We’ve had some life changes in the last couple of years and as a result there are some people that we just don’t see as often as we used to. Life is fluid. It moves and changes like the water in a river and sometimes people move in and out of our lives. We are always happily surprised, however, when doing cakes gives us the opportunity to reconnect with special people.
Such was the case a couple of months ago when I got a Facebook message from a friend that I hadn’t seen for a while. She had a special occasion that she was involved in and she needed a cake. It was a retirement party for some friends of hers. They were retiring from a ministry that they had all been involved in together for many years.
We didn’t even hesitate……there are some people that I will never say no to……and Anne is one of those people. Anne was one of the first people to ever request a cake from us. It was for a very special occasion…..her youngest son’s birthday. I remember feeling so excited and yet scared at the same time. That was our first big (size and scope) cake request. We were so honored that Anne had faith in us when we certainly didn’t have it in ourselves. As a matter of fact, I remember thinking, “Are you kidding me?…,” when she told us what she wanted. Half of me was terrified and the other half was jumping out of my shoes with excitement. She had requested an army cake and, as people so often do, left the creative details up to us. It was a stretching, growing experience for us and we welcomed the challenge.
(Notice that the soldies are plastic army guys…….that’s because we had no idea how to use gumpaste at that point!! However, I was pretty proud of my little tank-cake covered in fondant. We really had no idea what we were doing at that point!)
So when Anne came to us with a cake request, no matter what else we would have had scheduled, we would do the cake for her. We checked the schedule. We quickly realized that we would have to do some fancy footwork because she needed the cake on one of the days that we had crossed off the calendar for October. Our family sacrifices a lot for Megan and I to be able to do cakes and we had determined a long time ago that when we set aside time for special family events we would not let cakes interfere with that. Not any time for any reason, no way, no how…..well, maybe just this once………
If you’ve been reading our blog, or if you know us in person, you know that we are a close family and annual family traditions are very important to us. Every year, we set aside the day of the local Halloween parade. We sit in the same place on the same street, eating hot dogs, drinking coffee and cheering as the local school bands and businesses pass by. It is a truly a slice of ‘small town America’ and we love it!! This year’s parade would also be the first Halloween parade where my grandson, Thatcher, was really aware of what was going on. There is no way that we could miss it and yet this was the day that Anne was requesting the cake for.
Okay. We can work this out. There is no way that I was not going to the parade and there was also no way that we were going to say no to Anne. A clone would have come in handy.
We decided that, because of the timing of the parade, we would finish the cake and deliver it to Anne’s house and she would transport it to the party, however, the idea of someone else transporting one of our cakes made us slightly nervous. Because our cakes are so detailed with gumpaste and fondant components, we are usually very adamant about being the ones to deliver our cakes. We also don’t like to transport cakes with the gumpaste components already on the cake so there is usually some set-up involved as well. Since Anne would be transporting the cake, we would have to make sure that all the gumpaste components were in place and well secured for her to transport.
We got to work.
The cake was supposed to recreate the camp that the ministry owned and Anne was specific about some of the details that had to be included. She wanted pine trees, regular trees, a boat with a water skier, a lodge and a blob tower.
A blob tower?
What’s a blob tower?
So, this is what we go through when we begin to concepualize the cake.
Since we had never been to the camp in person, we needed to know the lay of the land. We went to Google maps to get a satellite view of the shape of the lake and where the main buildings were located. I couldn’t save a picture of the satellite map but you get the idea…..
The camp had recently constructed a new building so we were able to find the artist’s drawing on the contractor’s website of the new building.
We went to the website of the camp to get pictures of the blob tower for shape and color of the blob. In case you are wonding, as I did, what a blob tower is….it’s one of those towers on a lake that kids climb and jump off onto a huge inflated blob that is floating on the lake.
Next, since Anne would be transporting the cake instead of us, that meant that we would have to have all of the components in place when we delivered it to Anne. Because gumpaste can be fragile, we always tell people that we will have to do some setup when we deliver the cake. We never like to deliver the cake with the components in place. That can be a recipe for disaster involving pieces that cannot be reconstructed. So we had to spend a little time securing the components in ways that we wouldn’t normally have if we would have done construction on delivery.
Lastly, we researched the logo of the camp so that we could reproduce it on the cake.
I guess you could say that we are into details. But it’s what we do. It’s what makes our cakes, our cakes. And, we’ve said it many, many times before……the payoff for us is the response that we get when we deliver the cake and it’s usually because of the attention that we’ve given to the details. In this case, the payoff was huge. Anne cried. She wanted to know how we had been able to nail exactly what she was looking for in this cake.
And caring about the people that we do our cakes for.
Sometimes, there are some people that you just can’t say no to.