Meet Christie of Christie’s Cakes – cake aficionado, flawless froster and an all around awesome lady. Not only did Christie take the time to meet with me and the FI on a family trip to Tacoma (since we couldn’t make it down to Yakima), but she also answered all our questions, led the conversation when we weren’t sure where to go next and brought some of the most amazing samples for us to taste test. Being involved in the wedding process for almost 12 years, Christie has a lot of solid information to share with brides-to-be that I couldn’t resist posting it for all of you. Thank you again, Christie! I’m so excited to see our cake on the big day!
How many years have you been baking cakes?
I am starting my 12th year…
How did you become interested in cake baking?
My mom is truly the best baker in our family; she makes the best cheesecake, so I grew up baking. I had a Holly Hobby oven at 6, and had my dad try ALL the flavors, all the colors. So years ago when my youngest brother was thinking his girlfriend was the one, I decided I would do their cake. After lots of practice, and offers from lots of guinea pigs (otherwise known as every friend of mine), I’ve gotten pretty good…
What is the hardest thing about baking/your job?
Having to tell people that I don’t have a spot left for their cake… I am one of those people with a talent who loves to share it, so I am always sad that I have to turn them away.
What do you love the most?
It is probably two fold, first, I love working through the planning with them, being creative, sometimes brides have no idea which look they are going for, and when I see that light bulb go on for them I realize I have just helped them create that special cake their biggest day. Second I love the finished product, and sometimes when I am lucky enough to be there when the bride sees the cake and smiles at me, I know I’ve been a part of that…. it’s a great feeling.
What is your best skill for cake decorating?
I listen to people, listen to their story, I think it helps me when I am decorating, and lots of patience!
You’re known for your whip cream frosting, why do you choose this one? I prefer the natural look it makes, and I love the taste. Some people have a specific look they are going for and while whip cream can’t re-create say a “Mad Hatter” type color scheme, but it can do most other looks.
On average, how long does it take to create a wedding cake and what’s involved in the process?
Every cake is different, but the time starts from the first meeting, shopping for the ingredients, baking, designing, cleanup, and delivery… sometimes it takes more time than I think, but I always make sure to leave myself plenty of time for each cake.
Does it seem like everyone is straying from the usual two or three tiered cake with plastic “husband and wife” perched on top, in favor of something a bit more unique?
The styles of the cake are sometimes offset or have both square and rounds together, or arranging individual cakes on separate stands. More and more often people are choosing flower toppers, monograms, or more comical ones like bobble heads, or the bride chasing the groom.
Are couples more interested in taste than design, or vice versa?
I think everyone expects to show up and see a pretty cake, but when it’s pretty and it tastes good, people will be talking about it for a week… I start with great family recipes, only book 2 cakes in a weekend, and never bake too early, freshness is critical to a great tasting cake!
What are your favorite types of cakes to create?
I love wedding cakes, they are so lovely, but I also love baby shower cakes with little pink accents and ruffles…… or maybe my individual Chocolate Fudge cake with Espresso touches!
Have you noticed any trends lately?
With the popular new shows like Cake Boss, people bring in pictures of cakes that cost several thousand dollars expecting for it to fit into their budget, those shows aren’t very realistic for what most people are looking to spend.
What are some of the common mistakes couples make when choosing a wedding cake?
I think people do more research, so I find brides do a pretty good job of knowing what they are looking for, I usually find the most common problem isn’t the cake, it’s the placement of the cake at the reception. I do try and suggest things that they might not think of, e.g., keep it away from windows, avoid hanging electrical cords, or exposed outlets. Make note of the things that are behind you in the pictures, sometimes these make for some laughs when the photos come back.
What tips can you offer to those shopping for cakes for their own weddings?
Bring pictures, the cake topper, and fabric swatches, it isn’t always necessary, but it helps to make sure we are thinking the same thing. Pick flavors that will appeal to most people, remember brides, you aren’t eating the whole cake! Many couples like to store the leftover cake in the freezer for their first anniversary, what storage tips can you offer?
I would say about half of my brides intend to save their top tier, so I suggest that they put it in the box, put it in the freezer and then when they come back from their honeymoon, take it out, wrap it in plastic wrap, put it back in the box, and then plastic wrap the whole box….
Are there any interesting “wedding cake” stories or mishaps you’d like to share?
I have flown to Hawaii to do several cakes, and going through the airport with cake decorating supplies raised a few eyebrows! Checking my cake luggage sure didn’t stop me from going again though!