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Feeling guilty about those long-distance family relationships?

Best gifts for long-distance family and friendsTips for showing those far-away loved ones they’re always on your mind.

Maintaining relationships is tough, especially when they’re going up against a busy work schedule, maintaining the house, and taking care of children and/or parents. And if your children or parents live far away from you, it requires even more effort and attention. With today’s technology, you would think staying in touch would be a little easier. However, with easy communication comes too much of it! So much in fact, that it starts to feel impersonal.

For friends and family that are long-distance, writing a post on their social media or sending a text doesn’t feel like enough. In these cases, it’s actually more effective to communicate the snail mail way, by sending thoughtful and meaningful gifts that can reignite that connection with a loved one. Here are a few ideas that can help you feel closer to your far away family members.

Rather than sending gifts for the holidays, focus on giving random gifts to far away family

Family and friends have come to expect the routine holiday gift. Even if the gift is thoughtful, the idea of gift giving over the holidays has become almost something you have to do. To show family that you’re thinking of them when you want to, rather than have to, try sending gifts to your far away family “just because.” This way, it comes as a surprise to them and will inspire them to make time for a catch-up call.

We Take The Cake customer LuAnn Lanke decided to send a triple chocolate Bundt cake as a surprise gift to friends who had helped her with a project. “They were delighted! Not only was the cake delicious, the presentation is wonderful and made our friends feel special. It was a perfect surprise.”

Leverage a personal touch for your long-distance family with a customized gift

The Internet has afforded us the opportunity to get almost anything customized these days. If your son is a sports fan in college, for example, you have the ability to order him a jersey from his favorite sports team with his name inserted on the back just like the pros! The personal touch makes the gift something unique, made especially for the person receiving the gift.

The trick to making it thoughtful is to think of a funny memory or a favorite hobby of your far away family member and play off that memory or hobby with something custom. You can add artwork from a certain memory to food, clothing, and even coffee mugs. There are so many ways to get creative and make sure it’s clear that your gift was made especially for them!

If you can’t be there in the present, a tasty treat can still leave family talking

The old adage is true, “they may forget what you said, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.” And what greater feeling than one that comes after enjoying a mouth-watering, tasty sweet? Cakes, cupcakes, and other scrumptious desserts are the perfect gift for celebrating when you can’t be there.

Just ask Joanne Taylor from Michigan – “I sent a cake to my son in college for his birthday, and not only did he love the surprise but a week later I received a text saying, “I think this is the best cake I have ever eaten…Send me another one soon!”

The best gifts can start new tradition with far away friends and family

Taking the “sending random gifts” idea one step further, a way to develop a closer bond with far away family throughout the year could come from starting a tradition of celebrating one of those crazy national holidays. While they might feel like they only exist for social media, why not bring these wacky holidays into the real world?

National Best Friend Day sounds like the perfect excuse to let a dear friend know you’re thinking about them and put a smile on their face with an unexpected and thoughtful gift. Or perhaps your aunt who you only see once a year loves strawberries. Why not use National Strawberry Day to start a tradition of sending fun and unique strawberry gifts back and forth each year? It’s unique spins on gift giving like these that make your relationships feel closer than distance has us believe.

We Take The Cake takes the stress and prep out of your far away gift giving

At We Take The Cake, cake isn’t just a dessert. It’s a symbol of celebration, happiness, friends, and family. We pride ourselves on perfecting our craft, sure, but it’s the smile we put on your loved one’s faces that make our dreams become a reality.

It’s easy to get busy, overwhelmed, and caught up in your own to-do list that you oftentimes forget what day it is, much less a loved one’s birthday. And even if you don’t want it to be, shopping for the right gift can feel like a daunting and time-consuming task. But that’s where we come in!

We take the headaches and stress out of finding the perfect gift and we put it into a delicious, beautiful cake! Whether it’s for a birthday or just because, all you have to do is choose your sweet of choice, fill out the details, and let us take care of making your loved one smile.

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Cake is For Vegans Too!

Cake is for vegans too

An inside look at vegan cake.

Adhering to a vegan diet is a strict discipline – but it doesn’t mean you can’t eat cake! However, after one bad experience, such as learning a restaurant lied about their vegan dishes, skepticism is understandable. So, before you write-off vegan cake as an impossibility, let’s take a tour through the impossibly deliciousness of vegan baking.

Is it really vegan?

To be sure, vegan means absolutely zero animal products – no honey, eggs, milk, gelatin, or insect derived color dyes (cochineal). Vegan cake is entirely plant-based – bakers make clever use of fruits, nuts, and a variety of spices, including cocoa, to excite the tastebuds.

How’s it work without eggs and butter?

Eggs give cake its fluffy structure, and butter works in concert with its confectionary colleagues to create a rich, velvety texture. Fortunately, you don’t have to journey to a specialty store to find excellent substitutions.

Oil for butter. Vegetable oils such as coconut oil are perfect stand-ins for their dairy-based counterpart. Coconut oil comes in unrefined and refined – as you might have guessed, unrefined still carries a hint of coconut flavor, while refined is essentially flavorless.

Applesauce for eggs. Some vegan cake recipes call for applesauce in place of eggs. Other options include fleg (an artificial egg substitute made from flax meal), chia seeds, silken tofu, and a baking soda-vinegar mixture.

Hey, that’s not vegan! (What to watch out for)

The strictest of vegans trace their food back to its production – that’s where animal products can sneak their way into what we might falsely assume to be vegan. Here’s a few places those little tricksters can be found and how to replace them.

Bleached sugar. White sugar is sometimes bleached via a process that uses animal bones. Stick with unbleached cane sugar and you’ll be in the clear.

Milk and cream. While not so sneaky, these are tricky to replace all the same. Soy milk products are typically recommended. Soy yogurt can be used in place of cream, or dried soy milk can be rehydrated sparingly for a creamier texture.

Honey. Most grocery stores provide ample options to use instead of honey. Agave nectar and maple syrup are healthy and popular options.

What about the frosting?

In some circles, such as 6-year-old’s birthday parties, a cake without icing is grounds for an eruption of tears and disappointment. Fortunately, such catastrophes can be avoided with a little vegan-baking savvy. In fact, if you’ve been paying attention, you already know the solution. The key replacement ingredient in icing is butter, which – as you know – can be swapped out with coconut oil for a frosting that’s actually pretty darn healthy, assuming you limit the sugar.

Indulging your vegan sweet tooth

While many of these substitutes are super delicious, they can affect the baking process. One thing we’ve learned over the year is that vegan baking, if using non-vegan recipes, can require a little trial and error, but we’re proud to offer vegan and gluten-free cakes to our customers because we know everyone still loves sweets!

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Who Said Cake’s Only for Birthdays?! Shame! Shame!

Company morale matters

Company morale matters more than you might think.

Somewhere along the road of life, the word “work” began collecting some rather unfortunate baggage. As a kid it basically meant, “not playing,” and as grown-ups it got, well…a little more complicated. 

Work can be a passion or a punishment, and finally, science has started paying attention to what we’ve known for years – your work environment matters! One study suggested a direct relationship between happiness in the workplace and increased productivity. So, now all you need is some happiness! 

Easier said than done, especially for more challenging vocations and intrinsically stressful industries.  Luckily, there are always ways to lighten the mood: you just need to think like a kid again!

3 cake worthy celebrations for your corporation

A  pretend study conducted on imaginary kids ages 4 through 12 decisively asserted that cake makes just about any event better. So, here are some perfect occasions to bring some of that youthful sunshine back into the hearts of your crew.

1. Cake day!!! Then again, maybe everyday should be cake day – for the sake of productivity, how about one day a month designated to celebrate your staff, one employee at a time? As an added bonus, they can even decide on the flavor and design – but, all cake and icing aside, the real value is the positive impact on morale individual attention creates.

2. Onboarding. More and more recruiters are emphasizing the importance of a solid onboarding process – and research backs them up. For example, the Academy of Management Journal published a study suggesting that the effects of a positive onboarding experience lasted for at least 90 days. To really make it special? Send a welcome cake to the new hire’s home so the whole family can feel included.

3. Launching a new endeavor. Whether it be a new product, expanded services, or, maybe landing a coveted account –- starting off with a brilliant cake in the room sets the stage for success, and of course, an abundance of smiles! After all, if you’re going to send a ‘thank you’ cake or gift to a new customer, wouldn’t you want to do the same for the team who worked so hard to get you there?

What your cake says about your company

While the gesture of a supermarket cake is sure to endear, a cake that’s customized for the occasion or the employee really goes the extra mile to make your team feel appreciated and a vital part of the business. That inclusiveness means everyone pulls a bit harder for success, which in turn means more occasions to celebrate with cake!