Tag Archives: buttercream roses

This Just In

2 Aug

This week is gonna be bussssyyy. Groceries, periodontist, the Chicklet’s birthday, last week of class, and possibly Primitive Boy moving out of the manse. Y’all are lucky I’m here at all. LOL I’d like to find the highly degreed person who decides students should have one less day to complete the work plus an extra assignment that includes a long paper for the last week of class and have a “chat” with that person. Do they really think we worked on that paper all quarter as suggested? Yeah, right. Also, I would like that person to know that some of us notice things like the abstract is due before the final paper and the link you gave the students that explains an abstract says clearly that the abstract is written last. Cart before the horse or forcing students to turn in work before it’s officially due so the professor can knock off work a couple of days early? You decide. I’ll keep my opinion to myself until they slap that degree in my hand while I’m shaking hands with someone Important that I’ve never met while trying to smile and face a photographer who apparently is getting a shot up my gown from the looks of his position below. But I digress. Once again. I’m good at that, at least.

I blew off some things I didn’t want to do anyway and updated our PowerPoint portfolio. (Yes, it really is spelled that way.) We would LOVE it if you’d look at it and leave comments with your opinions. How is the layout? Colors? Organization? The fonts? (I kept them all in the Lucida family because Primitive Boy’s explanation about fonts and foots and all that stuff made my eyes cross. Never ask the opinion of someone who wears a t-shirt that says, “All I care about is ink, fonts, and crap like that.” Just shut up and kern for me, k?) I took out the character cakes and such even though they were all made as gifts. No sense in angering the mouse, eh? I think we’re far enough along in this adventure and therefore have enough cakes in the portfolio without them, anyway. We want to know it all- the good, the bad, the ugly, the few, the proud, the chosen…oops! Wrong blog for that.

Let us know what you think while I’m off pretending to be a grown up. Or working on my tan at the beach. Whichever.

 2Chicks Cake PowerPoint

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You talkin’ to me?

27 Sep

Frosting chick: Dude, have you seen the number of hits on the blog?

Fondant chick: More hits than Pete Rose back in the day.

Frosting chick: Yeah, and just about the amount of feedback he gets today, very little! How come nobody’s commenting on anything?

Fondant chick: Maybe we’re not interesting after all and our friends are blowing smoke up our patooties when they say they like it?

Frosting chick: C’mon, really? Would they keep ordering cakes if it were really all about the patootie smoke? SOMEBODIES are coming here, the question is, who?

Fondant chick: Aliens, then. Definitely aliens. They’re coming to steal our cake. I just know it. My mother-in-law says so.

Frosting chick: That would explain the sudden loss of aluminum foil in the shop… but perhaps they’re looking for something more. Like insight into the female psyche through witty and smart blog entries?
Fondant chick: Is hubby acting up again-because that sounds more like what women wish men would do. Maybe we’re so good that we leave nothing for our stalkers to say?
Frosting chick: READERS! They’re called “readers”! (*nod to “You’ve Got Mail)

Fondant chick: Ahem. Sorry. Readers. Stalkers=bad, readers=good. Got it. Please excuse my momentary confusion. The lack of comments must be affecting me terribly. Poor self esteem and all that.

Frosting chick: I dig. But we can’t let it get us down. Did you do your affirmation(s) today?

Fondant chick: Darn it! I forgot. All the wondering about the lack of comments has just filled my day. *Sigh* and I have so many other things I need to do. Why oh why don’t they comment? *Whimper* Why am I rejected yet again?
Frosting chick: Now, now, there, there. I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation why were not getting any responses. *sniff sniff* we don’t smell…

Fondant chick: My son smells. Maybe that’s it? Naw, surely they can’t smell him all the way over there. Perhaps the awesomeness of our cakes leaves them speechless?

Frosting chick: Hey, if you can’t smell my hubby’s feet from your house, I doubt anyone can sniff out boy wonder. You might be onto something with this whole “awesomeness” thing, my affirmations tell me so. Following the philosophy of “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”, perhaps our sweets can CHANGE THE WORLD!!!!!! Eh, sorry. Ok, so it’s not that… perhaps it’s stagefright on the readers part?

Fondant chick: Stagefright? Perhaps we should say something really stupid to make them feel safe? You know, “they have already written something so stupid what I type cannot possibly sink to that level.” Or have we already done that? Just in case we haven’t, I’ll start: I didn’t know Jimmy Hendrix was an African-American until I was in my 20’s. Not good enough? How about this: I cannot pronounce dragees or Tuscarawas or Worchestershire. Still not good enough? Okay, okay. I’ll deny this if it ever gets out, but I regularly fart in public. Hmm, maybe those aren’t stupid but are just private confessions. You got anything?

Frosting chick: Heck yeah! I, uh, can’t believe you didn’t know about Hendrix!
Let’s see…. I regularly retain my “Mother of the Year” status by feeding my ADHD crazy boy PB&J’s for dinner. Now that hubby is gone most nights, I don’t have to cook! I’m totally loathing the upcoming birthday cake I’m doing for next week.  I despise vacuuming. Oh, and I hate feet!

Fondant chick: Feet? Really? Well, I think knees are ugly, if that makes you feel better. Not just my knees, knees in general. Maybe they think we intimidate them? How about this: the first time I made a ball cake, it was raw in the middle. I swear I thought it was done. I checked it with a toothpick and everything. Or maybe this: I am initimidated by other people’s cakes. That is, right up until I see a professional’s work that is not that great. Then I wonder why I’m not rolling in the bucks and world famous. Or at least state famous.

Frosting chick: I getcha. Feet are like deformed hands at the bottom of your legs.  Ok, in tracing my ‘caking’ history, I must go back to the mid ’80’s. I decided that I could absolutely make a TMNT cake. Just the head, I wasn’t all turtle shell crazy. Anyway, to make a long story short, there was just something NOT right with his eyes, and we named him “Retardo”, in the fashion of Donatello, Leonardo, etc… I’m in my 40’s now, don’t make me try to name them. If I ever come across a pic of Retardo, I’ll post it right away.

Fondant chick: Oh, yeah- every cake I’ve ever done has something that is “not quite right.” If I’m lucky, that side becomes the back. If not, I keep my mouth shut and hope no one notices. You know what? They RARELY notice.
So c’mon! If you say something stupid, we promise not to notice. If you say something mean, we’ll try to slay you with a witty comeback. Not a mean one, one we can all laugh about. Stop leaving us hanging out here in cyberspace wondering if we should keep posting or throw in the spatula!

Frosting chick: Yeah, throw us a bone here. Got a question? If we don’t know the answer, maybe someone else who visits might! Got a cake coming up and need some ‘outside the box’ idea’s? We might be able to come up with a concept you haven’t thought of. Tap our creative minds, it’s free!

Fondant chick: Remember, we’re all in the same bowl of frosting together! Okay, that sounds odd. You know what I mean. We all have problems and ideas, even if those ideas turn out to be ones we should have left buried in the compost pile in our minds.

tn

Yeah, can you imagine what it was like to be in THIS bowl of frosting?

P1000614

Belaboring a Theme

7 Sep

In honor of Labor Day, let’s chat for a minute about the amount of labor that goes into our creations. Aside from the talent required to even design, much less create, a custom cake, many hours of labor are logged in kitchens all across the world to bring that idea to fruition. While I’m not going to try to talk you into spending hard earned cash you can’t afford, I would like to give you some insight into pretty much any pricing structure for custom cakery. You may be given a base price plus the costs of extras, a per-slice price, or a total price without cost breakdown, but any price generally includes the following:

doll cake WASC 002

Cost of ingredients. This is what most people use to attempt to calculate our total costs. It is but the tip of the piping bag. Read on.

doll cake WASC 013

Overhead: electric, gas, consumable and nonconsumable products. The electric company doesn’t care that I don’t have the money to pay the bill. No money=no electric. Period.

cake on board sign

Delivery charges: just the mental cost alone of having someone honk, scream, and generally express annoyance with me because I have to drive slowly during the delivery justifies this cost. Additionally, the gas station, mechanic, and bank loan dudes stick a fork, so to speak, in every delivery. Toss in my time here, too- the chip guy doesn’t deliver the greasy yet tasty crunchies for free, and neither should we. While it may seem to make sense to just pick it up yourself, there’s a snag: you don’t know how. Sorry to offend, but most of the time this is true. A lap is not a suitable place for a cake. Neither is a car seat. People and seats have a slant, just as God intended. That slant will kill a cake and it may arrive smooshed on one side. True. Very true. Put a level on that sucker and check it out for yourself. It’s not just you that wants the cake to arrive in one piece. I want the cake to arrive at your event intact, too.  Since I’m the one who knows how to make that happen, I am the chicka you need to deliver the confection.

biz car front

Marketing and office expenses: paper, ink, staples, Internet service, websites, etc…. None of this is free to you or free to me. While we make the best use possible of these resources by re-using, conserving, and taking advantage of free stuff when available, there are still costs involved.

Legal costs: one word- Bridezillas. Enuf said. Two words, actually. Better add the IRS in there before the feds come a knockin’.

 Labor: the reason for the post. Labor, labor, labor. From grocery shopping to baking to carving, to mixing, to decorating. Labor. Grocery stores may be able to toss together a cake in 15 minutes, but custom cakers cannot. Cakes are not massed baked, iced, and decorated in our kitchens. Our designs are much more than a star tip border, a couple of buttercream roses, and a two line inscription. I’m not knocking those designs. There room for every taste in this world and one is not necessarily better than another. If simple is what you want, simple is what you should get and the overall cost should reflect that. That’s why if a bride is on a budget, we may suggest white buttercream, real ribbon for the borders, and silk flowers. Simple, in this context, means keeping labor hours to a minimum. You still get our experience with baking tasty food and our talent for smoothing icing, but you don’t pay for hours on end of decorating expenses.

One hour for “ehh, they’re okay”

One hour for “ehh, they’re okay”

2 hours for 2 tiers

2 hours for 2 tiers

How much labor? That depends on the experience and skill of the decorator. For example- buttercream roses. At this point, I would have to make at least 6 roses to get one decent one. My partner, on the other hand, knocks them out like she was born with a piping bag in one hand and a rose nail in the other (Ouch! Sorry, mamma! It’s my destiny!) Ditto with writing. I can place fondant on a cake as easy as tying my shoelaces. My partner will throw a batch against a wall at least three times before it’s right enough to work. (Yes, of course, she makes a new batch each time. We’re not trying to kill anyone over here.) This is one reason having a partner makes sense. You want buttercream perfection, you get that chick. You want fondant delight- you get this chick. No extra charge. It’s not fair for you to pay for our weaknesses via extended labor charges. That’s a big bonus right there- a freebie from us to you. You don’t have to pay one hour of labor for each rose you select and I don’t have to control the urge to just get it over with and stick the danged nail in my eye. Overall, just know that labor costs are underated much more often (about 95% of the time) rather than overrated. I don’t know about you, but I can’t perfectly predict months ahead of time if humidity will add hour upon hour to a cake because everything melts, won’t smooth, or won’t dry. Only the Supreme Being of your choice knows that and he/she/it doesn’t deem me worthy enough to tell. The leaf that usually take 30 seconds can turn into a 10 minute mini-project for no discernable reason. Stuff happens, we try to cope. Sometimes by eating cookies, but we cope.

 Scroll down and have lookie at the tutorials and think about the time involved to make each vision come alive. Think about it realistically. Even simple stars don’t come out perfectly every time. Things have to be redone. Labor (and medical bills for carpal tunnel, but that’s another topic) costs happen. Covering a PITA cake in fondant can take an hour. Star tipping a soccer ball is two hours. Baking, as you know, is about an hour. Carving can take from 10 minutes to endless hours. Fondant ball borders are about an hour per tier. Seriously. Try it sometime. You will nearly go mad trying to get every ball perfectly round and smooth all while keeping the size consistent. That’s why you hire someone else to do it. Your children have already taken your sanity. You have none left to give to fondant balls so you pay for someone else’s.

 

Still think custom cakes are too high? Do you work for free? Do you say to your boss, “No problem, sir. I’d be deliriously happy to come in early and stay late. In fact, it would make me so happy that you don’t even have to pay me for the time worked. I would refuse any payment in any form. I love my work that much.” Yeah- not! You want me around next year to make your cake dreams come true? That can’t happen if I have to quietly head for the border staying one step ahead of the federales who want what’s due. Yo’, that kind of stuff is only romantic in movies. Real life is the inability to pee in the woods without removal of clothing and the lack of noggin’ space to remember which mushrooms are “magic” and which ones will keep me from finally losing the extra girth.

7 days/8 hrs at least each day, not including delivery (1 hour away) and set up (approx. another 45 minutes). How much would you get paid for 58 and ¾ hours of work?

7 days/8 hrs at least each day, not including delivery (1 hour away) and set up (approx. another 45 minutes). How much would you get paid for 58 and ¾ hours of work?

Happy Labor Day to all of you! Additionally, my apologies to those who still have to flippin’ work today because the world will come to an end if humans can’t buy gas, groceries, take-out, or whatever 24/7/365. I appreciate all of you for all your hard work and I hope you are at least recompensed enough to pay “the man” what is due. If you have today off paid work, do something radical: don’t work. Don’t clean the house, do household paperwork, mow the lawn, or scrub the crayon off the walls. Kick back, read a mag, soak in a tub. Let the kids run rampant through the neighborhood and let your partner work it out for themselves. Forget about hosting or attending a BBQ because heaven forbid someone notices your absence and knocks off brownie points. Today’s your day off. Enjoy!

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