May 24, 2012

Happy Birthday to me!

Today is my 30th birthday, and about two hours before lunch time, I was still undecided about the cake I was going to make for myself. I am a huge Boston Celtics fan, and after their 101-85 win over the Philadelphia 76ers last Tuesday, I thought that I should make a Celtics cake. I waited until this morning before I made the cake because I didn't want to celebrate too early. I was thinking "What if they lose?" So I sat back, relaxed, and watched the game.

As their game went on, I was becoming more and more frustrated because they would obviously lose, and I didn't want to make the cake. I decided to think of some other alternatives. I thought why not make a Phillip Phillips cake since he won American Idol and I am a fan? I pondered on making a fondant guitar in his honor for several minutes.

I took out the red devil's eye cake that I baked ahead yesterday afternoon and prepared my stuff. I realized that I didn't want to make a guitar cake and that I loved Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett more than I loved Phillip Phillips (oh, the men in my life!). So what the hell! I went on and hastily decorated my 6-inch round cake with the Celtics clover.

Celtics' clover and the Big Four jerseys (from left to right): 20 for Ray Allen (partially hidden), 9 for Rajon Rondo, 5 for Kevin Garnett, and 34 for Paul Pierce.

My first bite would be Rondo's jersey.

KG is for my sister.
Happy Birthday to me! I was able to finish decorating the cake within an hour. I'll have to bake another cake for Saturday when I go out with some friends. It'll be a more girly and a more childish cake next time.

May 23, 2012

Why my products are priced the way they are

I am in a total dilemma when pricing my products. The cost of the ingredients isn't the problem; it's the effort that I put in and my creativity that's hard to put a price tag to. My skills may not be at a very high level at the moment, but I am getting there especially with the constant research that I've been doing to pick up more ideas and techniques. Besides, creativity is more expensive than all the eggs, milk, and flour combined. You have to admit: it's easy to source for the cheapest ingredients, but it's hard to look for someone who has the inspiration and the creativity to make a cake that's also a visual treat.
These cupcakes look simple but the tiny details took a lot of time to make.

I came across this post about what to consider when pricing your products, and I have to agree with it. It could mean that I would have to turn down some customers even if I don't want to, but there's a reason I must be selective with my customers. People who want to get my products at dirt cheap prices are not in touch with the reality that it took a lot to come up with that cake. They just don't appreciate and respect my talent enough. In the mean time, I have to further improve on my skills in order to gather more fans who will appreciate what I do.

These sugar cookies took several hours to ice. The more details and colors involved, the longer it would take to complete them.

I do hope that my customers understand why it is cheaper to buy a cake at the mall than if you ask me to make one for you. I don't have a production line at home. I do EVERYTHING by myself, and by everything I mean buying the ingredients, rolling the fondant (I don't buy ready-made), washing up and tidying the kitchen, and delivering the goods. Rolling the fondant in itself is a very physical and time-consuming task. I get all sorts of aches and pains after I make a cake. Making sugar cookies takes a lot of effort too. The more colors the design involves, the longer it will take for me to complete.
These cars were also labor-intensive.
I appreciate customers who are straightforward in telling me that they have a certain budget for what they want. I can work with that. We can tweak the design or maybe trim down the size a bit. It's easier for me to work on something if you have a price range in mind. I'll try to see if I can work with that.

The problem with the Filipino culture is that we can't be very straightforward. We can't be frank about how labor-intensive a certain product is. Honestly, there are times when I get short-changed because I was too ashamed to say how much effort I put into a cake. Perhaps it is also because I was still a bit short on confidence in myself when I was still starting. However, I am confident with what I can do now, and I know that there aren't too many people in this city who can do what I do.

I hope my customers understand what I am trying to say. It is a delight to work on this cute cakes for you, but please show your appreciation by giving me the credit that I am due.

May 22, 2012

Chicken-themed cakes

I've been wanting to make a farm animal-inspired cake, and I finally got my chance when a friend asked me to create a rooster-themed cake for her son. The cake and cupcakes are chocolate with choco-hazelnut filling.

Rooster cake and cupcakes for Art Lorenz's 6th birthday
I like this photo...they look like a happy bunch.

I am hoping to make some pigs, cows, and sheep one of these days.

I'm back! (for the nth time)

I can no longer count the number of times I used this as a title in a blog post (I have so many blogs that all died a natural death because of neglect). I thought I made a pact with myself that I was going to FINALLY write something about myself and for myself (not a commissioned article that gets paid a few dollars through oDesk). Apparently, I am bad at keeping promises (ask my husband, he can attest to this). My last post is dated March 25. That's about 2 months ago. Anyway, I am back, and I will be posting what I've been up to.

The problem is I have too much catching up to do. Maybe I'll just tweak the date settings on these posts? Whatever! I don't want to overwhelm my readers (how many do I have), so I am chopping up my posts and editing the dates.

And the posting starts now!

May 21, 2012

Barbie cakes for two straight days

It's the weekend of Barbie cakes. The first one I made was pink in color, and the second one was gold. They were both pretty, but the first Barbie cake's buttercream swirls started to melt because of the extremely hot weather. (See photo of the first one here.) I got pretty unhappy with how it turned out. I made that cake on Friday. The second cake I made on Saturday. Before I started frosting, I tried to think really hard to find a remedy for the melting buttercream. All of a sudden, I had a Eureka moment. Of course! Why not place a tablespoon of meringue powder? That's going to harden the frosting a bit! It'll work just as it works for sugar cookies, I told myself. Well, I was right. The second Barbie cake came out prettier.
This cake had 30 likers on Facebook
The cake was jiggling on my way to the kid's house, but the buttercream never melted. Problem solved for me!

May 14, 2012

Mother's Day

I was very busy for mothers'day since I got a bunch of orders that left me drained out at the end of the day:
Mothers' Day cookies with personalized messages...I made 50 pieces of these

Tulip cookies...I made 25 pieces of these

Made for the sweet couple Kevz and Emz for their mothers...I made three of these

Sunflower cake for mom

Flower bouquet cake
I also made two 6-inch rounds of banana cake with cream cheese frosting plus two other small chocolate cakes. Aside from that, I had to make 100 pieces of baby-themed sugar cookies for a baptism. Check out the pictures:
Cutesy pink onesies

Aquamarine horses

Wew!!! I was just so glad I was able to make everything in time!