Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I am sad to say that this will be my last post here. After Friday April 27, 2012, I will no longer be a cake decorator with my current employer. I will begin my next adventure as an expedite truck driver with my Dad and as such, will no longer be posting here about cake.

However, I do have some photos of cakes I did to share with you all.

I hate drawing Dinsey...

For a while, we have been making 50+ parfaits each day. This table is re-filled every day and it usually takes a good 2 hours to do. I think I deserve an award for keeping this table full...
Boys love their balls!
 Duh nuh...duh nuh...duh nuh...
For a local weatherman.
Jackson Pollock would be proud...
They took down a wall near the bakery and we put a sign up to keep people from walking in...
I drew this on the black board while waiting for my brother as he took his general knowledge test at the CDL Office.The other truckers there were quite impressed. 

I would like to thank all of you who have been watching this blog and I am sorry to see it end, but I will continue writing and possibly ranting on my new trucking blog here:

Thursday, January 19, 2012


As a change of pace from my glorified self pity how about we all goggle at my cakes and you tell me how awesome I am. Or how much I suck...please say nice things.

Mental stability

That last year has been pretty rough. Between family drama, work drama, and my ongoing battle with manic depression and anxiety issues, I feel wrung through like a dirty dish towel.

And I am finding it harder and harder to just bear with it at times. It swings. And when the stress gets higher, the swings get more extreme.

I am begining to feel the mental threads of my brain start to tear and fray one by one. Hear that? That was the second to the last thread holding together my empathy for humanity. Oh, watch as that pitiful shriveled lump of abused empathy swings so precariously off my cerebellum.

As it swings to the left, I feel calm and peaceful, secured in the knowledge that I am good at my job and are recognized for it. You need a cake last minute, Ma'am? Sure thing! I am feeling good and confident and helpful at the moment.

 How can I help you today?

But as it swings right...


YOU CAN ALL GO FUCK A HORSE YOU HORSE FUCKERS! You see this face? This face here? This is my I DON'T GIVE A SHIT FACE! If you wanted a cake for your oh so special kid's birthday THEN WHY THE HELL DID YOU WAIT UNTIL THE DAY OF THE PARTY?! Can I make you a cake? NO I CANNOT! The best I can do is write the kid's name on the cake. YES THEY'RE FROZEN! We're not as lucky as Wal-Mart as to have five decorators on staff to constantly fill and refill the cake cake. SO WE MAKE DO! So you either get a frozen cake I made yesterday or YOU GET NO CAKE AT ALL!

And to the lady who ordered the cake with pink and blue snowflakes. Oh? They don't look like snowflakes? WELL I DID MY FUCKING BEST! I SAID I WOULD DO MY FUCKING BEST WHEN YOU ORDERED! WHAT THE HELL DID YOU EXPECT FROM A GROCERY STORE BAKERY DAMMIT!


Oh...there it goes.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mother Bears

Let me explain the Mother Bear to you. They are often Mothers around the age of 25-35 with either very young children or children reaching a milestone such as 16th or 18th birthday. Roughly half of them will pre-order ahead of time because they put actual thought into planning the party. Just speaking with them you have the innate feeling that if you mess up the cake in any way shape or form this lady will smite you. This is something I have come to accept. However, the most dreaded time is when I get a Mother Bear who waited till the LAST possible moment to get a cake and then throws a bitch-fit over not getting the perfect cake for their kid's BIG SPECIAL DAY! Obviously it wasn't so important that you couldn't call ahead.

Another reason I an scared of these Mother Bears is because YOU CANNOT PLEASE THEM. I get asked constantly to do three tiered cakes in fondant for less than $20 last minute. Alright, three things here Mommy Dearest:

1) We cannot do three tiers. I have to specially order the sizes and we need a week's notice and because they're intended for wedding cakes, they're uber expensive.  

2.) We do not carry fondant. This is a grocery store bakery. GROCERY STORE BAKERY. We are the equivalent of fast food in the baked goods industry.

3.) If we did have tiered caked and if we did have fondant it would certainly cost more than $20. And yes you can pay with food stamps.

 Now just imagine she had a head of snakes and rays of fire shooting from her eyes...

I am now becoming very wary of nice men who come in to order cakes. Because 9/10 times there is an angry wife behind them.

I feel for these guys, I really do. They'll have messed up somehow on the order and I will get a call from an irate mother asking me what their husbands ordered and then proceed to have a freak out over the fact that the cake ordered is not what she wants for her kid's party and her ire will be directed at both me and her Husband who was really sweet and nice. Mother bears, beware the mother bears.  Especially those wearing Prada.

Case in point, the lady who I spoke with yesterday. I was not the one who took the original order, but my Boss told me 'he was a nice guy, just wanted a pirate theme for his little boy'.  I was really excited to do this cake because 1) I love pirates, and 2) It was for a baby's 1rst birthday. Baby pirates omigoshsqueeee!

I don't have anything pirate theme that would be appropriate for a baby so I did a beach scene with ocean waves and a treasure chest with X marks the spot on it to make it look like a treasure map. About an hour before the cake is to be picked up I got a call from a pissed off Mom. She asked if we gave free smash cakes (a small cake for the baby to tear into) and I said yes. We have premade small smash cakes we give away for free and then if they want the smash cake to match the larger cake, we charge for the cake. She was irate over the plainness of the premade free cakes and demanded one that matched the cake and that it was SUPPOSED to be ordered by her husband.  I told her I had no record of a smash cake on the order form and it would be around 2:30 before I would be able to get one decorated because of all the orders I had. I am the only decorator and I cannot accommodate last minute orders, especially not on a Saturday! She was not happy with me, but said that 2:30 would do. So I try to get my orders out of the way so I could do the smash cake. I did the waves on top with a "1" on it. Smash cakes aren't hard really, they're just very tedious to do and really easy to mess up.   

So the lady comes to pick the cake up and doesn't say anything about the cake itself, which I usually take as a bad sign, but I am ready to defend my position if she throws a fit. But she didn't and left without complaints and I assured her the smash cake would be ready for her later. At 2:30 a girl comes in (her daughter maybe?) to pick the smash cake up. She asks if she just goes on through with it and I tell her no, you need to pay for it first. She looks confused and says 'It's suppose to be free, though.'


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Everything is Broken!

 Looks like my Grandpa's backyard...

Everything in the bakery department is broken in some way. Everything we have is old as sin and falling apart. We have three proofers and only one works fully. The other one struggles on, pittering about like the proofer-that-could. For the uniniciated, a proof is like a sauna for dough. It just makes the dough rise faster. Normally, bread is allowed to proof over night, but in this day and age we use proofers. They're easier, cleaner, and faster than the old fashion method. Or it would be if they did not have these episodes. And if you don't wash them regularly BOY can they rank up a stink. Trust me. I have burned nose hairs inhaling that stench.

Then there is a the bread slicer. This particular piece of human ingenuity is probably my biggest peeve as far as defaulting equipment. You see, the bread slicer is essentially a lever controlled arm that pushed a loaf of Italian bread into a wall of moving serrated blades. It's a really old model compared to the more modern designs, most of which are designed so that a two year old can safely operate it. Ours? You need to wear a chain mail glove JUST to handle the bread into it just in case your fingers get too close and those scary blades decide they would very might like to bite you. And don't think you're safe because you have that glove on either! I turned it on once and one of the rusty blades FLEW OFF and hit my arm. Luckily the dull side hit so I wasnot cut, but still. Scary shit, man. I have cut myself only once on the slicer though and is was bad enough to wish horrible things on that shitty piece of pooh. It's noisy too! Imagine pieces of rusty metal and gears shaking and squealing at a decibel just barely below your level of tolerance.

We also have a pizza oven which no longer works so now it's just a giant $10,000 egg timer and storage unit.

Our main oven operates as such: the oven racks have tacks on top where you push them onto another track in the oven hooks to a rotating dais. It lifts the rack and spins so the bread is cooked evenly from all sides and you don't have to rotate it manually. Our oven sucks. It's old, the steaming function barely works, and it likes to stop spinning at random times so when the timer goes off and you go to pull the rack out, you have bread that's burnt on one side and raw on the other. Our oven acts like someone with Alzheimer's. All of a sudden it'll forget what it's doing and the heat will stop or it will stop spinning. I would LOVE to kick the freaking window in.

And for the love of god will you people be more careful with the airbrush gun? Those needles are expensive and I'm sick of spending ten minutes EVERY DAY trying to straighten the bent needle tip out.

Our store is a the farthest out from most of the other locations, we're a good hour's drive from the next store so we're always the last for everything. New equipment mostly. Except audits. We always seem to be the first in line for those. Those higher ups just can't wait o tell us how shitty a job we're doing with the complete lack of resources they provide us with.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

New Rules

I came into work this morning to find a cake order that made me rage. It was for a lady who had been calling about a cake for almost a month now, asking what kind of decorations we could do. Originally, she wanted to see if we did the edible images, she had a logo she wanted on the cake. We don't have the printer for it. I told her to bring the logo in and if it was simple enough, I could do it in icing. She assured me it was a simple logo.

She apparently came in while I was off that day and placed the order with my coworker who now mostly works in the Deli, but helps out in the Bakery. The cake order I received was a 1/2 chocolate cake with white buttercream icing, two complex logos, and an American flag (wavy). Oh! And checkered pattern around the sides.

This is not cake boss. I do not have the resources for a cake like this! I cannot spend an hour drawing checkers on a cake! And those logos? HOW THE HELL CAN YOU SAY THOSE ARE SIMPLE?! Varied layers of color at a slant with intermingled lines! And a red circle with TINY TINY TINY writing. I would never have taken this order. Had I taken the order, I would have told the lady I could manage ONE of the logos at most. I tried both phone numbers she gave us and no one answered either. 

The best part is not only did my coworker take this monstrosity of an order, but she undercharged the customer. By $12. When I free hand draw, I charge a kit price which is $6. THREE pictures is $18 extra so her price SHOULD have been $52.99. But it was $40.99.

I was PISSED, but I went ahead and did the cake as best I could. I wish I was in the frame of mind to take a picture of it, but I was so annoyed that my coworker would take this order I kind of blacked out from rage.

When the customer picked the cake up she was visibly disappointed about the lack of checkered patterns, but I told her that we don't do decorations on the sides because they have a tendency to fall off. I refuse to do them. Plus it's Halloween. I go through black icing like it's sugar free pastries at a Diabetes convention.

She was nice and courteous but then whined to everyone up front about how much she hated her cake. My boss refused to give it to her for free. If she wanted it, she would pay full price. We don't play that "whine and cry and get a free cake" game anymore. People started abusing it and would come in every few weeks and pull that shit. You're not a child in need of a pacifier. If you don't want the cake, we'll hold onto it and serve it out for samples.

So we have two new rules:

1) When taking a cake order, take it as if you were the one who would have to do it. I know I can do some neat stuff with icing, but I'm not Kary Vincent.

2) All complex orders MUST be approved by either the Bakery manager or myself.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Recipe - Chocolate Lemon Tart

  This is not a picture of my tart. I just needed a photo representation of what you should expect to see. My tart looks just like it though...

I am taking a vacation up to visit relatives in Michigan, many of which I have never met. We are also finally placing my late Grandfather's ashes on his family plot, next to his parents and siblings. So it's half funeral half impromptu family reunion. So I decided to bake a tart to bring with me.

For the pastry you will need:

2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter - chilled and cubed
1 tbsp cold whipping cream
1 large egg yolk
a tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Place dry ingrediants into food processor and blend. Then place half of your chilled butter cubes into the food processor and pulse until you no longer see hunks of butter. Add the last half and pulse until your mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Add the wet ingredients and pulse until you see moist clumps starting to appear. Pour the mixture onto a clean work surface (preferably a cold marble counter top) and form the dough into a ball. Wrap it in plastic wrap and set in fridge to rest for at least one hour.

Preheat your oven to 375 F. I recommend using a tart pan for this recipe, one with a detachable bottom for you to pop the tart out with. Pull your dough from the fridge and allow to warm up just a bit so it's easier for you to work with. Roll your dough out and fill your tart pan, pressing it down into the groves of the edges. Try not to work the dough too much or it will melt the butter and make your crust tough. If you feel like you may have overworked it, pop it into the freezer for five minutes before putting it directly into the oven.

Watch your tart. Start it out on 20 minutes and bake further in 5 minute intervals. Things like the weather, your oven, and altitudes effect baking so keep a close eye on your tart shell. You want a lightly brown crisp shell. If it appears white, it's not done.

Chocolate Lemon Ganache:

12 oz semi-sweet chocolate. Chips or finely chopped. (Use quality chocolate and you will be rewarded.)
3/4 whipping cream
1 small lemon

Zest your lemon into a bowl and set aside. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice from one half into another bowl.

Set your cream in a  sauce pan over high heat. When you start to see the cream bubble, take off the heat, and pour in your chocolate and with a wire whisk, stir until you get a cohesive mixture. You should not see any clumps of chocolate and it should be thick and viscus, not watery. Add your lemon zest and juice of half a lemon and stir to combine.

With your cool pie shell, carefully pour in your chocolate lemon ganache and place in fridge to set. 

If you want to get fancy, sprinkle some powdered sugar on top and garnish with candied lemon peel and a sprig of mint.