Cake Decorating for Playhouse 395

I didn’t know what to write about tonight since I spent the entire day on my couch again. I will love it when I start feeling better again. So I started going through my pictures on Facebook and came across these. I think I might have shared them before but I’m not sure. I’ve had a headache all day so I’m not going to write much.

Last year I got asked to decorate a wedding cake for a Mystery Dinner Theatre for Playhouse 395. I had a blast doing it even though I ran into quite a few problems. The cake still turned out beautiful and everyone loved it.

The top tier

The middle tier

The bottom tier

The cake

My Passion

My mom gave me ideas today at lunch after writing yesterday that I feel like I’m running out of things to blog about. As I was looking through my photos, I landed in one folder. Flashback Friday it is then.

I worked at Baskin Robbins three times for a total of just over six years worth of experience. Richard first hired me on August 3, 2000 (yes I still remember that date); it was my first job other than babysitting here and there. I almost quit after the first week. Too much to remember and I wasn’t sure if I could do the job. I wanted to save up for a car and to move out of Bishop so I stuck with it. I quit on August 3, 2003 to move to Phoenix, Arizona. My aunt and uncle offered me a room in their apartment and if I would be a nanny to my cousin Autumn. Five months later I found myself back in Bishop without a job. Richard offered me a position until something better came along. After trying to work a full-time job in Mammoth Lakes and a part-time job in Bishop was too much to handle and I stopped doing that after only a few weeks.

I quit from the bank in 2004 after 15 months due to stress of the constant 40 minute drive, one-way, between where I lived and where I worked. Richard immediately gave me a third chance to work at Basking Robbins and I discovered that it was my fall-back. Richard was difficult to work for but was always there if you ever needed anything. He expected the best from his employees and if you didn’t show that you were doing your best, you were gone. One thing that was great about him is that he let you bring something to do when business was slow. I don’t know how many books I read in between customers or how many stories I wrote or needlepoint that I worked on but never seemed to finish.

The cake decorator decided to leave and I asked Richard if I could try it. I hadn’t really decorated a cake like the ones that were sold in the store, but I was willing to take on the challenge and after much arguing, Richard let me. I learned by trial and error how to frost an ice cream cake. It’s frozen. You have to move fast in order to get it smooth before it freezes. I fell in love with decorating cakes within the first week of being able to show off my artistic abilities. I was the cake decorator for the last two and a half years the store was open. I learned a lot by working at Baskin Robbins and my parents and I even looked into buying it. I’m glad we didn’t but I know that there was no way we could have afforded it and the landlord screwed everybody over shortly after the store closed.

I had quite a few times trying so hard to keep the case full but it would never get that way. I also had a few times where the cakes just wouldn’t sell and I have to either cut the icing off and start fresh (the cake and ice cream were still good, the icing would go bad after a few days) or throw the cakes away.

I realized one day that I want to do this for a living. I decided that I wanted to open a bakery and one of these days I will. Over the last few years that I am the happiest while decorating a cake or even just baking in general. For this Flashback Friday I thought I would show you some of my best work. A couple of these has copyright images and no copyright infringement was intended. I just wanted to make a child’s birthday just that much more special.

An Americana Heart, 2007

Sabrina's Octopus, 2007

Paulapalooza, 2006

Macie's Hannah Montana Inpired Birthday Cake, 2008

Irene's African Grey, 2008

Scooby Doo, 2007

Neon Swirls, 2007

 

If you want to know ore about Flashback Fridays, please visit Christopher and Tia by clicking on the picture below.

Cake Decorating

I’ve come to realize that I am by far the happiest when I am decorating cakes. Then it probably comes as no surprise to most when I tell them that my dream in life is to open a bakery. For as long as I can remember, whenever there was a birthday or another event, most of the time I was the one that was called to bake the cake. As the years went on, my love for baking increased. Then in August 2002, my love of baking almost died when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and was forced to remove gluten from my diet.

Then December 2005 the cake decorator at our Baskin Robbins went on a two-week vacation and I was allowed to fill in while she was away. After just a few days, I thought to myself, “What have I gotten myself into?” and I almost gave up. I’ve given up on a few things in my life and wasn’t about to do it again. I pushed through the stress and time-consuming, hectic life that comes with being a cake decorator. I began experimenting and really started to fall in love. Those two weeks flew by and I was sad when I had to give the position back. Shortly after, the cake decorator gave her two-week notice and I fought to convince Richard, my boss, that I could do it permanently. Needless to say he gave me the chance. While there were times that Richard and I didn’t see eye-to-eye, he was one of the best bosses I think I could have ever asked for.

Now became one of the difficulties of taking on the position: all the cakes were made from wheat. Could I actually do what I fought so hard to get without getting sick? I think in the two and a half years I was the cake decorator, I almost killed my hands because I washed them so much, but that helped with the gluten. I didn’t have to bake any of the cakes, but I did have to cut them and potentially breathe in any crumbs that could have flown up in the air. I managed.

Irene's African Grey

Shortly into my new position and responsibilities, I began documenting my work. I also found myself watching more and more of the Food Network, especially the cake challenges and Ace of Cakes. I also began pulling out my long forgotten sketch pads and colored pencils and let my thoughts fly onto paper. Getting those designs from paper to cake became the hardest part but I managed. When at first I doubted myself, I began looking at napkins, invitations, clothing (oh, yes, you heard me right: clothing) people brought in and saying, “I can do that” with a big, confident smile on my face. Each of my regular customers began challenging me with every order they placed. My designs became more detailed and to the point where people couldn’t believe I could do it with nothing but cake, ice cream, frosting, icing (yes there is a difference in my eyes) chocolate and/or sometimes figurines of some sort. I began having more confidence in myself that I never had before. My mom, grandmother, brother and I are artists in our own way. They have their mediums of pencil, crayons, paint and charcoal. My main medium is cake and icing.

I decided to enter a wedding cake in our local Fair. Almost all of the entries are done on a cake dummy (a styrofoam base to decorate in place of actual cake). I had never done a wedding cake let alone work on a cake dummy. Being me, I wanted to do something out of the ordinary so I chose to do a Tim Burton’s A Corpse Bride themed wedding cake. I had many first with that cake because I also had never worked with fondant. I was pleased with the final cake I produced. I knew it wasn’t my best but it was also my first time entering and I had to enter as professional. I received 3rd place and was so excited to have received any ribbon. So many people said that I should have won 1st but honestly I was just proud of the fact that I didn’t give up. Richard even let me display the cake at work for everyone to see and to announce that he now had an award-winning cake decorator. It’s a small award, but an award nonetheless. I entered once again the next year and did research before hand and almost screamed when I saw the blue ribbon placed by my name. I played it safe but it payed off.

When Baskin Robbins closed in July 2008, I cried. I worked there three times for a total of just over 6 years and I’m only 28 years old ( I was 26 when the store closed). With the hopes that a new owner would take over, all of my supplies that I inherited from all of the decorators before me was left in the empty building. The owner of the building screwed everyone over on their leases and I’m pretty sure all of my trusty (and some not quite so trusty and ready to retire) equipment went into the dumpster. I don’t know if any of it is still there since the windows are now boarded up and the building, unfortunately, has become an eyesore of the town.

Acacia and me with her 18th birthday cake. (3/7/10)

To this day, I still have people come up to me and ask if I’m still decorating cakes. I try but most people don’t know how to get a hold of me and my free time is limited. I’m more than willing if my schedule allows it. I continue to decorate the cakes for my family and friends. I’m working at getting a plan into place to open a gluten-free bakery in the San Diego area of California. My dream is to have a place where anyone can enjoy a goodie with everyone and not worry about what the food will do to their bodies later. I have worked very hard to get my recipes to the point where you can’t tell they are made from rice, not wheat. I know now that I can’t let anything get in the way of me reaching my dream.

And just so you know, my email address is caitlyanna@yahoo.com. Drop me a line sometime. I’d love to hear from you.

Acacia's 18th birthday came (3/7/10)

Ben's Pirate Birthday

Macie's Hannah Montana inspired Birthday Cake.

New cake photos and bad news…

 

Okay I’ll get the bad news over and out of the way. The Baskin Robbins that I work at in Bishop will more than likely be closing sometime between Mule Days (Memorial Day weekend) and June 30th. My boss is retiring and the three people interested in buying the store aren’t stupid enough to sign the new lease given by the new landlords, not to mention that the rent has gone up quite a bit. The new landlords want the new owners to sign a five-year lease with the option that the landlords can evict them after giving them a one-year notice and will give them $12,000 for every year left on the lease. So my boss did the math. If someone was stupid enough to sign the new lease, they pay $60,000 for the business and $70,000 for the mandatory remodel asked by Baskin Robbins for a grand total of $130,000 for the business. Then after one year the landlords give them the notice and the next year the business leaves the Cottonwood Plaza. That leaves them with three years left on the lease so the landlords give them $36,000 back. So then the owners are out $94,000. Yeah that seems fair.

 

Baskin Robbins was my first job and my good stand-by if anything happened with another job. I first started working nights there in August 2000 and left exactly (to the day) three years later to move to Phoenix to live with my aunt and uncle after my cousin was born. I lived with them for five months and moved back to Bishop. While I was waiting to hear on my job at a bank I work at Baskin Robbins for a couple of months and came back again after a year and a half at the bank. Shortly after coming back the third time I was given the opportunity to decorate the cakes. I have been the cake decorator for two and a half years now and I’m going to miss being there, even if I think it’s haunted, but that’s another post. I have worked there for a grand total of six years. I have people that say they will only buy their cakes from me because I do the best job in town (their words not mine).

 

I have decided that I am going to do cakes away from Baskin Robbins, but because of the price of gas, I will only do cakes for people located inside the Owens Valley for now unless people want to pay my traveling expenses. If anyone is interested, you can contact me at caitlyanna@yahoo.com. Thank you to all my customers over the years and I will miss all of you. Now on to a few of my latest cakes…

A new cake design

I just finished my concept drawing for my Stargate Atlantis 100th episode cake that I’m hoping to do for this year’s Tri County Fair and thought I would share. I also told Joe Mallozzi that I would draw something up just in case MGM would want to take a look. Over the next few months, I’ll work on my cake dummy for my entry and post pictures along the way. I had to put the text on the cake by using Photoshop because it was the only way to get it to show up clearly. If you look at the picture up closely, you’ll notice that around the base of each tier, the band has the titles of some episodes written. They are only of the first three seasons because that was all I could fit on my drawing.

This is one of my favorite TV shows as I have stated before and if you’ve never seen it, check it out. It is a show that you have to see from the very beginning just to get the concept of the show down, and you might even have to check out some episodes from Stagate SG1, Atlantis’s parent show that aired for ten years becoming the longest running SciFi show.

Alright Joe, Here’s more pics…

Okay I am freaking out right now. The coolest thing just happened to me. Something that I never thought would happen. If you look on my blog roll, I have a link to Joseph Mallozzi’s blog. For those of you who don’t know who he is, he is one of the producers for Stargate Atlantis. One of my absolute FAVORITE TV shows. So yesterday I was on his blog and I posted this comment:

 

I was telling one of my regular customers the other day that I would love to have the opportunity to decorate a cake for Atlantis’s 100th episode. I think it would be so much fun. Just thought I would throw that out there for you. I’m thinking about decorating one for my city’s fair in September. I’ll send you the pics if I do.

 

So then I get on tonight to see what he wrote because, unlike me, he posts everyday and I love to see what answers he has for fans in his “mailbag”. I was a little surprised to see this as the sixth question and answer, even though it’s more of a statement than an question:

 

Caitlyanna writes: “I was telling one of my regular customers the other day that I would love to have the opportunity to decorate a cake for Atlantis’s 100th episode.”

Answer: No idea what MGM has planned for the event – but I checked out the pics on your blog and have to say your cakes look almost too beautiful to eat. Almost.

 

I immediately got on the phone and told my parents. I just now stopped shaking from excitement and I have had a smile on my face for an hour. I just can’t believe that he looked at my pictures. I know that sounds dorky, but I don’t know how many people that are known by millions around the world have looked at my work. So I told him tonight that I would post more if he wanted to see more and I shall deliver.

 

I also told him that I’m in if MGM wants me and they don’t even have to pay me. They have entertained me for four years and are celebrating their 100th episode that will air next year at the end of their fifth season. Getting the opportunity to entertain them for a short amount of time with a beautiful cake that they can devour and hopefully enjoy would be all the payment I need. I love doing what I do and I can’t ask for a better job than mine no matter how stressful it can and will be at times.

 

Thanks for lookin’ Joe. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      

Acacia’s Sweet 16

  

I know this is kind of late to be posting, but it’s better late than never right?

 

When my cousin Acacia was facing turning 16 on March 7, 2008 (oh my God, she’s 16) she asked if I would decorate her cake for her. I decided to use real flowers and that became my present to her. While I was in the kitchen at the Elks Lodge, the men and women helping out from their church began watching me and a few of them even said that they would keep me in mind the next time they needed a cake.

 

Most of the people here in my town know that I’m the cake decorator at Baskin Robbins, but quite a few of them have asked me if I do cakes on the side that aren’t ice cream cakes. I never considered it until Acacia’s party. Now I figure that I can do a couple here and there for a little extra income.

 

One of Acacia’s requests was to have the cake tiered. This was the first time that I ever did a tiered cake with real cake and not the Styrofoam cake “dummies” that I use when entering a cake in the Tri County Fair. It turned out great, but the cakes ended up being too moist and after I put all the fresh flowers on and got the top tier on the cake, we started taking pictures and I thought I could breathe. Boy was I wrong. I was about to leave to change for the party when we realized that the top tier was beginning to lean to the front. The flowers weighed just a little too much for the moist cakes and I decided that before the top tier fell, we took it off and Acacia ended up with two cakes instead of one and she was perfectly fine with that.

 

Everyone got the pictures they wanted and then it was time for me to shock just about everyone who wasn’t my family. I was the one who took apart the cakes. People are almost always afraid to destroy cakes in front of the person who decorated them. Not me. The reason why I do what I love is so that you can “ooh” and “aah” about the beauty of the cake, take pictures (that can last for years) and then you cut up the cake and enjoy it. Just to hear someone say that they love my cakes is all the justification I need to keep doing what I love.