Posts made in December, 2013

A Year In Perspective: 2013

Posted by on Dec 19, 2013 in A Piece of Cake- Blog | 0 comments

Happy 4 year anniversary to my business! This year has been one heck of a roller coaster ride with extreme highs and lows. Highlights included: – Quitting the Engineering industry to do the bakery business full time (prepared or not, this was the scariest decision of my life) – Focusing on the wedding industry – Participating in bridal shows – Designing and executing my first animatronic cake (Daft Punk Cake follow link here to my blog) – WINNING AN INDUSTRIAL REFRIGERATOR!!! thank you Intuit!!! – Pushing the envelope on my designs – Getting published on Cake Central, top engineering websites, and many wedding blog sites including Style Me Pretty!! I learned so much this year! At times I found myself overwhelmed with different emotions- my experiences have made me laugh, smile, cry, and want to shove my face into a pillow and scream 🙂 I enjoyed all of my growing pains and look forward to 2014!! The 5th year is going to be THE year of pushing the envelope. BRING IT!!!! The best two cakes I created in 2012 are the following: Now let’s look at some of the 2013 highlights:      ...

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Bridal and Food Shows- Tips for (Cake) Vendors

Posted by on Dec 14, 2013 in A Piece of Cake- Blog | 9 comments

This year I dabbled into the world of food and bridal shows and it was a whirl wind of an experience. I made a lot of mistakes and thought I’d share some of the insight I gained from my experiences! After participating in five different shows, I am ready to take a break!! Things you should do: 1. Do your research on the event. Have they had a show before? If yes, try to find pictures from previous shows. This allows you to see two things: a) the demographics (this is important if you have a target audience for your products) b) you can see how other vendors have set up their booths! I’ll tell you one thing: I NEVER got the latter right! The first bridal show I attended the vendors went ALL out- they had curtains, chandeliers, fancy floors and diamonds everywhere… whereas my booth looked like this: Granted, I had a lot of future brides approach my booth as if it was a breath of fresh air since I wasn’t decked out, but I still felt like a peasant amongst kings.  The next couple of shows I attended didn’t really give me the opportunity to dress up my space, up until the one I did recently. I decided to rent drapes, cocktail tables and pretty linens… I was the ONLY one who was decked out! haha! I never got it right.  This time I was the Queen and the rest were the peasants 😉 If you decide to deck out your space, expect to spend $200+ for the rentals! If you’re in Los Angeles, I’d recommend renting from White Night Design! Great products and incredible service! 2. Choose your events carefully and ask yourself this: what do I want to gain from this event? Is it exposure? Is it clients? Is it new vendor relations? Depending on your answer, an event might not be the right fit for you. I realized that food shows are not a right fit for my goals. Instead of people focusing on my business, they were focused on gulping down my cake samples! It wasn’t until I was all out of samples that people started noticing my display cakes! 3. How many cake samples you want to prepare is completely your choice! I made 200 for my bridal show and I barely got through 100. I made 800 for the food show and they were gone within an hour. I prepared my samples the following way: I cut 1″ squares, placed them in plastic souffle cups, added a swirl of frosting and then added a logo sticker on each container. This made it easier for me to transport and I thought it would be cool to give guests a “to go” sample in case they didn’t want to consume sweets right there and then. In hindsight, I realize that this isn’t the most cost effective thing to do. Most guests eat the sample and toss the container without evening looking at the label. If I decide to do another show, I now plan on taking sheet cakes to the event to cut and serve on site. 4. The loading dock will become your enemy. Not only will other vendors take up prime location, most loading docks are far from the hall you have to present in. Prepare for many back and forth trips (if you’re like me you’ll make friends with the staff and have them help you). Also, if you’re going to take a van make sure the parking structure will be high enough to give your car clearance. I ran into that problem recently at the Hyatt hotel. I had to end up giving my van to the valet guys and they parked it in their drive way. Stay classy my friends! 5. EAT BEFORE YOU GO TO THE SHOW. it will be your last meal for the next 10 hours. Leaving your booth will be tricky, especially if you’re the head honcho and are the one who needs to talk to the guests. Pack some food with you...

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Strawberry Panna Cotta

Posted by on Dec 3, 2013 in Recipes | 0 comments

While traveling in South America I decided to make strawberry panna cotta for the first time. I made a large batch (as pictured) so I will explain how to scale down the recipe. Ingredients: 750 mL of heavy whipping cream 1 cup granulated sugar (you can add more or less, depending on your sweet tooth) 2 lbs strawberries 1/4 cup granulated sugar 3 packets of unflavored gelatin (approximately 21g) 8 tablespoons of cold water *to scale down divide everything by 2 Directions: In a large bowl add the 8 tablespoons of cold water and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Allow to sit until the gelatin dissolves into a large blob. Finely chop 1lb of strawberries and place into a sauce pan. Add the 1 cup of granulated sugar and mix well. Turn on the stove on high heat and allow the sugar and strawberries to come together for 2-3 minutes. You want the sugar to draw out the sweetness of the strawberries. Add the heavy cream to the compote and allow to come to a mild boil while stirring continuously. You want the mixture to be warm enough to melt the sugar, and later the gelatin. Once the mixture is nice and hot (but not at a full boil), remove from heat. Using a handheld mixer, blend the mix to remove big chunks of strawberries. Pour this mixture onto the gelatin and mix until gelatin is dissolved. Pour the panna cotta into your desired bowl- it’s easiest to pour into small dessert bowls or champagne glasses (presentation is very important). Try to make a clean pour so the sides of your glass/bowl don’t get stained with the panna cotta (again, presentation is important). Place in refrigerator for 3-4 hours. note: when you remove from the refrigerator condensation will form along the glass flutes or the bowl. Using a paper towel to carefully remove the condensation drops! 🙂 Compote topping: Vertically slice the remaining strawberries and place into a bowl. Add the sugar and uniformly mix into the strawberries. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the sugar to draw out the juices from the strawberries- about 1 hour. Garnish your panna cotta with the compote for a beautiful presentation and voila! Bon...

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