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Give Cake That Wow Factor with Edible Flowers

Budding bakers are using flower power to create cakes that look as good as they taste

Budding bakers are using flower power to create cakes that look as good as they taste.

Spring is in the air and adding a little flower power to cakes and cupcakes is the perfect way to celebrate the season.

Edible flowers are an easy way to add beauty and flair to any dessert. Scroll through any baking board on Pinterest and pictures abound of cakes in bloom with spectacular flower decorations. At We Take The Cake, our pink rose chocolate layer cake is a best-selling way for customers to brighten the day of someone they love.

Our talented cake artists carefully craft each of our intricate designs by hand to ensure that our desserts look as good as they taste. But even budding bakers can create beautiful floral decorations from an array of tasty materials, from chocolate to gumdrops to real flowers from your garden. Read on as we share some simple ways to create a bouquet of edible flowers that are guaranteed to make happiness bloom in the bellies of your guests.

 1.  Everything is better with chocolate. Modeling chocolate is one of the simplest – and tastiest – ways to make flowers for cakes. Unlike fondant, which can be stubbornly chunky, modeling chocolate is easy to make as thin as real flower petals. You don’t really need any special tools or cutters – you can just work it in your hands until it becomes flexible, and then let your imagination take over. If the chocolate gets too warm and melty from your touch, put it in the fridge briefly to firm up. You can also follow these directions for simple flower decorations:

  • Roll the chocolate out. It can tear easily, so it’s wise to dust your hands and work surfaces with cornstarch to stop it from sticking.
  • Use cutters to punch out flower shapes. If the chocolate sticks in the cutter, gently press the center with a round tool, like the back end of a paintbrush.
  • Rub a cake decorator’s double-ended ball tool in a circular motion over the petals to thin them out and make them curl slightly inwards. Finally, press the ball tool into the center of the flower and rub again in a circle, so it assumes a concave shape as if it’s budding.
  • It’s best to store the flowers in something small and curved, like silicone molds, so they dry in the curved shape. They can also dry on parchment paper, but they won’t stay as curled.
  • After the flowers set for an hour, they can be “glued” to your cake with a dot of frosting. Try to work quickly because chocolate flowers will melt if handled too much. Once all the flowers are in place, pipe a small dot of frosting into the center of each one to complete your design. For extra flair, add some sparkle with edible gold dust.

2.  Not just a pipe dream. Piping can be intimidating to beginners – it takes planning, practice, and patience to get it right. Follow these steps to make sure your decorations come up smelling – or in this case looking – like roses:

  • Cut the tip of your piping bag so that only your piping tip can poke through. Different size tips can be used, depending upon the size of the rose you want.
  • Fill the bag with buttercream frosting. Without letting any come out the tip, squeeze the icing down to remove any air bubbles as if you’re trying to get the last bit of toothpaste out of a tube. The consistency of the frosting is key to successful piping!
  • Roll the top of the bag closed. You can also twist it, but we find it’s hard to keep the icing from coming out the top when you seal it that way.
  • Make a little Hershey kiss-like dab in the center of the spot you want your rose to go. Bring the icing up and over the dab, and then swirl it around the dab a few times until your rose is complete. Release pressure on the bag toward the end and use a toothpick to gently attach the last bit to the side of your flower if it sticks out when you pull away.

3.  Do drop in. Shaping edible roses out of gumdrops is an easy yet surprisingly elegant way to decorate a cake. Try this trick from the queen of DIY, Martha Stewart:

  • Lightly dust a work surface with granulated sugar. Take three gumdrops of the same color and flatten them slightly with your thumb. Roll them out until they are about 1/8-inch thick. Sprinkle with more sugar if they stick.
  • Use a paring knife to cut each flattened gumdrop in half so that you wind up with six equal pieces.
  • Using your fingers, take a half and roll it into a cylinder, pinching at one end. This will form the center of the flower.
  • Use your fingers to press the edges of the other pieces so that they become thinner and easier to attach. Then wrap each piece around the centerpiece, overlapping slightly and pinching at the base so they all stick together.
  • Bend some of the petals back to make your creation resemble a rose.
  • Use the paring knife to trim the bottom of your rose, forming a flat base that will allow it to sit up on your cake. Arrange on top of a frosted cake. You can also shape green gumdrops with your paring knife to create leaves for your rose.

4.  Fun with fondant. Fondant flowers are a popular way for amateur bakers to add a creative touch to cakes for any occasion, from birthday bashes to weddings.

  • Dust your work surface and your hands with cornstarch and roll out the fondant. If the fondant is too hard, place it in the microwave for about 10 seconds until it softens. If it’s dry, knead it with your hands. Try to work quickly – fondant dries fast! Cover parts you aren’t using with nylon to keep it from drying out.
  • Use flower-shaped cutters to punch out small and large flower shapes. Then use a skewer – and your imagination – to carve pretty details into the petals of large flowers, or a toothpick to decorate smaller ones.
  • Let your flowers dry in a small curved bowl such as a clean egg container to give them a concave shape.
  • Being careful not to over-moisten, use water to glue each small flower on top of a larger one to create a multi-layer effect. Glue the finished flowers with water onto your cake.

5.  A rose by any other name won’t smell as sweet. Flowers don’t need to be fashioned from sugary materials to decorate a cake. One of the hottest trends in cake decorating is using real fresh flowers that are safe to eat to add a beautiful, vibrant quality to any dessert. Of course, before you start tossing flowers onto your plate, there are a few rules to remember. Not all flowers are edible – in fact, some are poisonous – and many are sprayed with pesticides and fertilizers. Be sure to check where your flowers are sourced and what conditions they were grown in before you eat them. And even when you are sure they are safe, make sure you wash them!

  • Flowers from herbs, violets, nasturtiums, and roses offer the best flavors. You can also create candied flowers by brushing fresh or pressed flowers with egg whites or moistened meringue powder, and then sprinkling with confectioners’ or decorating sugar. It is generally recommended to remove the pistil and stamen before serving since many people are allergic to pollen. You should also wrap the stems in floral tape if you leave them for attachment purposes because the sap inside can be irritating or even poisonous. Make sure your guests know not to eat that part!
  • There are several ways to add fresh flowers to cakes. Edible petals can be put right on the cake, or you can insert the stems into lollipop sticks and poke those into the cake in whatever pattern you choose – this way, the stems don’t come in direct contact with your food. You can also place a sheet of parchment across the top of your cake and load a beautiful pile of flowers on top, so they don’t sink into the frosting. Creative chefs are using fresh flowers to separate cake tiers – artfully hiding dividers and giving your cake a light, gravity-defying look. No matter what method you choose, it’s important to wait to pop your flowers onto the cake just before serving, so they don’t wilt.

Edible flowers are an easy way for budding bakers to create beautiful cakes. At We Take The Cake, we know the presentation of a dessert matter as much as the taste. For over 20 years, our professional decorators have beautifully crafted each of our cakes by hand using only the finest ingredients. We take pride in going the extra mile to deliver that wow factor that makes our customers proud they chose us to create the gift that keeps people talking long after their celebration is over.

At We Take The Cake, we understand the personal touch. When you can’t be there to celebrate in person, we make it easy to delight your family, friends, and colleagues with our made-from-scratch cakes. We are proud to include among our customer’s nationally recognized caterers, party planners, private clubs, world-famous hotels, and exclusive resorts. We also have exclusive cake designs available through Williams Sonoma, Neiman Marcus, and FoodyDirect. If you’d like to know everything we can offer, drop by our contact page and get in touch!

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Business Gifting Unveiled

Gifting in the corporate arena is an art: here’s how to get it right

Gifting in the corporate arena is treacherous: here’s how to get it right.

Have you ever received an unexpected, but perfect gift? It grants a certain intellectual grace and charm to the giver. In contrast, poorly executed gifting can drain even the most generous intentions into the depths of ill-conception and social ineptness. When it comes to business, it’s not the thought that counts, it’s when and what you give.

“Should we send them a gift?”

Let’s start off by addressing the little secret everyone tries to ignore: corporate gifting is a business transaction. Whether the gift is to a client or employee, it’s an attempt to gain favor in hopes of promoting future exchanges. However, an appropriately timed gift can transcend those obvious motives, bringing the gesture into the realm of sincere gratitude for both parties.

Gifting inappropriately can inadvertently blare out hidden intentions or just make you look foolish. Here are 6 common gift-worthy events in business relations:

1. When you’re a benefactor. Whether it is a new sales contract, a business referral, or customer loyalty, gifting can help establish a tone of respect and appreciation.

2. In recognition.Sometimes it’s not about what a client or partnering business has done for you, but how they’ve contributed to the community. For example, if a product manufacturer announced a commitment to zero waste, farming partners might consider sending a gift recognizing those efforts. This gesture expresses respect and lets them know you’re paying attention and keeps your company on their minds

3. When they’ve gone above and beyond. Maybe a company you contracted has put in a month of 70-hour work weeks to meet your deadline. Or, your chef-client took the time to talk to your daughter about what to look for in a culinary school. A “thank you” is nice, but probably too simple to represent the value of their efforts properly.

4. In celebration. The best business relationships are symbiotic, take, for instance, a vendor reaching their sales goals for your product. Why not sweeten your shared-success with a custom, handmade gift? In addition, sending a birthday cake is a warm-fuzzy way of showing your appreciation for their presence in your life.

5. When introducing yourself. A thoughtful gift can take the chill out of cold-calling. Rare is a human heart too hardened to accept your call after sending them a delightful treat!

6. Direct advertising. In this case, the veil is entirely decamped. Let’s say you want to announce a new product or service or bring attention to an event your company is involved in. You could email them or send a card that they may or may not see. A gift, on the other hand, tends to stand out, and linger in the air, as word of the gesture passes from tongue to tongue, prompting questions of “who?” and, most importantly, “why?”

Business gifting ideas

Recognizing the proper moment to give a gift could be considered the “easy part.” Giving the right gift is tricky. Before exploring some suggestions, it’s important to evaluate what type of gift to give.

In some cases, determining what to give is going to be based on your relationship with the recipient. In others, it can be industry based – expensive gifts may be considered unethical and therefore returned. If you’re unclear, whenever possible, inquire with the recipient’s management.

Aside from industry-specific ethics, there are also a few gifting no-nos to steer clear of:

  • Don’t mark your territory. Putting your logo or company name on a gift magically transforms the object into a promotion, rather than a gift.
  • Be mindful of holidays. Christmas is the most obvious example of this. It’s not a matter of being politically correct, or even offending someone – assuming cultural alignments reflects an unflattering lack of mindfulness and knowledge about your client.
  • Giving money is an insulting cop-out. While getting money from your aunt on your birthday is always a loving gesture, it’s nowhere near appropriate in business. For one, you don’t want to suggest they need your money. Secondly, it lacks a personal touch that says you care about the business relationship, and that’s the last impression you want to create with your gift.

Now that we’ve covered some general “no-nos,” here’s a list of “yeah-yeahs!”:

How to make it special

A quality gift makes a personal connection with the recipient – even in business. At We Take the Cake, gifts are our business. From our famous key-lime Bundt cake to our eye-catching cupcakes and layer cakes, a custom cake from our bakery is sure to be well received.

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Stay Connected with Your College Kids

Stay Connected with Your College Kids on wetakethecake.com

Enjoy mothering while avoiding hovering.

They say, “Nature abhors a vacuum,” but that’s nothing compared to being a mom. When your children go off to college, it doesn’t matter how involved you get with preparation, financial and travel arrangements and all the moving parts of getting them safely to campus. Once they’re gone, it can be a tough time for both parties.

The distance is, of course, the problem … or should we say “was”? The modern age has turned distance into an ever-shrinking concept. Technology can provide voices and faces from around the world in moments, and the sheer speed of some modern postal options aren’t far behind.

There’s a wealth of ways to stay connected with a child while they’re out in the world studying. With a little finesse and a whole lot of care, you can be there in every important way. What’s more, you have the chance to exercise your imagination and communicate in ways you may never have tried.

Don’t Panic

There’s some short and sweet advice that will fit well into every area of life, especially when the nest is empty. Your child is off on a journey now, both literally and figuratively, so you have to give them space to travel. Now isn’t the time to over-communicate because they’re going to need all their wits about them. A host of new distractions will be competing for their attention.

Let your child have space to get to college and settle in. There’s no telling how long this will take, but it’s certain they will need all their focus to do it. This means they may not be able to answer calls or may forget to make one to you in the first place.

Don’t panic! This is a natural process, and your child will be thankful they had the space to do what they needed. When they do get in touch, don’t be anxious or annoyed. Your child will equate you feeling bad with them not communicating as you want them to. This will only add pressure when they’re already dealing with a lot.

Let them get in touch when their new schedule allows and make full use of the electronic options at your fingertips.

The Megabyte Mom

Parents are rightly concerned with how much time their kids spend glued to their various digital devices. It’s never out of their hands, away from their ear or not vibrating in their pocket. The good news is that those factors can become a big relief while your child is on campus.

The number of young people aged 18-29 in possession of a cell phone of some kind is 100%, and that little device is always with them. Their cell phone is designed to take in lots of texts, photos, and calls. You won’t be bothering them if you send them a text every day or a photo of anything fun or interesting from back home.

Unlike the past where kids would have to schedule phone time with a parent, you can reach them anywhere, anytime. There’s always the comfort of knowing that even if they don’t answer immediately, you can leave a message.

Video calling is also an excellent way to interact in real-time with your kids. It doesn’t have to last long, and, again, you can see each other anywhere  – as long as it’s not when driving! Don’t forget social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Social media makes it even easier to make that immediate connection with your children.

The Human Touch

The immediacy of technology is wonderful, but there’s something about a written letter that will always make it superior. What is that “something”? It’s the human touch. Your child will be able to hold something you’ve held, see the uniqueness of your handwriting, and be able to hold the letter to their heart.

A hand-written letter is a part of you and a tangible link to home. It’s a deeper form of communication that frees a parent from the clipped text-speak of a quick email or social media post. Your self-expression will be unabbreviated, and so will the happiness of your child as they read it through.

Hand-writing letters can also improve your health. If being apart is making you and your child sad, picking up that pen can boost your mood back into the positive. Psychological research in human development and family studies has shown the link between the written expression of gratitude and important matters, and the resulting improvement in our emotional state.

Remember, the longer the letter, the better! If you feel there isn’t much to tell this time around, then you could include a photograph, a greeting card or better yet, a present of some kind.

Which leads us to our next suggestion.

The Sweet Truth

Nothing is trivial when you’re a parent. A mother may be concerned that she’s overly fussy with her child who, in turn, may be annoyed by the fussing. She can, however, count on one ever-reliable truth: kids love presents. Everyone does, and something else we all love is something sweet from time to time.

It may be your child’s birthday. Maybe it’s a notable calendar day. Being in college by itself generates plenty of cause for celebration (moving in, good results in class, graduation, and so forth). The best reason, of course, is just because you care.

A handmade cake crafted with attention and love will remind your child you’re thinking of them in the same way. It’s always a joy to receive a surprise package in the mail. It makes us feel special. When the contents are every bit as sweet and unique as the sender, it’s simply something extra-special.

As one of our customers put it, “This was my daughter’s first birthday away from home, I wanted to make is special. Our daughter said the cake was perfect.”

As successful parents, we see the best of us in our children. By association, any gift we give reflects the same. Granting our children the benefit of a college education is a wonderful thing. So is the fine art of attentive and considerate parenting. This involves many gifts. The gift of time, of space, and always keeping our place in their hearts warm.

At We Take The Cake, we understand the personal touch. For over twenty years, we’ve continued to craft each cake by hand using only the finest ingredients. If you’d like to know everything we can offer, drop by and get in touch!