Tuesday, August 12, 2014
When Katie and her groom, Jon, decided what they wanted their wedding cake to look like, they were surprised when they were met with expressions of concern and hesitation from many cake designers.
Sure, their request was a little unconventional, but awesome nonetheless: The couple wanted to blend a traditional cake design with a theme of Jon’s choosing, which so happened to incorporate the Nashville skyline and the superhero, Batman. But here’s the cool part: The couple wanted to have both designs on one cake, instead of opting to have two.
The groom’s half
After finding pictures of “half and half” cake designs online, Jon set to work to bring his touch to his half of the cake. The cake featured the helmet of Batman as the cake topper, the Nashville cityscape on one tier and the “Batmobile” on the final tier.
"Other cake designers had expressed concern and hesitation in putting Batman elements on a wedding cake, but The Cupcake Collection was excited by the idea and worked with us to make sure it all came together. The design was sketched out right in front of me, and they were quick to respond to any questions I had. Deciding which flavors to chose out of all they offered was definitely the hardest part," says Katie.
The bride’s half
Katie wanted a cake that would look beautiful in pictures, reflecting the couple's casual, yet classy Southern wedding theme. She also wanted the taste of the cake to be something their guests remembered, and knew The Cupcake Collection would deliver their wishes deliciously.
The theme: Half casual, yet classy Southern, half Batman-inspired with Nashville’s skyline
The concept: A blend of the traditional wedding cake with the groom’s cake, featuring two themes
The flavors: Red Velvet, Cookies ‘N Cream, Strawberry Lemonade
The look: Three tiers, simple, yet elegant in design featuring flowers, fondant and ribbon on one half; a Batman helmet as the cake topper, Batman logo, Nashville skyline and “Batmobile” images on the other half
The result: What did the couple love most about their wedding cake? The guests’ reactions to the half-and-half approach and the delicious flavors!
Photography: Rob Mould Photography
Monday, July 14, 2014
Those bright, yellow signs at restaurants always catch my eye because I want to make sure that I dine at restaurants committed to the proper handling of what they serve me.The health code signs are required to be posted for the public and include all of the things that a restaurant has done correctly or incorrectly to ensure your food is safe to eat.
What you may not know is that when you hire your cake artist and wedding caterer, you should also be asking for their health code score. After all, you are hiring them to feed 200 of your closest friends and family and it's your job to keep them safe.
Vicki of Signature Cakes by Vicki is a Nashville cake artist that has maintained a perfect,100 health code score dating back to 2012! This is not an easy feat, but it does show that Vicki and her staff not only make great looking and tasting cakes but they are also made in a way to minimize health issues for your guests.
We reached out to Vicki, who is an authority on the subject, to learn more about her health score and also discuss what you, as a bride or groom, might want to consider as you hire a cake/catering professional.
What does it mean to get a score of 100 from the Tennessee Department of Health?
A score of 100 is very hard to receive and maintain. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “you have to have all your “I’s” dotted and your “T’s” crossed.” Besides having to be immaculately clean (you know, eat off the floor clean) you have to know and perform every rule of law according to the Tennessee Department of Health. And believe me, there are a plethora of rules! Here’s an example of the kind of attention to detail that the health inspectors are notorious for.
The first time I was inspected in my new bakery before we opened, the health inspector asked me, “Do you wash your pans and utensils from left to right or right to left.” I looked at the triple sink and thought to myself, obviously there’s a right answer here. In all my years of working in commercial kitchens, that was a new one on me. I replied, “I know that there is a correct way, would you please instruct me.” She replied, “Since your hand washing sink is on the left next to the triple sink, you must wash from left to right. That will put your dirty utensils on the left. That means that if you have any splash and contamination from washing your hands, it will splash on to dirty equipment, not clean utensils. The clean utensils will be all the way to the right side sink board.”
There are rules for storage. There are rules for materials that cabinets and counters are made from and coated with. There are rules for temperature for the refrigerators and temperature of the water. There are even rules about what type of light bulbs you are allowed to put in the fixtures. That very first inspection I received a 99 instead of a 100 because my broom’s bristles were touching the floor and the rule of law is that the broom must be upside down, bristles up. Since then, our score has been 100 for inspections running the last two years.
Cake has a customized designed vase in fondant with sugar paste flowers
How many cake professionals are typically this highly regarded?
It is very difficult to receive a 100 and even more difficult to maintain it - there are few who do. I suggest that brides and grooms ask to see the current inspection report that should be posted in every bakery. If they do not see it, they can log on to the Tennessee Department of Health website (dogwood.healthspace.com/tdh) and put in the name of the bakery/restaurant to see the history of their scores. If you cannot find the bakery in question, ask the bakery what name is on their license/permit.
A lot of brides consider family friends or casual bakers versus professionals to do their wedding cake. But, these folks do not have a health score. What does this impact? Why does it matter that a bride hire a cake artist with a health score?
Health scores are provided by the Tennessee Department of Health to protect and inform the public. Could your family, friends or cake amateur do a good job? Possibly, but the standards set by the health department are in place to protect the public from bacteria, germs and disease. For instance, we are provided with a disclaimer issued by the health department that each staff member must sign. It requires each worker to STAY HOME if they are sick. They make the commitment to do that and the owner of the company expects them to abide by it. That is just one example of providing a safe environment for the production of your wedding cake.
Do pros usually have some sort of liability insurance when it comes to food poisoning or other things that might impact the health of their guests?
Yes, they should and usually do. We do. It is not required by the State but is required by certain professional organizations like TWESA.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in 2012. The photos have been updated with Vicki's most recent Nashville wedding cakes. The health score has also been updated with the latest score.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Holly and Carl were married in December at Nashville's up-and-coming Marathon Village. They wanted their wedding to be elegant, yet not too formal, and romantic! How did they do it? They opted for lighting, candles, flowers, and downtown Nashville as their back drop. They also selected a wedding cake that was nothing short of romantic elegance. In other words, they nailed it!
Here's how they collaborated with Signature Cakes by Vicki (signaturecakesbyvicki.com) to design their Nashville wedding cake.
How did you find Signature Cakes by Vicki?
I heard about Signature Cakes from a friend of a friend. We were discussing our wedding, and we hadn't found anyone to do our cake yet. Signature Cakes was brought up immediately. They had nothing but good things to say about Vicki and how delicious her cakes are.
What inspired your cake?
I wanted our cake to match the vision of our wedding. Elegant. I specifically picked this cake because of the gold accents and how it fit mine and Carl's style.
How did you approach the design for your wedding cake? Did you take pictures to Vicki or did you meet with her and answer questions about your dress, etc.?
I began looking for cake ideas on Pinterest. I had many favorites, but I kept coming back to this one. It just seemed right for the feel I wanted on our wedding day. Carl and I met with Vicki. I showed her several pictures of different cakes, but this one remained my favorite! We talked colors, tiers, flavors, and the vision for our wedding. My favorite part, besides tasting all of her wonderful flavors, was seeing her sketch a drawing of what our cake would look like!
What did you want most from your cake - great design, taste, specific details?
I wanted our guests to really enjoy our cake. Not only did I want it to be beautiful, but I wanted it to taste great! I've been to so many weddings where the cake was just average. We had guests going back for seconds and even asking where it came from weeks later!!
What surprised you about the experience of designing your cake?
I knew how great Vicki's cakes tasted and how beautiful they were, but I never imagined it would be such a hit!! I think we even had one guest call Vicki to see how much her cakes were just to have one for herself and her family!!
What were your cake flavors? Did you have them custom designed or were they standard?
We picked our cake flavors from the options that Vicki offered. They were: orange cream, spice cake, and a chocolate hazelnut flavor.
What did you like most about your cake?
I loved how beautiful our cake was. It was one of my favorite parts of our wedding. I loved that it was such a hit, and I really loved getting to know Vicki and working with her!
In the bride's words, "It all came together really well!" We agree!
Photos: Celladora Photography (celladoraweddingphotography.com), a Nashville wedding photographer
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Katharina and Joe wed last June at Shadowbrook Castle, a beautiful Tudor-style home in Joelton, Tenn. They turned to Signature Cakes by Vicki to create their wedding cake. Given the unique nature of their cake, I had to learn more about their vision and design process.
Yes, Pinterest and wedding blogs offer great inspiration. But, use those sources for ideas, not full duplication. Partner with a talented Nashville cake artist like Vicki and design your dream cake! Here's how Katharina did it...
What was the vision for your wedding?
Our vision was very eclectic – just a combination of various elements that represent things we love. The one theme that we carried throughout was the Tudor Rose. I incorporated these blue and green flowers into our save-the-dates, invitations, and programs, and into the cake that Vicki designed for us! I also wanted nature to be a big part of our wedding day; specifically, I wanted a water feature. Despite being very different in our interests and personalities, Joe and I developed a love of kayaking together, and so I wanted this common passion to be a part of our day.
How did you find Signature Cakes by Vicki?
I started with a Google search for wedding cakes in Nashville, and Signature Cakes came up within the first few results. I looked at several different websites, but after perusing Vicki’s cake gallery, I decided that she must be the one to create our cake!
What inspired your cake?
My inspiration was the Tudor Rose theme, and the theme of running water. I did not want a traditional-looking cake, and originally, I thought I wanted a waterfall cascading down one side (to represent “taking the plunge”). I had begun my search for a kayaking cake topper long before the final design was complete!
How did you approach the design for your wedding cake? Did you take pictures to Vicki or did you meet with her and answer questions about your dress, etc?
We met with Vicki in person and brought along pictures of my dress, of the Tudor Rose emblem, and of cake details that I loved. Luckily, Joe and Vicki talked me out of the full-fledged waterfall in favor of the incredible three-dimensional grass cascade, with a small romantic pond on top for the kayakers.
What did you want most from your cake?
I wanted our cake to be unique; my husband wanted it to be tasty. In the end, we were both very happy!
What surprised you about the experience of designing your cake?
I was delighted by how well Vicki listened to our ideas, and created the most perfect design for us, despite what I felt were my own vague specifications of “unique, with flowers, water, and kayakers.” I was also surprised by how delicious the cake hiding under the beautiful fondant was!
Signature Cakes by Vicki is known for offering couples a different flavor with each layer! What were your cake flavors? Did you have them custom designed or were they standard?
Our flavors were white chocolate and spice cake, both of which we sampled at our meeting with Vicki. Vicki offered a wide variety of flavors, all of which were amazing. I was so glad that this was one decision that my husband wanted to help with! In fact, he still reminisces about those samplers, and looks forward to the day that we have another occasion to ask Vicki to create another cake for us (as do I!).
What did you like most about your cake?
I loved all of the details in the design and the flavors, and the impression it had upon my guests and myself has been thrilling and lasting. I was late to my ceremony, and had to rush past guests to the changing room upon my arrival. I finally saw the cake just as I was waiting to step out onto the balcony and walk down the aisle, and it took my breath away. It was an incredible work of art, and it perfectly encompassed everything that I had wanted not just in our cake, but in that whole day.
Photos: Lauren Mouser Photography from Louisville, KY.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
When I was planning my 2012 wedding, I knew that I wanted to do something special for our wedding cake, especially since I didn’t want a traditional tiered cake. Coming from a family filled with bakers, including a cousin who makes wedding cakes, I thought it would be great to include a recipe that is close to my heart. My Grandma is an incredible baker and it is common for her Viennese Torte recipe to show up on birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions.
Since my family members were traveling from Canada to Nashville for our wedding, they weren’t able to do the baking, so I approached my friend Abby at Creative Crumbs Nashville. Luckily she agreed to using my family’s recipe, and she did an incredible job! We all enjoyed having this cake at the wedding, and even my Grandma signed off on her creation! She was really moved that we included her recipe on our special day, and it meant so much to me to share that with her.
A moment with grandma on my wedding day
Abby also made a surprise chocolate groom’s cake, decorated with Snoopy and piano keys, which my husband loved. It was great to have these two yummy cakes at our wedding - and they looked incredible too!
If you’re looking for an unconventional wedding cake, or want to include a family recipe on your wedding day, be sure to check out my interview with Creative Crumbs below.
What was it like using a family recipe to make the cake for our wedding?
It was a bit intimidating! Making wedding cakes takes lots of time and energy, but to have the opportunity to make a special family recipe added a little extra pressure. Especially since your grandmother was going to be there....I didn't want to mess up!
It was also so special, it really made me feel like more a part of the day. Weddings are such intimate events, really the biggest day in most people's lives, and making cakes for that most special of days never gets old or routine. Being trusted with your grandmother's recipe was such an honor. I love making each cake unique to each bride and groom, and using a family recipe was such a unique way to do that.
How was this process different from other wedding cakes you have made?
It definitely took a little more work ahead of time. When I use my recipes, I know how much batter I need to make a certain size cake, how long the cakes need to bake, how much they rise, and so on. But since this was a new recipe, I made several test batches in the weeks prior to the wedding to ensure that everything was perfect. My roommate didn't mind the extra cake either!
Have you made any other cakes from special or family recipes?
I've had the chance to make one other recipe. The groom from a wedding last summer requested his aunt's Hummingbird cake recipe as one of the flavors. I was really glad to have his grandmother's recipe because I had never even heard of a Hummingbird cake!
What is your favorite recipe that your family has passed down? (I'm assuming there are a few other bakers in your family!)
I'm actually not sure where the baking gene came from! I used to bake bread and muffins as a kid, but I usually came up with my own recipes. (I'm notorious for not following recipes).
My favorite recipe is probably my grandmother's fudge recipe. She used to make it for Christmas every year, and I distinctly remember making it with her one year so she could show me all the little tricks. I still have the note card she wrote the recipe on, which is such a lost art in the day of looking up recipes online.
Is there anything else you'd like our readers to know about making a custom cake with you?
No idea is too big or too small. Whether it's a specific recipe, a flavor idea, or a design element, I love all the little things that make each cake special.
To talk to Creative Crumbs, you can visit their location at 707 Porter Rd in East Nashville, call at (615) 260-3660, or email email@example.com. You can also see more of their cakes online at www.creativecrumbsnashville.com.
Photos: Five By Five Photography & Design