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Thursday, October 7, 2010

I was invited to write an article for a Cake Decorating blog and was taken completely by surprise this request!  My first thought was, how do I write an article when there are so many talented Cake Artist that have already been showcased?   How will I compare to them? What kind of tips and tricks can I give?  Well, that’s why I am going to do something a little different here.  It all started in the spring of 2006.

I was working as a Software Developer for a large Credit Union.  I had to take some time off for disability in order for my arm to heal after having nerve surgery.  Well 12 weeks turned into a year and I was going crazy at home not being able to do much with my left arm.  After the surgery I developed Chronic Pain Syndrome (due to nerve damage) on top of the fact of already having fibromyalgia, and migraines, it really took a toll on my body and my mind.  I needed to find something that would get me out of the house and that was relaxing.  Little did I know that this 12 weeks would turn into what is now going on almost 5 years without any possibilities at this point of going back to work full time I am now classified as permanently disabled.  You’re probably thinking what has all this got to do with Cake Decorating, right?  Well, my story continues.......... 

My first thought was Cake Decorating.  I had always wanted to do this but never thought I had the talent, every beautiful cake I ever saw I envied the talent behind it!  Besides, this was something that I had no previous experience with so I would not have to re-learn how to do anything different with my left hand, which was a bonus.  Anyway, in April of 2007, into the local Michael’s store I went and registered for the next 4 Cake Decorating classes.  After the first class I was hooked!!  From there my passion (and my mass collection of books and tools) grew.  To keep up with different techniques and things that I had learned online, I made cakes for my family’s birthdays so that I could practice until I could make the cakes for friends and be proud of them.

In the spring of 2009 a family friend contacted me about doing their wedding cake.  Well I have to tell you that I was so scared I thought I would die!  So I booked an appointment for her and her fianc√© to come over and have a tasting (I had read somewhere that it was the right thing to doJ).  About a week later they arrived at the arranged time and they were a bit surprised by what they saw.  On the table I had set out a nice plate of 4 mini cakes, all different flavours, some with buttercream icing and some with fondant, so they could taste the difference as well as see it, a little bouquet of sugar Roses in a couple different shades of purple, white and some filler flowers, which I let her take home with her (I found out the brides colors during our phone interview).  I also made up some cake balls, which they absolutely loved!  The following is a picture of the table setting that I had for them when they arrived.

Picture 1

To my surprise (this was my first appointment for a wedding cake after all) they decided that they wanted me to make their wedding cake.  I started on the design right then and finished it off after they left, sent it to them and received approval without any changes.  I was walking on a cloud, and now I wanted it to be Wedding week so I could start ............... LOL, I know, I was a little anxious (and scared), but this was my first big cake for someone that I really didn’t know!                       
 Picture 2

After the couple left, I was so happy that I started working on my MIL’s 86th Birthday cake.  We were not having a big family thing, people were dropping in off and on throughout a couple of days so I thought that I would make her an individual cake with one of the mini’s that I had left over from my baking batch for the cake tasting.  She absolutely loved it and so did everyone else who admired it before she ate it.

Picture 3

My first Wedding cake in August 2009 was a success.  There were a few things that I learned from this project.  The most important ones are that fact that if you don’t knead your fondant enough it will not have a smooth finish (it looked like little pinholes all over).  The second problem I had with the fondant was that it shrunk up from the bottom, so make sure when you trim the excess fondant off that you don’t trim it too close, leave it a little longer for shrinkage J  Here is a picture of the Wedding Cake at the location:

Picture 4

Picture 5

This leads me to the end (or beginning) of this story, there is one more thing.  In early 2009 or maybe it was late 2008, I entered a contest to have your cakes, cupcakes and cookies showcased in an upcoming book called “1000 Ideas for Decorating Cupcakes, Cookies & Cakes” I thought what the heck it can’t hurt, right?  A couple of months had passed and I had almost forgotten about the submissions when I received an email notifying me that 2 of my photos had been approved for the book (see Picture 3 & 4 above).  WOW, I was walking on a cloud and couldn’t believe what I was reading.

Not too shabby for a beginner cake decorator with a disability (I think I can call myself that now and be proud of it).  So this article is more of a “You can do anything, if you want it” than a tips and tricks.  There may be someone else out there reading this that had the same thoughts as me or that is struggling with a disability and I wanted to give them inspiration to go out and try something new!

Thanks for stopping by, take care



  1. Fantastic and inspiring article Annette! Well said, well written, and thank you for leaving the link to your blog on mine! Look forward to meeting you in person:)

  2. Thank you so much for you comment, it really means a lot to me that you took the time to read this long winded post :-)



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