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, February 28, 2011

Family business or....

...a business that seems to be in the family blood. 

I have a cousin that lives in Michigan that I have not see in some 30 years.  Thanks to modern technology (FaceBook) we have been able to reconnect and become family again.  So you can imagine my surprise when I see my cousin Beckie turning out these killer cakes.  She doing sculpting and fondant and wedding cakes.  Suddenly we're swapping recipes and techniques back and forth and it's sooo cool.  I mean, this is not something either of us intended to do but here we are.  We are both self taught and both just passionate about cake, frosting and art and all that jazz. 

So how does this happen?  How does she live so far away and have a time gap so broad and yet here we are patting each other on the back every other day over cake achievements?  All I know is it's very cool!  What would be cooler is if she was closer so she could work with me and we could really bust some heads (in a sweet, cake related way!)  

It's a shout out to family!  It must be in the blood.  That Ferguson side must run some darn pretty shades of creative juice because we seem to have it in spades!  One of these days we're gonna get it together and then just look out!  

Here's a couple of the fabulous cakes she's done.  Awesome!!

Love ya Beckie!

Making or breaking a budget

I know it's been touch on by others but I think it is worthy of being repeated.  I know how important a budget it and how hard it can be to stay within that budget and still get everytihng you want/need.  However, just because something costs less and "fits your budget" doesn't mean it's the right fit.  There is also a saying, "you get what you pay for." 
  My husband has teased me with a video of a couple buying a cake that costs next to nothing and then the girl mentions it will be perfect for their wedding.  The lady behind the counter then pulls out an exact replica of the cake they just looked at and says, "Oh, then you want this one.  It's a wedding cake."  It also costs triple but it's the same cake.  The joke is that everything is more expensive if it's for a wedding. 
   It's in my experience that most, not all but most, cakes are priced on a per slice basis and then the additional fees come in the form of either extensive sugar work, delivery, special order items and such.  I have vistied many websites that don't even list a price range and insist that you have to meet them for those details.  I have seen websites where the per slice price is extremely low but they tell you further down the page that additional charges may apply.  I have even priced cakes through these bakers only to find that in the end the cake they quote me is no more expensive than my own even though the initial price per slice is dramatically different. 
  It comes down to knowing all the facts on the baker and how the final cost is tallied.  This is something that many brides do not think to look for because of all the other things they are juggling with their wedding.  It is my opinion that it is the baker's responsibility to make sure they understand where and why each and every additional fee occurs.   You may think you have found a baker who fits your budget when looking at the intial price but find that it costs more in the end and your budget won't cover all that you want. 
  I was recently told by a bride that she wanted to meet as soon as possible to discuss her summer wedding and that she had heard nothing but good things about me and was so excited.   An hour later she re-emailed me and siad that she just noticed my prices were too high and she couldn't afford me but thanks anyway.  It came down to the fact the other bakers she spoke to started their cakes at half the price but what I never heard her mention was any frame of reference.  She had hunted down other bakers based on their "price per slice" and no other referral or frame of reference.   I give you now the same words I gave her (after I thanked her for contacting me and wished her well - and I did mean it):

1.  Ask questions.  Ask for a copy of their preliminary contract to see all the fees they are going to include to your cake price that will result in your final price.  How many additional fees are added to make up for such a small initial fee?  Ask for references for past brides.

2.  Love the cake you taste and be comfortable with the baker you choose.  Don't feel pressured because of price and don't allow yourself to be limited in your visual design or amount of cake you must purchase in order to get such a reduced price.

3.  Be satisfied with your decision.   When you are ready to make your deposit and sign your contract know that you will walk away with no regrets and feel that your cake is in good hands.

These are the things I want for my clients and for people who aren't my clients.  So remember you'll get what you pay for and you can still get good things without breaking your budget.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday, Monday...

Should Monday always have to be busy paper work day?  I don't know how it happens but it always seems to turn out that way.  I almost never touch the computer between Saturday and Sunday because of delivery obligations and general cake busyness.   Maybe that's why Monday is always such a chore. 

Now, I will admit that I do jump on a bit just to read blog postings and tweets and so forth but I try to not delve to deeply or I will get sucked into the whirl wind that is paper work and not get a day off. 

I'm going to conclude that Monday must be the paper work day since no baking, flower making or anything else remotely creative happened today.  *sigh*

My DIY bride!

 I had the extra ordinary pleasure of meeting a great couple this week.  I was a DIY bride and so I understand completely the reasons behind it.  Sometimes it's budget, other times a level of control but ultimately you just want to be involved in every part of the process.

 This wonderful bride-to-be has done what I've seen few do; managed to not over micro-manage and remain a pleasant person to be around.  She's not trying to make her dress or her cake (good for me) but she is looking into her own accessories, table decor and so forth.

At the consultation she was such a blast!  Because of her pleasant personality and her willingness to share many of the ideas for the reception, we were able to create some really great ideas for the decorations on her cake and the fact that she was open to just about any idea was great.

It doesn't happen often but thank goodness when it does.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

April's "Show Stopper" wedding cake

Every so often you get a bride that knows exactly what she wants down to the tiniest detail.  Sometimes a bride is more flexible and will bend like a willow reed.  Then you have a bride like one that I'm currently working with for her April wedding. 
 Now, I'm not going into great detail about the cake here because it's too early and she should see her cake before all the details have been printed for the world to see.  However, she has been one of the easiest brides when it comes to design I have worked with in a long time. 
  She knew the essentials of what she wanted and told me in our first conversation, "I want to go bold."  She sent me an image of the style she wanted.  So I ran with it in the most bold and daring way yet tried to keep it tasteful and elegant.  First hurdle cleared, she loved it! 
  When we talked more during the tasting and shared more ideas with her, again, she's not only loving the ideas but pushing the envelope one step further but ulitmately saying, "You're the professional.  If you think we can do this and still keep it beautiful then let's do it.  I trust you and know you'll make it perfect."   That is some high praise and not just a little bit of pressure.

All of the above being said, this cake will have it all.  In the end, I believe it will be regal and elegant and put a new spin on some more traditional concepts.  I can't wait to get pictures posted!