Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Upgrade Your Lighting!

I recently had some light fixtures replaced, and  in the process discovered what a complete difference the type of bulb you use will make.

Now, I knew that different types of light bulbs would throw out different colors of light, but this was a really dramatic example, so I took a picture.

The two bulbs on either end are regular compact fluorescent bulbs. The one in the middle is a "daylight" bulb that supposedly mimics the color of normal sunlight.

Using the sunlight bulbs makes a dramatic difference in the colors that we're seeing in the house. And it can probably make a dramatic difference in the colors on a cake.

I assume that everyone has had the same experience that I have, where you have a flower or icing that's perfectly matched to a color, then you get it to the venue and it looks different. This is why. The venue probably has a different type of lighting than your workspace does, so it affects how the cake looks.

Since there's no good way to mimic the light in every venue for each cake, and the human eye will adjust and see colors in relation to the other things around them in whatever space they're in, there's no reason to try to mimic the lighting in venues in your work area. But just for your own information, the daylight bulbs are much nicer than the yellower light the fluorescent bulbs create. Look for bulbs that say "daylight" on them the next time you're buying replacements and see what I mean.

And in the meantime, tell customers that you can't guarantee 100% accurate matches on colors. It just isn't going to happen all the time!

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA, and cake decorating supplies online at and

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What To Include In A Cake Contract

First, I did this video this morning when I was semi-caffeinated, so it's not perky and energetic, sorry about that. Not that I'm ever perky, but if I get enough caffeine in me I could be energetic.

Second, if you take nothing away from this other than GET YOUR CONTRACT CHECKED OUT BY AN ATTORNEY I've done a good job.

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA, and online cake supplies at and

Friday, August 28, 2015

How To Qualify Cake Customers And Save Everyone Some Time

I did a short video on how to qualify a cake customer:

In case you prefer to be able to "quick scan" things and you fall asleep while watching videos like I do, these are the basics:

-Start by asking when they need the cake to make sure you're available.

-If you're available, ask where the reception will be to make sure you deliver there.

-If you deliver there, ask what the guest count is and what budget they want to stay within. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION TO ASK, DON'T SKIP IT! You need to make sure their expectations fit within your price structure or they're going to be really disappointed and waste their time and yours!

-If their budget seems right for your pricing, set up an appointment.

-If their budget won't work with your pricing, explain that you can't do it for that and tell them what the price of a cake for their guest count would be. You need to spell it out so they know what they're dealing with.looking at price-wise if they hired you.

-If they say that your prices are too high, ridiculous, it's just a cake, whatever, DON'T TAKE IT PERSONALLY. Don't feel the need to defend yourself by telling them how expensive your ingredients are and how much time you put into everything. That's their budget so they don't care. Tell them that if things change and they'd like to talk to you again they can call back, and offer a referral to a lower-cost bakery that might be able to help them.

-If they just seem disappointed tell them that you're sorry you can't help, but if things change and their budget changes to please call you back and you can see if you can work with them.

-Remember that an inquiry is not an order! Don't do sketches, plan designs, or give ideas to clients before they give you a deposit and a signed contract. This will save you time and effort, and you won't be working for free. Doing sketches and designs before getting a contract and deposit is working for free. No, no, no.

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at and

Monday, August 24, 2015

How To Make Quick Succulents With A Strip Cutter

You can make quick succulents using strip cutters, or flower cutters that have been cut open, in order to make them any size you need them to be. If you use flower cutters you're limited to the sizes that the cutters are, but adapting the cutters and using strip cutters gives you a lot more flexibility.

The succulents with pointy tips (there are many varieties so you can just make "fantasy" ones) look a lot like flowers, depending on the centers that you use. In this pictorial I used a center that you could adapt to make chrysanthemums too.

You can make them from the inside out or from the outside in. This video shows how to make them from the inside out:

I've described how to make them from the outside in in the second part of the video, but here's a pictorial:

Start with a disc of gumpaste and put some gum glue on it. Cut a strip of gumpaste petals either using a cutter that you make from aluminum cookie cutter material, or by cutting out a flower shape and then cutting that shape open

Put some gum glue on the disc, then start layering the strip of petals  on the outer edge of the disc.

Continue adding strips of the petals and work into the center of the disc in a spiral that goes toward the center.

As you work your way in, use a smaller strip cutter so that the petals are smaller at the inner part of the succulent. Pinch the petals at their bases if you need to so that they overlap correctly.

When you get to the center, either make a separate center by coiling up a strip of smaller petals and inserting it into the center, or by pulling a wired center through the middle.

(Or use a wired center)

Let the succulent dry thoroughly. Put it in a piece of tinfoil and curve it so that the succulent dries in a curved shape. You can also put some kleenex or paper towels under the petals so that they stand up in a more rigid way while they dry.

This is what it looks like from the back:

Metal strips to make cutters are available here: R&M Make A Cookie Cutter Kit Refill Kit in Durable, Economical, Tinplated Steel (affiliate link)

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA and cake decorating supplies online at or

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Fairy and Butterfly Cake

This cake was a display that I made to list a kit for the fairy and butterfly design in my shop.

The fairy and butterflies are made from wafer paper, but you could easily do them from gumpaste. But to attach a wafer paper image to a tier that's shorter than the image is, here's the how-to.

 Roll out a piece of gumpaste about 1/8" thick and brush piping gel or corn syrup onto it. press the wafer paper image onto the sticky surface and make sure that it adheres all over the edges.

Use a sharp exacto to cut out the image so that the gumpaste will form a backing support for it.

Make sure to remove all of the gumpaste from the small areas.

Attach the gumpaste-backed image to the cake. You might want to wait until it hardens up a little, but I just do it before it dries so that I can make the shape conform to the shape of the cake. Be careful not to rub the front of the image because the wafer paper might rip if it's still wet.

That will attach the image to the cake and give it some support. Even if it's taller than the tier it won't curl or slump.

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA, and cake decorating supplies online at and