Lessons Learned in 2013

Lessons Learned in 2013

div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;"2013 was a HUGE year for me.br /I won my first international cake competition.br /I became a volunteer with Icing Smiles and provided four cakes to three wonderful families supporting children with health challenges.br /I was finally offered a commercial kitchen to work from.br /So many wonderful things, and of course so many lessons learned.br /The lessons are what I am going to share with you in this post .br /br /#1 If you are carving a cake with a tapered base, use more support than you think you may need. Physics will cause your cake to crumble at the base if not. I learned this with my Dr. Seuss hat caketastrophiebr /br /#2 If you are designing cakes for profit , throughout the year recalculate your costs. There was a considerable increase in shipping, butter , and the cost of my cake boards this year that went under the radar until I sat down with my receipts and started adding everything up.br /br /#3 Always let your cakes settle if you will be covering them in fondant. I now allow mine to settle overnight. Level, fill, and let sit for hours. I also set a book on top of mine to force more air out if I am in a rush.br /br /#4  To prevent the bottom of cupcakes from burning double up the cupcake pans. I haven't burnt a bottom since learning this trick.br /br /#5 When making rice krispie treat accents allow them to firm up then smooth them with a fine cheese grater or zester.br /br /#6 Pasta rollers are a cake decorators best friend. I don't know why I waited so long to give them a try. Mine has saved the wear and tear on my shoulders from rolling out fondant, allows me to roll my fondant to a perfect, even thickness, and I have noticed I use a lot less fondant each month now. Unfortunately this only works for accents and borders.br /br /#7 Never devalue your work. You are not in competition with Walmart or your local grocery store. They do not make custom cakes, they make cakes, some are pretty pricey too.br /Try taking a picture out of a wedding magazine and requesting a unique cake from them...or a fondant cake.br /I realized our local grocery store charges 3 times more for this cake:br /br /div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-D8-fIEiC7Wg/Utk4fyugII/AAAAAAAACtM/wFb2QQOftcw/s1600/IMG2153.jpg" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"img border="0" height="320" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-D8-fIEiC7Wg/Utk4fyugII/AAAAAAAACtM/wFb2QQOftcw/s1600/IMG2153.jpg" width="240" //a/div Than I did for this cake :br /br /div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-NQYPcB7gX5c/UtlAW9sbGI/AAAAAAAACtU/-AaRPsINmYk/s1600/IMG0784.JPG" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"img border="0" height="320" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-NQYPcB7gX5c/UtlAW9sbGI/AAAAAAAACtU/-AaRPsINmYk/s1600/IMG0784.JPG" width="220" //a/divbr /br /Lesson learned.br /br /Also, imagine taking your friends out to a chain restaurant to celebrate your birthday or event, and each person orders a slice of chocolate cake for dessert. Previously frozen, mass produced chocolate cake with no customization, you are looking at at least $3.50 per slice. The last restaurant we dined at charges $5.50 per slice for a generic piece of chocolate cake. Multiply that by the 10 people that were with us celebrating and you pay $55.00 for 10 slices of cake. That should help put things into perspective if you find yourself devaluing your work as well.br /br /#8 Everyone starts somewhere, do not get discouraged. Keep a photo of your first cake on hand to remind you how far you have come. Cake decorating is not easy, it is a challenge, and you have to continue to challenge yourself. I watch Youtube videos, read other blogs, belong to cake community forums online, take classes....anything I can to learn and keep with the times.br /Here is my first cake upon my re-entry into cake design:br /br /div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-s56zJNiziw/UtlDFf3NRTI/AAAAAAAACtg/Iq01MhRyvMc/s1600/831711502486344674425145n.jpg" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"img border="0" height="320" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-s56zJNiziw/UtlDFf3NRTI/AAAAAAAACtg/Iq01MhRyvMc/s1600/831711502486344674425145n.jpg" width="212" //a/divbr /(Fortunately it was for my son's welcome party)br /br /Here is one of my last cakes:br /div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"/divbr /div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Rsfx-qoxGg/UqHc3wTTiZI/AAAAAAAACtA/FN32mLFAvxc/s1600/IMG2918.jpg" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"img border="0" height="320" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Rsfx-qoxGg/UqHc3wTTiZI/AAAAAAAACtA/FN32mLFAvxc/s1600/IMG2918.jpg" width="244" //a/divbr /Just keep learning, practicing and believing in yourself.br /br /I'm sure I learned many more lessons this year, these are just the ones that stand out.br /br /Have a wonderful 2014!br /br //div

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