Today I am at home, awaiting 2 deliveries. The first is something I'm pretty excited about - it's an order of promotional materials for my book release. In particular, the order includes custom bookmarks. Yes! I'll have my own bookmarks! How insanely cool is that?
I used to love bookmarks when I was a kid. I loved going into book stores and pouring over their selection of bookmarks, weighing the options. What color tassle? Glitter, or no glitter? Unicorns? (Of COURSE I wanted glitter and unicorns!) Loved it.
The second delivery is something even more important, and I've been waiting for this day forEVER. My initial shipment of "The Spirited Baker: Intoxicating Desserts & Potent Potables" arrives today! I CANNOT wait to see them, the culmination of an insane amount of work between my husband (the photographer!) and I! Insane.. this feels so surreal.
Today feels like the biggest day of my life... well, second only to meeting/marrying my amazing husband. I'm such a dork about this.. but it just feels.. augh! Amazing, and nerve wracking, and everything!
So as I sit here waiting.. and waiting.. I'm reflecting on my career. It's been a wild ride, and we've had some really fun, amazing moments! Let's take a trip down memory lane, shall we? In no particular order, here are some of my favorite moments from the past few years:
Ah, w00tstock was awesome! 700 nerds and geeks under one roof, the comedic stylings of Paul and Storm and Wil Wheaton, appearances by Adam Savage, but also several "Mystery Science Theater 3000" guys there: Trace Beaulieu, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy... authors John Scalzi, and James Kakalios... running in to the guys from Thaco... watching Wil Wheaton "Lose his shit" over the cake I made... just epic. Check out the blog entry about it : here.
Over the past year, we've maintained excellent relations with the Klingon Empire, and it's been a blast!
Our initial involvement with Klingons came from working on Commedia Beauregard's production of "A Klingon Christmas Carol". A ridiculously awesome show... and an insane, 4' long Red Velvet Klingon Bird of Prey cake! Epic!
We later followed that up with being nominated for a fouffy local event industry award for that cake, and attended the fancy, red carpet awards show with an entourage of 4 fully-uniformed Klingons!
The invention of caffeinated baking mixes!
The title almost says it all, doesn't it. While we'd enjoyed moderate success with our modest line of baking mixes, I wanted to have some fun with it. I wanted to come up with a product that could/would be sold on ThinkGeek.com.. so I took my beautiful brownie mix recipe, added a ton of caffeine anhydrous and guarana seed extract to it, tweaked everything so that the caffeine flavor was completely covered up.. and a star was born! Each brownie made from the mix has the same amount of caffeine as a large cup of coffee, and are fudgy and delicious.
The brownie mix WAS eventually picked up by ThinkGeek.com, just months after its invention. Mission accomplished! The brownie mix was followed up with Jacked up Java cookie mix and Cranked up Chai blondie mix, both available from our online store.
Pioneering the art of "Cake Taxidermy"!
Foopmallet was one of our favorite groom's cakes ever. We love it when people order cakes that really represent their personalities and interests.. in our eyes, generic cakes are a little passe. So, when we met with Kirk and Amanda and received an order for the Kirk's World of Warcraft character as a cake, we loved it! Add to that the fact that we further personalized it by crafting a new flavor - Redbull, for Kirk and his gamer friends.
Well, Foopmallet apparently had too many hitpoints to be felled at the reception, and was still standing a month later. The decision was made to preserve the formerly-edible cake into a less biohazardous statue. Read all about the process - and see the photos - here!
Ace of Cakes
It was SO thrilling to find out that the Aces of Cakes themselves, Charm City Cakes not only knew about us, but were referring people to us. From time to time, they receive requests for cakes from Minnesotans.. who got passed our way. We were completely honored to find out about this! Oh, and btw.. they were big fans of the caffeinated cookies (from our mix!) that we sent as a thank you!
Learning to be ourselves
I've always been sort of an outsider to the wedding industry. I don't like being told what "has" to be done, I'm not huge on trends, I'm more for individual expression, free of societal expectation/intervention/guilt trips, etc. In 2009, we finally gave up on traditional wedding media & advertising, veering off on our own, unique marketing path. We stopped attending wedding shows - our personal idea of hell - stopped pursuing all of the traditional wedding marketing venues, and completely changed our focus.
Rather than aiming for any and all brides that could fit us in their budget, we focused on working with brides we like, that we WANT to work with, and who appreciate us. Fellow nerds and geeks, for the most part! It was a ballsy move at first, but has paid off with us being MUCH happier, having MUCH more interesting / artistically fulfilling cakes, and generally being treated with more respect. Awesome.
Having fun with cake competitions
As a former figure skater, I know how frustrating it can be to enter a competition, trying to live up to the expectations of whoever happened to be judging. Particularly as those expectations tended to seem random and arbitrary at times. Early on in my cake career, I decided to have fun with competitions. Take some rules as literally as possible, bend definitions, think outside the box.. whatever. Just have fun with it!
Twice, we've had the opportunity to really have fun with a competition. We submitted a "Tremors" themed wedding cake for a chocolate show competition - their only theme rule was that the wedding cakes had to be animal themed. Well.. graboids are animals, right?
Then, we were invited to compete in the "Czar of Cakes" challenge at the Minnesota Monthly Food & Wine Experience. The only real rules specified that the cakes had to be epic, and had to be Food/Wine themed. We could have done the wine/cheese thing.. but we decided to do a cake themed around "Silence of the Lambs". It was epic.
It got a ton of attention.. it was blogged about around the world, and actually sent us over our monthly bandwidth in one day! Most of all, it was a ton of fun. We have a ton of info and pics posted... click here & here for our blog entries about the Food & Wine themed contest cake. Also, click here for the blog entry about the Tremors cake.