About Me

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Durham, NC, United States
My name is Veronica and I own Southern Gold Leaf Cakes. I opened my home-based business in 2008. I am a licensed and inspected home bakery specializing in custom cakes. Since all cakes are made to order there are no frozen cakes here, only fresh and only home made. I am a self-taught baker but I have a strong art background with years of baking experience. It is the most rewarding feeling in the world when you can apply your skills to do something you love. To see my cake creations and view our yummy menu visit us at www.southerngoldleafcakes.com!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Box of Chocolates - update

This has been quite the learning experience but in a really great way.  It tuned out much the way I expected and with the learning curve not being as bad as I expected.   Here are the sheets of chocolate rolled out to dry so that I could construct the box.  Then there were about two dozen red velvet cake balls that were placed in gold cups for the "candy" portion.

Then there was building the box and piping the details.  I also built the lid so that it could be opened.  The sheet cake on the inside was lemon blackberry. After making a "tray" for the "candy" it was placed on top.

The names were piped on in chocolate.  CRU stands for Clinical Research Unit (they are the GCRC).  If you can see the small beading work, that is chocolate as well.  I used a 4mm bead maker to make those tiny little pearls.   I wanted to do so much more in the way of decoration but just simply ran short of time.  More images will be on FB and the website.

box walls of chocolate

red velvet "candy"

candy on a tray

box lid

Front view

Side/aerial view

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Belated birthday blog at PlayNation

This is a belated birthday party story.  The story actually happened in December before Christmas.   Some of you may know that I do cupcakes for a local indoor play company called PlayNation of Morrisville http://www.playnationparties.com/.  So when someone has a birthday party there, and they are awesome by the way, the cupcakes that their children receive come from me (unless for some reason they have an allergy I can't bake for or they just don't want cupcakes!) 

 It's not unusual for the party goers to have specific requests from time to time, like, pink frosting, no sprinkles, yellow cake instead of vanilla, blue wrappers, etc.  I do my best to customize as much as I can.  One order however became very specific and I was asked to call the parent directly, which of course I did, letting her know she could work with me directly for her needs.  This mom of twin boys, both adorable, was attempting a Dr. Seuss party theme she'd seen on line.  Her request was pretty simple, "can you do blue frosting and red paper?"  No problem.  "Can you do yellow cake instead of vanilla and chocolate?"  No problem.  "What else can you do?"  One of my most/least favorite questions.   Long story short, after much discussion, emails with pictures and arrangements, we came up with the an extra 6" round in blue with white polka dots to sit on top of the cupcake stand she created and would be filled with the cupcakes.  The yellow cake was filled with cookies and cream filling and all was frosted in blue buttercream. 

Since their party was so close to Christmas and she's a busy mom of twins, I decided to wait until after the holidays to request pictures.  So, without further ado, the finished product.

What an amazing job she did creating this stand for her boys!  My understanding is the party was a thrilling success and much cake was enjoyed by all.  Sometimes it's fun to just do things a little differently.

Monday, January 17, 2011

More thoughts on modeling chocolate (candy clay)

I've not worked extensively with modeling chocolate but it seems to be no harder to deal with than gumpaste. Yes, it will melt with the heat of your hands so you must work either faster or in a colder space or in short bursts. By the same token, however, the ability to create a more malleable medium just with the heat of your hands has it's advantages.

I currently have two batches of white chocolate "candy clay" chilling in the fridge so that I can begin working on the decorative structure of a cake due this weekend. I already realize I will need to make more. I'm pretty good at eyeballing how much gumpaste I will need since I make my own and know how much will come out of a batch. Now I know how much modeling chocolate I get in a medium batch and it's not as much as I expected - I take that back. It's actually a relatively good amount of candy clay for. It's not a large enough amount for this particular project.

So while it was formulating in my mind to make the candy clay I happen to see on "Fabulous Cakes" where one baker uses modeling chocolate extensively in place of both gumpaste and fondant. That is actually a pretty brilliant concept. She said it just tastes better and it's her area of expertise. I grant you that all fondant does not taste good. Some of it is pretty nasty. I happen to make my own either out of marshmallows (I have to make them first) or a glycerin based fondant but both are really tasty because they are 80% powdered sugar. They can't not be sweet. In all fairness there are one or two really great companies out there that I have purchased fondant from (which is obviously less labor intensive but much more expensive) and they are very praise worthy. So in defense of fondant - not all fondant is gross.

I watched her mix melted chocolate into her buttercream before applying it to her cake, which not only made a beautiful natural design, but when both the chocolate and butter set up will be really firm. I guess one of my questions is: what happens if it's a really hot day? You know, the kind we get in August in North Carolina? I mean, even using modeling chocolate in place of fondant over your buttercream, I mean, let's face it the chocolate is gonna melt. I'm not saying fondant is fool proof. If a cake is in the heat long enough eventually the buttercream will melt and there goes your beautiful smooth exterior. But if the entire cake is covered in modeling chocolate......
I'm not trying to sound as though I bash the idea. I actually think it's rather cool and I'm intrigued to try it myself in the near future. Right now, me and the candy clay are a work in progress; getting to know one another. Given the fact that both my kids have birthdays at the end of February and they both order very detailed, very complicated cake designs it's good I get started now!

Anybody ever try this? What's your favorite use for the candy clay? Any favorite brand of chocolate?


Box of Candy cake

This week I am attempting to work with chocolate in a way that is really new and experimental for me.  While I've used chocolate in cakes, as frosting on cakes, as drizzle over cakes and I've used modeling chocolate for small pieces I've never used it for structure. 
   My challenge is to create a box of candy.  The actual inside will be cake (lemon blackberry to be exact) and the "candy" will be cake as well (but I'm not spoiling that surprise).  The actaul cake box is the chocolate construction that will be my challenge.  While theoretically I know how it should work I've never done it.  I don't expect it to be tremendously hard but I still move forward with caution as the things that seem easy seldom are.  As well as the fact that whenever I've seen someone do this THEY make it look too easy!
  Since the client is my mom I told her this was an experimental first and her response - "Ok.  We just know we love the cake!"  I will attempt to get pictures as I go so that the next time I talk about this cake you can see the progress and maybe the finished results!  Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ooops, I missed the beginning of January

Obviously we're well into the middle of January.  This is my first posting of the new year.  What can I say?  Things have been busy and schedules have been chaotic and over all it's been a slight period of adjustment to which I am, quite honestly, still adjusting.  Let me see if I can sum up what's been going on the last couple of weeks. 
  Traditionally the beginning of the year is slow from wedding cake stand point.  There are still birthday parties, cupcakes and events to bake for but it is still one of the slowest times of the year.  That being said, after going through the incredible rushes at the end of December to a sudden drop off, it was a real head spin to adjust to the use of my time. 
  I have cakes that are scheduled starting in February and moving into the spring so there is detail work to be done.  I am working on dairy-free and vegan recipes and new items to add to my menu.  I am putting together an Etsy store front so watch for that too.  I have lots of ideas for the up coming calendar dates  like Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras and I'm even putting together my ideas for my displays at this year's bridal show in the fall. 

I have been busy.   I am very excited about what this year will hold.  Happy baking everybody!