Ph.D.-serts | Mom’s Night Out Cake Decorating Class | Tampa Wedding Bakery

We have had the privilege of teaching two Mom’s Night Out Cake Decorating Classes to the amazing ladies of Stroller Strides Tampa!

We taught them how to level, torte, fill, crumb coat the cake, and a few decorating techniques.  After a couple of hours, each mommy went home with her own 6-inch round cake decorated with buttercream ruffles!The ladies with their cakes!

The ladies of the first group worked at different paces so we couldn’t get a group shot of the finished cakes, but here is a small collage of photos taken that night: Continue reading

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2013 ICES Certification Exam

In early August, Melanie shut down the bakery, loaded up the car, and headed to Kentucky to take a rigorous 8-hour skills exam called the Certification Exam.  The exam is hosted by the International Cake Exploration Society (ICES) in an effort to encourage its members to “develop their talents in the sugar arts, acquire new sugar art skills, and strive for excellence in cake decorating.”  The candidates are vying for the prestigious titles of Certified Master Sugar Artist (CMSA) or Certified Sugar Artist, but the process doesn’t start when the clock starts…no, no…it starts at least 1 year prior to the exam!

Over a year ago, Melanie registered to take the exam in Kentucky, and over the last 8 months, she has been perfecting her “Plan” for the exam.  Each candidate has to carefully plan which skills they will perform during the exam, where the skills will be placed on the display pieces, etc.  It doesn’t sound very difficult, but don’t underestimate the trickery involved with choosing your 8 best skills and incorporating them into an aesthetic cake design.  There is a fine balance between showing your talent and going way overboard (and wasting time) too.

The candidates must write up their plan and submit it to the adjudicators for approval.  While the adjudicators are there to help the candidates, they can only do so much.  During the approval process, they help ensure the candidates are following all the rules so they are not disqualified and offer some advice where they can.  But they can not tell from a drawing and description if the work displayed will be up to CMSA standards or not have quite enough detail for certification to be awarded.  That, my friends, is up to the candidate.

So when August finally arrives, the candidates have practiced and thought the exam through until they can do their skills with their eyes closed (or at least, that’s the ideal situation).  They load their vehicles and head to the exam location, which moves each year.

Melanie, her husband Adam, and their 4-month-old baby Hailee drove the 12 hours to Lexington, KY and arrived one day prior to the exam.  These are the cakes Melanie created during the exam:

Mel's 3-tier Certification display Continue reading

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Preparing for Your Wedding Cake Design Consultation

Preparation is the key to a successful wedding cake design session.  Here are our tips to ensure you get the cake you’ve always dreamed of:

1.  Do your cake research.

Look at pictures of cakes until your eyes hurt!  Pick out a few of your favorites and bring them with you to your appointment.  Don’t bring 50 photos though…that’s not helping your cake decorator see your vision.  Try 10 or fewer.

An elegant wedding cake covered with fondant and adorned with scrollwork, fondant drapes, and real seashells.

2.  Do your bakery research.

Once you have an idea of what you want your cake to look like, start researching local bakeries to find ones you’d like to work with.  Even if they don’t have a cake similar in their photo gallery, does it look like they are capable of decorating your dream cake?  Will their prices fit within your cake budget? Check out their reviews!  Are their previous brides disappointed, content, happy, or THRILLED?

A classy, elegant wedding cake covered with white fondant and decorated with black and red fondant.

3.  Plan your time wisely.

We recommend sitting down for a tasting & design consultation with a minimum of 2 cake decorators.  Don’t go with the first one you sit down with (even if they’re awesome like us).  I mean, this is the FUN part of wedding planning – who doesn’t love cake?!  And make these appointments at least 6 months prior to your big day. Many cake decorators book up months in advance so don’t set yourself up for disappointment if you wait too late and all the “good ones” are booked.

Andrea's elegant bridal shower cake with Damask, hand-piping, and fondant work.

4. Bring your inspiration & information

Bring everything you can to the cake tasting that will help your cake decorator see your vision for you dream cake.  Cake decorators are awesome and fun people, we know, but we are not mind readers.  Bring color swatches, your wedding invitation, pictures of the cakes you like, pictures of reception decor, etc.  Know approximately how many cake servings you’ll need and how much you’d like to spend on the cake.

Elegant wedding cake with pink & orange flowers and an oversized bow.

5.  Does the shoe fit?

Ok, you’ve sat down with the cake decorator, designed your dream cake, and tasted his/her cakes.  First of all, does the cake taste good?! Secondly, do you feel comfortable with this decorator?  If your personalities clash, you might be better off finding another decorator that is more suited to you. This might be the last time you meet face-to-face with the decorator so do you trust that she a) understands your vision and b) is competent enough to bring that vision to reality? And third, does the dream cake fit in the budget?

And last, but not least, if you’re having trouble narrowing down your own cake vision, use your resources.  There are tons of wedding magazines and websites at your fingertips.  Try or for starters.  And we all know that Pinterest is a bride’s best friend.

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Piggy Birthday Party

We know we’ve said this before, but we love when someone comes to us with a clear vision of what they want their cake to look like.  Then again….we also like when a person gives us complete artistic freedom make the cake look “awesome.”  So I guess it can go either way!  But this time, Mikayla was turning 8 and knew exactly what she wanted.

She sent us a picture of a cake she liked:


(Note, this is not our cake.  We are not sure where this cake was made. If you know, tell us so we can properly credit the artist.)

Cute, huh?!  But it’s no fun to just copy someone else’s cake so we asked Mikayla how she wanted to personalize it.  She decided to add a teal hair bow, a pearl necklace, some teal shoes, and her name written in the mud.  So creative!

A sweet little piggy cake!

“Oinkity oink oink oink!!!” Oh, you don’t speak Piggy? How about Pig Latin? “Appy-hay irthday-bay, ikayla-may!”

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Vinny Lecavalier’s 1000th NHL Game Cake!

We are thrilled to share this cake with you!  Vinny Lecavalier, captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning NHL team, just played in his 1000th game.  That is quite an achievement!  So to celebrate, the team held an after-game reception in his honor last Friday night.

When Vinny’s wife asked us to make the cake for the celebration, we were elated…and honored…and a little nervous…all at the same time.  For such a special celebration, this cake had to be perfect!

After designing the cake with Caroline, we got right to work.  The flavors were red velvet cake with cream cheese filling, chocolate cake with Bavarian cream filling, and white almond cake with raspberry cream filling.  Yum!

The front view of Vinny Lecavalier's celebration cake.  1000 games in the NHL is a big deal!

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