What’s New – Lessons at Pro Cake University!

Rhonda Bakes - Blogging Lessons

My lessons for Pro Cake University have just been released and my contribution is a deep dive into blogging.  This is just what some cake professionals need in order to set-up and manage a blog themselves.  So many people spend a lot of money hiring others to do this for them and it’s honestly not that hard!  I’m excited and I loved working with Kara Andretta, the lovely goddess of Kara’s Couture Cakes to add these lessons to her newest offering, Cake Blogging BluePrint.

Kara’s passionate about teaching other cake professionals, and is very hands on with all of the lessons. Sign up for the wait list so that you can get in on the next offering.  Having taken courses with Kara in the past, I can tell you that it’s completely worth it and a great learning environment.

Kara Andretta

Kara on set at her Crafty class

Adding some tutorials and classes to my edible offerings has been something I’ve considered for quite a while now, and I’m so glad I took this first step –

I’m taking the blogging class too – While I don’t have to watch my own lessons, there is a lot for me to take away – I hope to learn more about photography (If you’ve been following me a while, you know that photography is not my area of expertise).  I’m also looking forward to getting more advice on creating and publishing tutorials, and taking a deeper dive into things like Analytics and Social Media.  The great part about it, is that Cake Blogging BluePrint is geared specifically to cake professionals and every lesson is targeted to the things we find most useful and helpful.

What’s Next? Lessons!

My first priority is always going to be creating amazing, affordable cakes for my clients.  It brings me joy and I’m passionate about doing it.  I’m also trying to grow the business, so referrals and recommendations are always appreciated.  Also though, I plan to add some tutorials, perhaps some videos and some recipes for my favorite baked goods here as well. I want to keep busy doing the things I love and I definitely want you along for the ride!

 

 

 

Icing Smiles – Nick’s Birthday Cake

Rhonda Bakes - Fondant Covered, hand-painted, fishing theme, icing smiles, angelfish

In my fledgeling career as a baker/decorator of custom cakes, one of the things I’m most proud of is my involvement in Icing Smiles!  Yesterday, I had the honor of delivering a celebration cake to Nick for his birthday.  This was my first cake for the organization and I admit, I was so incredibly nervous (Andy can attest, I was an absolute bear while we were packing up things to leave for the 1.5 hour journey to St. Pete!).

Nick is a fan of Cake Wars and other cake-related shows, so he had a good idea of what he wanted from the beginning!  This was great for me, because it gave me a great jumping-off place.  He requested a Vanilla cake with Raspberry filling (yummy!) and since it’s my favorite flavor combination as well, I was thrilled to oblige.

He also let me know that he preferred a fishing theme, and I really wanted to deliver him something special. Typically, when donating a cake for Icing Smiles, the servings are limited to about 40. This lets the organization set realistic expectations for their recipients and helps the baker/decorator to accurately design for the family.

Because Nick was such a fan of the cake decorating process, I wanted to deliver him something special for his celebration.  I worked to think of elements that I knew that he’d appreciate – In order to do that, I got just a little creative with some of the elements of the cake and finalized a design with a 14″ x 14″ square dummy tier for the water and a 10″ x 6″ cake tier for the land.

Rhonda Bakes - Fondant Covered, hand-painted, fishing theme, icing smiles

Celebration Birthday Cake by Rhonda Bakes – Icing Smiles – Vanilla Cake with Raspberry filling, covered in Fondant, Fishing Theme

I also went completely out of my comfort zone on this cake by deciding to model a figure for him.  I don’t think I did horribly for my first attempt, and I believe the little fisherman really added the finishing touch.

All cake deliveries are nerve-wracking to be sure – the transportation of the cake alone can be enough to make a baker a nervous wreck.  This doesn’t even compare to the “I hope they like it” thoughts that are running through your head for the entire trip.  Andrew was my co-pilot, as usual and he keeps me grounded during the delivery process – Have I mentioned lately that I adore this man?!

Rhonda Bakes - Fondant Covered, hand-painted, fishing theme

Celebration Birthday Cake by Rhonda Bakes – Icing Smiles – Vanilla Cake with Raspberry filling, covered in Fondant, Fishing Theme

It took us a little while to find the Ronald McDonald House – but find it we did!  Nick was in the lobby, so I got to meet him right away – What a kind and sweet boy he is!  The kind ladies from the desk went off to find his mom, Julie, and we took a few pictures before transporting the cake to the area where the birthday celebration would be held.

They loved the cake and were so excited to have a special celebration cake for the Birthday Party – I left feeling warm and fuzzy and the entire experience solidified my commitment to this terrific organization.  I can’t wait for the next one!

If you’re looking for worthwhile charities or donation opportunities, please consider contributing to Icing Smiles or the Ronald McDonald House – Both organizations are superb, and they show a true commitment to caring for families.

Happy Birthday, Laura!

Rhonda Bakes - Buttercream covered, chocolate fantasy flower

July is awesome!  Not just for Independence Day, but because one of my dearest friends birthday is actually on July 4th.  We share a birthday week, we’re just two days apart and this is always fun for me since I get to make her cake every year and I can experiment!  I love to experiment with new flavors and designs, and this year there was a combination that I just had to try – A pink champagne cake, with watercolor effect pink champagne Italian meringue buttercream!  Oh dear… » Read more

Luebke Wedding

Rhonda Bakes - Buttercream covered, tulips, roses, hydrangea

Being asked to design and deliver a wedding cake for my dear friends Matt and Gladys Luebke was nifty for a couple of reasons.  First, Matt and I have been close friends for nearly 20 years, and his fiancee Gladys has quickly turned into one of my favorite people!  Second, Matt was the best man at my wedding and this means that I’ve now had the opportunity to create the wedding cakes for both my best man and my maid of honor (Alyssa Rose) within the same year!

Rhonda Bakes - Celebration Sweets, Tampa Florida - Wedding Cake

3 tier, almond swiss meringue buttercream covered, with roses, carnations, hydrangea and tulip sugar flowers.

I was given free reign with the cake – when questioned, the only requirement from Gladys was that the wedding was flower themed and that the colors were blue and purple.  Oh, and her favorite flowers are carnations!  I immediately started gathering feedback and doing some Google searches on “natural” blue flowers.  Purple is easy, blue not so much!  After much research and experimenting, the primary focal flowers were selected: Hydrangeas, Tulips and Roses.  Carnations and small blossoms would be used throughout the design as filler flowers.

Oh, and the wedding venue is in Virginia!  Since I’m in Florida, planning was key – I spent a couple of weeks before travel making all of the gum paste flowers.  In order to make sure that I could take all of my tools to the mountain lodge venue, I decided to drive up rather than fly.  This would also allow me to keep a very close eye on those flowers and mitigate any breakage!

Rhonda Bakes - Celebration Sweets, Tampa Florida - Wedding Cake

Top tier, almond swiss meringue buttercream covered, with roses, carnations, hydrangea and tulip sugar flowers.

The cake itself was a three tier white cake with fresh strawberry filling and almond swiss meringue buttercream.  I was able to spend the Thursday before the wedding dusting and putting together all the flowers, Friday was baking and icing day, and then early Saturday morning the whole thing came together.

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