Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wedding Cakes on a Budget

Just because you can't afford to spend $1,000.00 on a wedding cake doesn't mean you can't get a great tasting and elegant looking cake.  Know your budget, know your limits, but still know that there are always possibilities out there.  Many of us cannot afford to spend a lot of money, but still want some cake.  Though budget determines a lot, there are ways to have your cake and eat it too!

For more information read the following article:

For more cake tips check back soon!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tips on the Perfect Pound Cake

Curious how to get that pound cake recipe to turn out the photo on the recipe?  Who wouldn't!  Try these tips and tricks as well as the recipe provided in my article!

For more tips and articles check back here or at  Follow me on Twitter!

Kali's Top 10 Wedding Venues

Not sure where to host your wedding this year?  I have reviewed my favorite Top 10 Venues out here in the Salt Lake area.  You can find my article at Kali's Top 10 Venues.

Have a friend or family member getting married?  Share the site with them!  I'm sure they will appreciate it.  It's hard to know what venues allow what, cost the most, or even have the right appeal.  At least now you have a good idea about where to start your search.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


August 17, 2010

On August 17th, I did a small catering job and wedding cake for a bride named Shurna.  They met me at the Utah Bridal Expo this year at South Towne.  The event was held at Le Jardin in Sandy.  I have been to this venue about five times now.  For those of you who have never been there, it's a set of greenhouses.  They are full of flowers, stone walkways, and gorgeous arches.  It's a really pretty venue.  My only problem with this venue is that it gets really warm.  It is, after all, a greenhouse.

Le Jardin

Shurna ordered a Romantics Platter which is chocolate covered strawberries, pretzels, butter cookies, and marshmallow bon bons.  She also ordered the Cookie and Brownie Platter which consists of brownies and assorted cookies.  Her colors were pink, gold, and white and she was going for a very elegant theme to the entire wedding.

Le Jardin was about 75-80 in there.  It was hot.  Not a good place for chocolate covered items.  I placed each tray upon another tray filled with ice.  However the chocolate was getting soft no matter what.  I had warned the bride of this previously though.  So there wasn't much to be done.  It was a beautiful reception.

Trays and Set Up

I placed rose petals around the trays and labeled each tray as well

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate Covered Butter Cookies and Brownies

White Fondant with Gold Pearls
Serves 125

Strawberry Swirl with Chocolate and Vanilla Creme Filling

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Buttercream: Move Aside Betty Crocker!

I get a lot of clients that really do not know what buttercream is.  Many compare buttercream with "frosting".  Frosting being that canned crud you find in the grocery store (Sorry Betty Crocker, it's true).  It's overly sweet, grainy, and stiff.  Basically it is the definition of "gross".  A lot of people do not know how to make buttercream, therefore they buy this little jar and call it golden. Well lets fix that today, shall we?

First of all, there are several types of buttercream (and no, Betty Crocker or Pillsbury jar frostings are not one of them):

Simple or American Buttercream - This is your standard buttercream that many homemakers use and even some commercial bakeries.  It consists of fats creamed together and then powdered sugar beaten in.  Flavorings and colors can easily be added to this batch.

Decorators Buttercream - This is also known as "Rose Paste".  It is creamed much less than Simple Buttercream and used for decorations (i.e. roses).

Pastry Cream Buttercream or German Buttercream - Made by beating together pastry cream and softened butter.  Not a very stable buttercream and is usually used for fillings.

Italian Buttercream or Swiss Buttercream - Boiled water and sugar (simple syrup) is cooked to the softball stage and poured over beaten egg whites.  Butter, flavorings, and colors are then added.  This is the most stable form of buttercream and is used by many wedding cake decorators and bakeries.  This buttercream has an eggy aftertaste at times.

Buttercream Fondant - Made by beating equal parts of buttercream and fondant until smooth.  Does not harden over like normal fondant, but is much more pliable. However, in high heat this tends to break down.

Which is better?
Well depends on the use.  If you are just making a simple round for a family party, go with the Simple or American Buttercream.  If you are making a wedding cake or have a larger tiered cake (and especially if it will be outdoors), I recommend Italian Buttercreams.  Decorators Buttercream should only be used for roses and other buttercream decorations that you need to stand up.  Do not use it just to ice your cake.  Buttercream fondant can be used in place of normal fondant, however just remember that in high heat or humidity it will fall apart.  Pastry Cream Buttercream should ONLY BE USED FOR FILLINGS.  Do not frost a cake with this.  One, it's a pastry cream.  Two, it will break down.  Three, only use this as a filling if you plan on keeping the item in a fridge. 

Classic American Buttercream
1/2 C. Shortening
1/2 C. Unsalted Butter
2 T. Milk or Heavy Cream
1 t. Extract
4-6 C. Sifted Powdered Sugar

1.  Cream fats until fully incorporated.  Slowly stream in milk until mixed.  Whip for two minutes.
2.  Add extract.
3.  Slowly add powdered sugar until buttercream has reached the consistency you desire.  I prefer it to stick to the paddle when you lift up your mixer.

And there you have it...BUTTERCREAM.  True, American, creamy and sweet buttercream.  Now, go out there and make yourself some buttercream.  It's quick, it's easy, and you can frost cupcakes, cakes, cookies, or whatever.

Happy Eating!

...and no more jar frosting.  Please.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Brailsford Wedding

August 7th, 2010
Susan and Roland

Yesterday I catered a wedding of about 150 people for Susan and Roland.  Let me start by saying Susan and her family are BY FAR my most favorite clients.  They were so laid back, left decisions up to me, and were so grateful for our services.  Her mother tipped myself and my server for working so hard and then came back later and tipped us a second time because the guests were commenting how great it was.  The bride, Susan, gave me a hug and everytime she passed by me just kept saying "thank you".  They are a great family.

When we first arrived to the catering site (which is outside) it was POURING rain.  Winds were blowing over vases, knocking off tablecloths, and it even started to hail.  We put everything inside the house's kitchen, but ultimately unless we could set up outside we were going to be behind schedule.  Originally appetizer service was going to start at 5:30pm.  The rain did not cease until close to 5:15pm.  Everything was behind schedule, tablecloths were soaked, and flower vases ruined.  The bride, groom, everyone still had a smile on their face.  They were just happy to be getting married.  They didn't care.  Honestly, this is how it should be.

Once the ceremony finally got going we began to set up.  Everything went smoothly and we served at 7:00pm.  Guests lined up to eat and came back for seconds.  This was the funnest wedding I have been to in awhile. Guests were laughing, dancing, drinking, and everyone was having a good time.  The toast was almost like "Comedy Centrals Roast".  It was hilarious.  When we left people were still partying and I have a feeilng they were going to be there all night.  My type of wedding.

I did not get a chance to take photos before the event.  This was taken after eating.  I will get more from the photographer.

The Menu
Thai Chicken Skewers with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Fruit Trays
Vegetable Trays
Fresh Spinach Salad with Red Wine Vinegrette
Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Honey BBQ
Turkey, Swiss, and Avocado Ranch Sandwiches

The cake was my FAVORITE PART.  The bride loved my "Ashley" cake design.  We changed out the colors and flowers, and I have to say I almost like this one more than the original.

The Cake
Bottom Tier - Peanut Butter with Chocolate
Middle and Top Tiers - Raspberry Lemonade

The cake had brown fondant, ivory ribbon border, ivory piping, and fall colored flowers.  These colors really went with the theme they had going outside.  Everything was brown, green, and orange.  It was gorgeous.  Especially on the setting of a horse farm.

So many guests just came up to look at the cake.  One lady asked for my card because two of her daughters are getting married this year and she wants to use me!  I have to say, this cake fits the bride's personality.  Laid back, fun, and awesome.

How much would I charge for this cake?  This cake is $400.00 and serves 150 guests.  Topsy turvy cakes are the hardest type of cake to make, therefore you have to pay top dollar for them.  Not to mention the piping detail on the sides.

Aside from the rain, hail, and heavy winds, we did have one set back.  Once the cake was assembled, the cake table began to sink in the wet ground and lean to the same side the top tier is already leaning to.  This made the top tier start to slide to the side more.  I placed two dowels in the cake to prop it up, then covered them with flowers.  While myself and my server steadied the cake, three men from the bridal party lifted the table and placed two by fours underneath.  Once done, the cake was stable again.  She held strong the rest of the night! The florist also shorted me on the flowers.  These types of cakes take LOTS OF FLOWERS.  So I had to steal pieces here and there from the centerpieces.  Daisy here, hydrangea there, but in the end, I got enough flowers to cover the cake.  Phew.  If they are not covered, all you see are the foam and supports.  Let's just say, not very pretty to see.

By far my favorite wedding.  Food, cake, and the bridal party.  Everyone was awesome, everyone loved the food, and the family was gracious. 

Happy eating!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


At the Utah Bridal Expo this year I gave away a free wedding cake.  The winner was named Emily.  Basically she won a four-tier cake with a credit of a said amount to decorate those four-tiers.

Emily was a very sweet girl.  She kept saying "thank you" even though she won the cake through a drawing.  She was very appreciative and even paid for a tasting.  She would call and state she couldn't wait to see her cake and never gave off that she was anything more than grateful.  She was so thankful she won a free cake and so was her family.  It was nice to have a bride that was thankful and not acting as though she deserved the works.

For this cake I would normally charge $375.00 and no that doesn't include flowers.

The cake was four tiers.  The top and third tier being one inch shorter (called off-set's a new fad).  Her wedding theme was very elegant.  So we elected to do white fondant with a simple ribbon border, then white vine piping on the second and bottom tiers.  The flowers were provided by Heritage Gardens (her reception site...which by the way...I love this place).  I arranged them on the cake and table. 

Cake Flavors
Bottom Tier: Lemon Cake with Raspberry Buttercream
Third Tier: Chocolate/Vanilla Marble with Chocolate Buttercream
Second and Top Tiers: Coconut Cake with Coconut Buttercream

The Bride arrived and herself and the groom constantly said thank you.  Guests were coming up and saying the cake was gorgeous and when they found out she won the cake they were even more in awe.  I set business cards behind the cake and was told by the Hostess at Heritage Gardens that they were gone within an hour.

I received a call the Monday after the wedding from the brides father.  He stated that the cake was absolutely gorgeous and he and everyone were in awe that it was a free cake.  He stated that people came up to them int he line and discussed how gorgeous it was.  That it tasted amazing.  He also wanted my address to mail me a a bonus because they were so appreciative.  I told him it was ok because she won the cake, but he insisted.  He also said that when their next daughter gets married there will be no doubt they are coming to me for a wedding cake.'s so nice when people appreciate your work.  Seriously, this family and the bride really were so great.  They were so appreciative and more so understood the hard work in a cake.

Just goes to show that not everyone out there in this world are ungrateful or do not understand the hard work that goes into a wedding cake.  I must say that this family was by far my favorite family to deal with.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bridezillas: Why a large, town-eating, growling monster would be more pleasing to deal with...

...Afterall, at least the monster just eats you and calls it good.

Ever seen that episode of "Cake Boss" on TLC where the bride comes into Buddy's bakery and destroys the wedding cake he made because it was "too elegant"?  That's never happened to me, but scary actually does happen outside of the reality TV realm.  Brides are really like that.  I have heard of brides knocking their cake off the table because they didn't like it.  Throwing out food in front of a caterer because it wasn't what they wanted.  Ripping pictures done by a photographer for whatever reason.  It's insane.  Some of these brides calm down a few hours later and are just embarrassed, others just keep with the behavior.  Though it sucks to deal with them, I usually pity the poor groom in that situation.  Good luck Chuck.

Bridezillas will never be satisfied.  They will pick and find just about any little thing they hate about your cake, service, work, etc.  These are the worst clients to have, but in the wedding business you are going to encounter HUNDREDS of these.  Yup, sorry, it's true.  All I can say is invest in Excedrin and tough skin.  Now this blog is not out there to offend anyone, however if you were a Bridezilla and you are offended...well, it sucks when your pointed out.  I'm not apologizing for it. 

My Theory on Them:
I honestly think (and this is just in my experience) Bridezillas primarily exist for two reasons:  One, they are raised spoiled (no offense) and two, they are usually planning a wedding on an EXTREMELY tight schedule.  In Utah I would say 98% of the brides I meet are planning a wedding only three months out.  THREE MONTHS!?  That is 90 days to meet, plan, purchase, finalize flowers, invitations, reception halls, food, cakes, dresses, licenses, churches, linens, nail appointments, whatever....that's pure insanity.  No wonder these chicks are freaking out.  I started to sweat just typing about a 1/4 of the duties they have to do just now.  Half the time they meet with EVERYONE of those companies in the same month.  These brides not only tend to forget what the heck they ordered (it all blends), but then are usually the ones freaking out at the wedding.  Majority of them apologize after the wedding realizing that is what they ordered.  Damage already done though.  They freaked out, bitched at the wedding, slandered your company that you "ruined" their wedding when all along...they got what they ordered.  Do they go back and say "Hey everyone, I was wrong!".  Hell no.  Thus, why everyone in the business dreads, avoids, and kicks themselves in the @$$ for ever dealing with Bridezillas.

How Do You Deal?
Well I wasn't kidding about tough skin and Excedrin.  Majority of these Bridezillas DO apologize, however a larger majority dont.  Not because they felt they were in the right for freaking out on you...its because they are embarrassed about how they behaved.  I have had Mothers of the Bride and Fathers of the Bride call me the next day apologizing for their daughters behavior and state that the cake was great and that it was what THEY PAID FOR and that their daughter was having a "bad day" kidding.  You just have to smile through these people.  If you know you delivered the cake that the bride ordered, that's the bottom line.  Yes it sucks if they bash you and you lose business, but that's the biz.  You can't fight it.  You just know that you did it right and leave it at that. If they call, you speak calmly to them.  Explain where they were wrong (as kindly as possible), and even show them contracts, orders, etc to show them where THEY WERE WRONG. 

In the wedding business, ALWAYS keep detailed notes.  Dates/times you spoke, orders placed, sketches and examples, swatches, etc (this helps because as I said, brides forget what they ordered).  If someone says "go with your own direction", make them sign a contract stating THEY AGREE WITH THAT.  So if they hate what you delivered, you legally know you did what they asked.  You can't do anything to stop them from telling everyone they hated it.  People will usually bitch more to the public when they know they are wrong just to make themselves feel better (read my post on Bad Press).   That's just basic psychology.  The average person will never admit their wrong to the general public.  It's easier to play the victim/blame another then stand up and say they were wrong.  We all know we've done it.

Bridezillas are everywhere.  Whether it be on their very own TV show (TLC), in your business, a friend of yours, your own child, or just some bride at a wedding you are attending.  Some people you can peg as Bridezillas from just your consultation meeting, others seem so far from one that you are ten times more shocked when they turn out to be one at the reception.  That's why I say plan on EVERY bride being one, and be thankful they turn out to be chill in the end. 

Don't let them get you down either.  They tend to yell at every vendor there, not just you.  They will not always apologize either.  If you know you did it right, just pat yourself on the back and walk away pitying the poor groom stuck with that chick for the rest of their lives.

Bad Press and the Negative Nancy

When you are in the wedding cake business, you deal with a lot of different characters.  Unfortunately, you randomly come across the people that dont understand how business works.

I received a few comments on a free review site about my business recently.  Reading bad reviews about your business will always bring you down, however, you need to realize one thing.  Majority of people who enjoy your business do not go and seek you out online to write a review.  However, those who did not like it or had a bad experience WILL.  I would say 90% of people are vindictive when they are upset.  It's sad really.  These are usually the people that do not realize how business is, how hard it is, and feel that slandering you (usually when they are in the wrong anyway) will get back at you and make them feel better.  These people are just (usually) unhappy with themselves and want to bring anyone else down with them. 

Example #1:  Now about these bad comments.  Funny thing is, one of them I knew who it was.  I had this Mother of a Bride who had a cupcake stand of mine she rented from me.  In my contract it CLEARLY STATES you must return the rented equipment the Tuesday FOLLOWING the reception to get your deposit back.  I'm usually pretty laid back about this.  Email me, call me, whatever and let me know if you are going to be late.  Sometimes I dont need them right away.  Well she would pick a date to return it, then change it last minute (literally...she'd call me an hour before she was supposed to show up and say she couldn't).  This wedding was May 5th.  So finally June 28th I told her I needed that stand by the 2nd of July for another wedding.  She said she'd bring it that evening.  Again, an hour before she was supposed to show up she called and cancelled.  I couldn't reach her after that.  I had to create a new stand for the wedding.  Then July 7th she calls and said she wanted to return it.  I told her I was sorry but I could not take the stand back.  I had to replace it because I told her I needed it by a date for a wedding and that it had already been over two months of her not returning it.  That exact same day I received a comment on that free site that her "wedding cupcakes" were dry and horrible and smashed together.  I knew it was her because of the username (it was the exact same as her, but worse is the entire time she kept stating how "wonderful" and "appreciative" they were of their cupcakes via email (I saved those emails just in case).  I even got two referrals from that wedding.  Yeah...they must have really sucked.  See?  She's pissed I finally said no to the stand after all her crap, so she turns around and writes that.  She knew she couldn't fight legally over the stand, she signed a CONTRACT that she violated and I was more than lenient with her.  People like this are out there.  You will deal with them A LOT in the wedding business.  It's ridiculous.

Example #2: Another comment I got was from someone stating they were a "former co-worker and friend/'.  Side note: If you are a friend of someones, why would you slander their business without perhaps saying something to them first?  First they claimed they knew of someone who ordered bridal shower cupcakes from me that were not filled and that this person contacted me several times for a refund and never heard from me.  I'm going to stop you right there...I have NEVER done bridal shower cupcakes.  Ever.  I honestly cannot remember the last time I have, unless it was over a year and a half ago.  I have detailed order slips.  Not a one is listed for a bridal shower.  Birthdays, baby showers, movie night, just because...yup no BRIDAL SHOWER.  Second, I would have recalled someone calling to complain.  I do, call people back and especially in regards to complaints.  Then this person went to state that they were at a wedding where people said to not eat the cake (yet then this person ate it anyway...which is interesting), but that it was "dry and flavorless" and that the cake was leaning completely to one side.  Again, I'm going to stop you right there.  I have been in this business A LONG TIME.  One, if your cake is leaning, someone will call the cake decorator.  Either right there or the day after...OR the photographer who emails me the photos would have mentioned it (because we are all in this business).  I have NEVER had a cake leaning on me, ever.  I call the day after my weddings and follow up with the clients about their order.  No one ever said their cake was leaning or that it was "dry and flavorless".  Furthermore, in my contract it states to contact me if there are ANY issues so that I can come out and see them.  In the case of a leaning cake, I can fix that.  Wedding cakes weigh up to 150LBS (sometimes more)...they may/can lean.  It's an EASY ten minute fix.  I kid you not.  However, I knew this review was complete BS because no one ever called me about a leaning cake and I have not done any cakes for anyone I even personally know since February of 2010, before that was March of 2009 and this post was July 20th, 2010.  So ummm yeah.  Bottom line...a bride or someone would have told me their cake was that awful.  Trust me on this.  You dont pay $300.00 for something  and then blow it off if its dry, leaning, whatever.  Which further led me to believe this was probably either that same lady, a person who confused companies (attention, there is another decorator out there going by Kali Cakes in Utah...yeah...bummer for me), or just someone who wanted to be a complete jerk.  If that person wanted to be serious they could call me about this issue.  They dont.  Which just tells me they really have nothing but the desire to bitch about something they really shouldn't be.  Simple as that.

Bottom line, you'll get bad press.  On these stupid online sites, you will get a lot more bad press than good.  Ever looked up your favorite restaurant on  Notice how many BAD reviews there are?  How minimal good reviews there are?  That's because people love to bitch and complain, but usually these are people that are bitching over something that could be easily fixed or they are just vindictive (insert cupcake stand lady).  So dont let it get you down.  If you see bad reviews on a restaurant or company, dont believe them.  Honestly, word of mouth is the best, but remember that some people lie or say whatever they can to justify their own actions and usually they were in the wrong.  I promise you the Cupcake Stand Lady (as she shall be referred) will slander my company, but never mention that she kept fooling around returning a rented item for TWO MONTHS.

These people can be very draining.  Trust me, I know.  You just have to push through and appreciate those people that call you personally to state they loved their cake.  People who called just to say that while standing in the line they got nothing but comments about their cake and just had to tell me.  Or people who call asking if you can do another cake for their other son/daughter getting married. Appreciate those, ignore those who are negative.  Some people hate everything (Bridezillas especially, but that's for another blog).  Some people dont realize that instead of bitching on some free site they should call the company and let them know.  Usually they dont call because they know that they ARE FULL OF IT.  Hence why you only hear about this "bad experience" on a website.

Stay strong if you are in the wedding business.  It's ugly.  People are never going to be 100% satisfied.  Any company tells you that all customers are from them...they are lying.  Not everyone has the same tastes, etc.  That's just simple statistics.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


At the Utah Bridal Expo at South Towne this year I had the "Ashley" cake on display.  It's one of my favorite pieces.  It's five tiers and is just the craziest design.  I got a lot of requests for the cake from the Expo and today was the first day I did one of those cakes.  I will be doing another next week. 

These are by far my favorite types of cakes.  They are called "topsy turvy".  They are extremely difficult and not many cake decorators in Utah can successfully pull them off.  I love them.  They are like art work.  They are difficult, defy gravity, and edible to boot!

"Danni" is three-tiers of 12", 10" and 8" squares.  It serves about 154 (when cut to the traditional 1"x2" pieces).  The bottom and middle tier are chocolate cake with caramel swirl filling and cookies n' creme buttercream.  The top tier is red velvet with mint/chocolate filling and cookies n' creme buttercream.  The cake is filled with white and purple daisies, carnations and some green filler.  There is a light pink ribbon border and green vine piping detail.  You cannot see the detail at its fullest, but when I get the photos from the photographer I'll update it.

I never actually met the bride or the groom for this cake.  Just the Aunt who was ordering it.  She was a really sweet lady.  The cake making went really smooth with this one.  The only speed bump was that the Bride and Groom changed the reception time by a half hour on us and didn't tell me.  So at 5:30pm, when I'm getting ready to leave, I get a call asking where I was.  Haha.  I told them I was scheduled for a 6:00pm delivery.  So I had to rush to put this cake together, which is never good with these types of cakes.  The Aunt, however, apologized when I arrived saying that they changed the date and she realized they never told me.  So all was good.

July 31, 2010
I tried to get a better photo, but there were too many guests and the photographer in my way.  I will get the professional photos soon and update then.

The guests absolutely loved it.  Hopefully I can get more referrals and orders off this cake.  They had about 100 people there when I left.