Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Update and Status Report

Moving a working bakery is no joke, you guys.

But it's going well! Here's the story:

Cakeapotamus got kind of... big and busy. Which is great! But it meant some decisions had to be made. Kind of like when we discovered we didn't have to do walk-in retail to be profitable after being open six months. Now we know we don't have to keep hosting parties to be profitable. This is especially good because I was looking at some major expenses to fix up the old place and make it nice and fancy for parties. I thought it was time for a makeover. But if I took that money and spent it fixing up my home kitchen- making it nice and fancy- and bringing it up to (and above) code, then I'd be investing in a property I actually own!
Seems like a no-brainer, right?
I even sprang for a new cover for Speedy here.
And since the Cottage Food law has passed in Alabama, it's completely legal for me to operate out of my home. You guys know I never made anything below a 100 on my health inspections at the bakery- but I can make my home kitchen even cleaner! Because it's shiny and new. And I'm still licensed and insured. I still have all my certifications and training thingies. I'm making a pretty amazing bakery here.
Same whimsy, new location.
So now I'm moving Cakeapotamus and trying to do it without interrupting my production schedule.


Fun fact: when you move your mixers from your old kitchen to your new kitchen, it really helps to bring the paddles. Otherwise, you're stuck making icing in the old, ratchet KitchenAid that only has two speeds: fast and super fast.

Oh, and I forgot to bring spatulas. And salt.

Baby steps.
Who needs spatulas when you have all the drums, right?
But it's getting there. I love and adore my new purple kitchen. It's bigger than the bakery kitchen, there's only one oven but it's much bigger than either one at the bakery. More counter space, better light... I'm pretty happy. Just getting used to the new arrangement.

But my flavor-making creativity has returned! I'm about to have a whole lot of fun with liquor-infused cupcakes in here, y'all.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Bakery Memories: Illusions of Grandeur

This isn't really a bakery memory because I can see this happening again at the new location. But it's a good story that I was just reminded of. So here we go:

Cake collaborations are a thing. Sometimes they're kind of a big deal. Someone picks a theme and then they invite cake and sugar artists to make pieces along that theme. Everyone submits pictures of their work. You put them all together and BOOM! You've got an awesome site full of Charlie Brown or Harry Potter cakes. They're fun and a good chance to work with other cakers.

Well... see... last year, I think it was Reva's idea to make an April Fool's Day cake collaboration. I'm pretty sure it was Reva who started the whole thing. But I was in on it... and we decided to do a ridiculous cake collaboration.

Illusions of Grandeur! An exhibition of ethereal cakes.

Ethereal cakes. I came up with that part.

looks legit
We thought it was be funny to make a collection of pictures of invisible cakes. Heck, I still think it's funny.

We started recruiting cake decorators and sugar artists to join us. All they had to do was take a picture of an empty cake board or stand, put their watermark on it, and pretend it's the latest trend in cake art: ethereal cakes.


And we got some pretty darn well-known cake decorators in on this thing, y'all. It was kind of surreal.

So we made a Facebook page for the collab. Miguel made a website! We had head shots and bios... but the bios were totally fake. I made them up. And I'm writing these ridiculous backgrounds about super powers and extra toes and I'm praying that Karen Porteleo has a good sense of humor. I think, start to finish, we did the entire collaboration in 48 hours. It was all kinds of ridiculous.

And so we went live with it! And we're pretending to be so proud to be a part of this cake art trend. People are looking at everything and most people got a kick out of it.

There were a few people who messaged us, "I can't see the cakes."
Now, a nicer person would politely explain that there are no cakes, it's an April Fool's Day joke.
But I'm the reason we can't have nice things.

"I can't see the cakes!"
"Oh, sorry! That's a glitch we're aware of. Just restart your computer, install all the updates, and reload. You'll be able to see them."
"I still can't see them."
"Huh. Weird. Try restarting your computer again."
"Is anyone else having trouble seeing them?"
"Oh, yeah. Some people had to restart their computer three times!"
"Ah. OK, I see them now."

Sure you do.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Next Chapter

It's kind of funny how life works sometimes. It's like the universe gives you signs that you're moving in the right direction.

A bunch of people have asked me where Cakeapotamus is moving to. I've been trying to avoid that question because there were still a couple of logistical issues to work on.

See, the original plan was to renovate the kitchen at my house. Paint, floor, bring it up to the standards that earned me a 100 on every health inspection at the Pepperell Parkway location. And so we began to work. The home kitchen is actually larger than the bakery kitchen. And the oven is bigger. I know! Plus, now Alabama has cottage food laws that allow me to legally sell out of my home kitchen. (We didn't have that when I opened the bakery.) So it's a no-brainer, right? The bakery needs some updating and repairs- but I don't own that property. Why not put the money into renovating a property I do own? Lower overhead, more cake profit... happy.

New kitchen color: Imperial Lilac.

But baking at home offers a few limitations:

1. No party space. No problem! Cakeapotamus is getting out of the party business to focus on the cake studio end of the business. May we recommend CyberZone?

2. Losing the bakery phone number. I think I've figured out a way to keep it. We'll know by Wednesday.

3. No place for cake pick ups. This was the big one. I don't want people coming to my house. Not that my clients aren't perfectly lovely. The people I make cakes for are the best people in the world! But I don't want all of y'all in my house. Have you ever seen my eye twitch when someone comes into my kitchen during a party? It'd be like that but with my whole house! Just no.
But then something extremely hopeful happened! It looks like our friends at CyberZone are building a small, grown-ups oriented area next to the arena. I don't want to share too much of the plan for the space, but Simon and Elaine say I can meet people there for Cakeapotamus cake pick ups! We love those guys. The current plan is to meet you guys up there for your cake pick ups. This is especially convenient if you're picking up a cake for a party at CyberZone, Bounce Zone, or O Town Ice Cream!

4. Otis. That stupid, vintage, nonworking Coke machine. I love that ridiculous 600 pound hunk of junk. But there's no place for it in my home. I was going to sell him, but I think, I think, Simon will let me put him in the new pick-up space. We believe he'll fit the decor.

5. Cabin Fever. Still not sure what to do about this one. The bakery is my happy place- and I adore the new kitchen! But I will need to get out of the house sometimes. Any suggestions on that one?

That's it. That's the update for now.
Cookies with Santa is this Saturday! Come get your pic made with Santa, kids decorate a cookie, and donate a toy to the Star Wars characters' Toys for Tots drive.

The moving sale is still on for the 17th. The tables, chairs, tea party linens and china, and bakery decorations are for sale! Come get some whimsy.

I'm so excited!

Monday, November 14, 2016

It's Been A Million Years...

I haven't blogged in a million years. I've just been too stinkin' busy! Party cakes and wedding cakes and cake classes and conventions and parties and princesses and the mildly haunted bakery and special events and private lessons and Make a Wish and... it's a lot.

It's a whole lot, you guys.

I miss writing. And I miss sewing. Oh, and sleeping! Sleeping was great.

And so, when an opportunity presented itself for me to get some more time in my day, I had to take it. If you've seen me in the last week or so, you've probably noticed the ridiculous smile on my face. I'm so excited about this! I haven't exactly been keeping it a secret... I'm too happy!

Cakeapotamus is moving!

Wanna know where?


I mean, we're staying in the Auburn area, of course. But that's part of it- the new location will be just a cake studio, not open to the public. And that's bittersweet. I am going to love working in the new space. But I have love, love, loved having the mildly haunted bakery. Most of the people who come through the doors have been wonderful! I've met friends, spun magic, created whimsy, and made some amazing memories. I'll share some of those memories in the days to come. Some. Not all. Some memories I'm going to keep just for me. When I decided to close the Pepperell Parkway location, I was sad.... for like a day. Then it was all blind excitement.

I will still make cakes. Actually, I hope to bring my skill level up when I don't have the other stuff to worry about. I'm not bad now, but I can get a lot better. I'll get to spend more time researching recipes and less time researching the industry standard for Cinderella performer eyeliner.  Making cakes is my joy and I will keep doing it. I'll deliver cakes or we'll meet up somewhere. There are a few locations I can think of... but the cake magic isn't going anywhere.

The party magic though... planning the parties at the cakepot has been INSANE fun. But it's very, very time consuming. And tiring. But I'll still gladly offer you whatever help I can in planning your future events. And you can still book the Cakeapotamus princesses through the Once Upon a Whimsy page. 

What else? The special events. Cakeapotamus will still be a part of our community events and will still support all those amazing things that make Auburn and Opelika the best place to live. We'll still be around. But this year's Cookies with Santa will be the last event at the mildly haunted bakery. I really hope you can all make it. And, of course, we'll still provide sweet treats to the local businesses that use us to spoil their customers. 

If you go into the bakery now, you'll see it looks different. See... the new space is much smaller and doesn't have a party space. So I'm selling almost everything out of the shop. All of those things I've been collecting over the last few years are up for grabs. If you're interested in anything, let me know! There will be a big sale one weekend in December. Of course I'm taking most of the cake gear with me, but if you're in the market for a vintage Coke machine or geeky toys... Oh, and if I have a picture of you on the wall, please come get it?

What else? I'm so excited about this, you guys! I know some people are going to be sad. I'm sorry. Thank you for loving the cakepot. It loves you, too. But more time to travel and teach... more time to work on my skills... more time with my family... fewer bills and overhead... no more upkeep on a very old building... it's time to move forward.

PLUS! I get to say the mildly haunted bakery was always profitable. And the mildly haunted bakery always had a 100 on its health inspection. And I have wicked strong biceps from hand mixing every single cake batter that's gone through the shop with a wire whisk and wicked strong wrists from all the piping.

Please be happy for me?

Friday, January 1, 2016

How Do We Get Those Characters?

I get asked this question fairly often from other cakers, clients, and people who want to be princesses at Cakeapotamus:

"Where do you get your characters?"

There is not a single answer to that. Here we go:

My princess hostesses are local college students who have strong singing and theater backgrounds. They are contracted... like sub contractors. I don't technically employ them- they're self-employed.

If you are interested in performing at Cakeapotamus as a princess, send a link to a 3-5 minute video of yourself talking and singing as your favorite princess in full makeup. Include a short description of yourself, your theater background, your experience with children. And expect a LOT of questions. I am VERY picky about who I allow around the kids at my bakery.

We are not affiliated with Disney and do not offer licensed princess characters at the bakery. Our princesses are based on original fairy tales.

The other party hosts:

My super hero, mad hatter, balloon twister, pirate, and other character hosts are NOT college girls. Obviously. They are professional performers who I've managed to cultivate a relationship with so that I can get them to perform at the bakery from time to time. These guys are amazing with kids and have, of course, been carefully screened.

If you are interested in performing at Cakeapotamus as party host, send an email to with your name, picture, and a short description of your theater background and experience with children. And expect a LOT of questions. I am VERY picky about who I allow around the kids at my bakery.

The Star Wars Characters:
These guys aren't mine. I don't employ them and they are not for hire.

The 501st is a fan-based costuming group. They're all volunteers who have Star Wars costumes that are screen accurate (or better). Their motto is "Bad guys doing good" and they do things like visit the children's hospital or raise money for charities. When there's a charity-oriented event at the bakery- like an Icing Smiles cake or the Toys for Tots collection- the 501st will sometimes come and lend us their presence.

For a bakery event that isn't charity-oriented or for private events, we can request the 501st come. The catch here is that most of the members live in the Birmingham or Huntsville areas- it's a drive for them. And since they're all volunteers... it can be tricky to get them to come. When they come for a non-charity event, the bakery makes a donation to a charity in the 501st's name. That way, they're still bad guys doing good.

The 501st IS affiliated with Disney and LucasFilm, LTD. That's why their costuming standards are so high and why they don't charge for appearances. If you are interested in joining the 501st, you can find more information on their web site.

There are other characters who have been at the bakery for charity events or other occasions.

Usually, these are specially requested characters who I track down in one way or another.

This pic was not taken at the bakery. But dadgumit, those kids got to meet R2-D2. In their jammies.
If you're looking for a particular character, let me know. Sometimes, I get lucky and can find them.

I only *wish* I could get Puddles to come to the bakery. 
Except for Santa. He's the real deal.

*I should get a cookie for all the costume pics I have that I didn't use, you guys. Gandalf and the Bandit!

Happy New Year!

There's a thing going around the cake world. There's always something going around the cake world. Today, it's the New Year's Resolutions for Cake Decorators.

I'm happy to say I started working on a few of these last year!

There are still a few I need to work on. 

I think Cake Style actually posted this last year. 

Here's to 2016 being a great year of sugar art!