!) is offering cake-themed parties for children and grown-ups alike. Party guests will be able to decorate their own mini cakes to enjoy during the party. It's the entertainment AND the dessert. Genius, right? Simply choose your flavor of cake, type of mini cake shape that you desire (square, round, star, flower), and the colors of fondant that you want, and we'll bring it all and show you how to decorate it like pro. For more info on this, check out our website.

If you are interested in any of these classes or the cake-themed party, shoot us an email at or call us at 272-0710. We'd be happy to chat with you about ideas and prices.

And just in case you're wondering...yes, we're still enjoying this ride!

Friday, August 13, 2010

With a Little Help From Our Friends - Part 2

Well we survived!

We survived our first full week in operation. It almost killed us, but we lived! You've already read about the chaos of making 50 miniature wedding cakes for a promotional event and tag-team family vacations. Now here's the rest of the story for the week...

Friday found Heather driving Launa's PT Cruiser (a.k.a. "The Cakemobile") down to our friends at Pro Signs to get a custom decal of our logo put on the back. They did an excellent job and we're grateful for their suggestions and expertise.

After Launa got it back and admired its beauty on Friday afternoon, she started in on our first official order that night.

This cake collection is the one Launa had been dreaming up since June -- as mentioned in her personal blog. As she guessed, it was a huge undertaking and she appreciated all the help she received (Thank you Patti and Amanda!).

Patti helping on Saturday
The three cakes were for a family that is near and dear to us and sadly will be moving to Washington D.C. in a week. We know it’s an exciting adventure for them to be on, but it is still sad for us. When Launa first heard the news of the Whitford’s impending move she new she wanted to pay a special tribute to such an amazing family and it’s fair to say that she more than succeeded in doing so.

Each cake represented the family members and the things they love. Mike, of course, got a baseball cake. Each licorice stitch was individually “sewn” into the fondant.

Launa "sewing" in the laces
Robin’s cake was a replica of our table at our weekly bible study. Her spot was always marked with her bible and coffee.

The bible itself was a mini cake with painted gold-edged pages and the coffee was a candy molded cup with a cupcake inside, complete with “whipped cream” and green candy straw.

Robin enjoying her "mocha"
And true lovers of all things Disney (they get it by way of their daddy), the girls couldn’t have anything other than a Minnie Mouse cake with hand–cut polka dots, molded ears and bow.

We don’t know who loved their cakes more but it was worth every hour of work to see the look of joy and amazement on their faces when they saw their cakes. The presentation of the cake trio was saved by our friend, Scott Douty, who did a quick afternoon spot-weld repair on one of the cake tier supports (Thanks Scott!)

The Whitfords going away party was a huge success and everyone agreed that the cakes were fitting to each of them. Long after they leave we will remember them as a great family that inspired our best work and helped us launch our business. We are forever grateful to them.

And so, after both of us hung up our aprons (and speaking of that, we're in process of having some official Plum Crazy aprons made up) and put our feet up, we reflected on a week full of both new and old faces and cake, cake, and more cake. 

After all, Launa did such an inspired job on the Minnie Mouse cake, that we have two orders for it already on the calendar.

And, so...the adventure continues....

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Getting By with a Little Help from Our Friends

We're a little more than halfway through our marathon week and our feet are starting to feel the effects of our efforts!

This week has been filled with new things. On Monday, we had a lengthy meeting to get everything set up for what we needed to accomplish for the week. Tuesday, we started prepping for our petit fours for our Thursday night event and worked most of the day -- weathering fondant catastrophes and a refrigerator that went out unexpectedly. Picture us surrounded by cake detrius and furiously moving the entire contents of a subzero church refrigerator into a regular sized one. We found some interesting things in there....salad dressing from 2007 was one of them.

Anyhow, when we stumbled home after working until the wee hours, we were thrilled to see that our logo -- done by the fabulously talented graphic designer, Kc Jackson, was sitting in our email inbox. Seeing how amazing it turned out (not that we were surprised at all because Mr. Jackson has some serious talent), was the perfect end to the day (or the beginning of the next actually).

Wednesday morning found us in seperate cities. Launa was off enjoying a scheduled much-needed family vacation and Heather was in town taking a break from cake and standing up all day, by sitting in a comfy office chair and creating our company's website

In the evening, she was saved from her quandry regarding how best to present the petit fours by our dear friend, Amy Horn, who literally saved the day by bringing over her Creative Memories gear and coming up with a concept and cutting out 50 circles. (She's pretty amazing like that!)

Thursday came all too quickly and Heather finished off the decoration on the petit fours for Events Divine's Open House --which was a crash course lesson for her since cake decoration is pretty much Launa's job description. However, it was completed and she jumped in the car with the cakes and her niece -- her helper for the night.

After a quick stop off to pick up some emergency business cards from our friends at Alphagraphics, we arrived at Events Divine and set up our petit fours.

Triple citrus cake with coconut frosting covered in
marshmallow fondant and topped with a candied lime curl
 (photo by Suzanne Nielsen Photography, used with permission)

And then we enjoyed ourselves and met some amazing people and watched them enjoy our cake. And I even got the event photographer, Suzanne Nielsen to snap a pic on my iPhone. (Thanks Suzanne!)

Heather & Micarah at the Events Divine Open House
All in all, it's been a crazy week. We've had some of those low moments that you see on those cable cake shows. But, seeing it all come together has been amazing. And truly, that song from the Beatles is our soundtrack for this week, "I get by with a little help from my friends..." 

To all of our friends who've helped us out and just been supportive in general...we couldn't have done it without you!

And now...big breath because part two of this crazy week starts Saturday...