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!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

As seen on tv

Oh to be the boss of an Italian bakery and have my large, skilled family around me to handle the paper work, the phone calls, make hundreds of flowers and be there for me to explode at when I'm having a bad day.

Oh how nice it would be to have a dozen interns to hand things off to and a couple of high skilled artists on my team that I know I can count on to make the impossible possible. 

Oh how reality cake television has just about driven me off a cliff with the impossibly high bar it has set with the expectations it presents to the local bride. When  bride-to-be starts laying out her wedding cake plans and wants to "shoot the moon" I'm fine with that.  The only time I ever have issue is when they contact me in such a short time frame that many of the sugar decoratins they want aren't possible in that time frame.  While some decorations can be done a day to hours ahead many take a week and sometimes more. 

What takes mere moments on television takes hours, weeks and days for the rest of us (and secretly for them too.  That's why it's called the "magic" of television.)  It makes me feel like a one armed paper hanger sometimes.  Despite what it seems, baking and decorating really is work.  Transporting and setting up a cake really is work.  It's stressful, tiring, long hours and nerve wracking to say the least.  I absolutely love it but that doesn't make it any less work.   Despite what television shows us in a one hour show, it takes them more than a couple of days as well.  My overall goal is to provide my client with the most delicious and unique cake they can find.  I try to involve my clients in as much of the design process as possible.  I want it to be their cake.

 So if you're shopping for a cake for any occasion please remember to be realistic in your time frame.  Please do not wait until only a few weeks until you need your edible masterpiece to contact your cake provider.  You will either find they are already booked or that the cake you are dreaming of may take more time than you have given your baker/decorator - unless you really want the drama you see on tv.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Not from a box

I do not cut corners. I do not break down and buy a cheap box of cake mix. I do not wimp out, buy something and hope someone won't notice. I make every single cake from scratch.

Homemade has come to mean Betty Crocker and the woman on that show that's "semi-homemade".   Several times over the last few weeks I have had to make this distinction.  I understand the confusion.  I really do.  As much as it still boggles my mind, we are in a generation where people don't learn to cook unless they plan to make it a career and homemade means it comes from a prepackaged box.  Don't get me wrong, I've been there a few times in my own life.   Sometimes it's just easier to grab a box off the shelf or a bag out of the freezer to toss in the microwave and be done with it.  You're eating at home and that makes it homemade.

When I first started making cakes I told people I made them myself; homemade.  I didn't realize that was automatically lumping me into the "box mix" category.  I then started to meet other local bakers and found that *gasp* many of them did actually use box mix because it was cheaper.  Sure, they doctored it a little bit and, as they said, "most people can't tell the difference".   Holy Cow!  

In the last few months I've found myself repeatedly having to explain the difference between homemade and made-from-scratch.  When you go through the grocery line with that many eggs, boxes of butter, cans of baking powder and so forth somebody always says, "are you a baker?"  Yes.  I am a baker.  And I'd like to clarify that I bake from scratch down to the last detail.

Knowing what I know now clears up so many things.  For example, I am shocked at the number of people who tell me they like chocolate but not chocolate cake.  I understand the reasoning now as I've begun to bring them back to the delicious world of chocolate cake.  A chocolate cake from a box has very little chocolate flavor at all.  It doesn't have the same moist texture and crumb, it dries out quickly and you must use a very fudgy frosting to enhance the flavor.  To see the expression on someones face when they taste a cake made-from-scratch and it's so much more than they expected is always a treat for me.   When I do a tasting I keep the cake separate from the frosting and fillings so that they can mix and match and have the opportunity to taste each item individually.

This whole "homemade equals a box mix" thing has been bugging me for a few weeks now.  We are so advanced yet so backwards.  I like to know how things are made.  Items don't just appear, they have to come from somewhere.   The same people look shocked when they say, "you MAKE marshmallows?"  Uh, yeah.

Quality comes from caring and using really good, fresh ingredients.  I can tell a cake that's been made and frozen.  I can tell a cake that came from a box.  Sometimes I can even tell you what brand of frosting they used based on consistency.  I do everything myself from start to finish.  I sift and weigh the flour, measure out the baking powder and create mess and chaos using every bowl and measuring spoon I have.  I do it all by myself and I do it all for the people who want really awesome cake.

I'm a scratch baker, not from a box.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Week in review...

Okay, so maybe it's more like three weeks in review.  Time management is usually something I'm very good at.  I'm usually a very organized person. .  I mean, who really wants to hear what I have to say about cake and baking and business?  Apparently a few people do so I have to be responsible at least for them and hopefully they will forgive me if I ramble.

Along with the April showers (and tornadoes) came a flurry of activity and events.  We started off the month of April with a wonderful fund raiser for my daughter's preschool.  That led us into the final week before a wedding which is when I'm making sure I've double checked my list for pre-made decorations and equipment. 

The weekend of April 16th brought us a beautiful wedding and terrible weather.  My heart goes out to all the families and businesses that suffered that day and I count myself blessed to have not suffered any ill effects.  However, that also brought me into the one week prep period for my next wedding. 

This was my first month of weddings where they were weekend bookends.  I have had several periods where one wedding a month may be the norm so even though I knew that I could do one each weekend the physical practice had not been applied to the theory.  I survived and did so with flying colors. 

Many people that I've talked to about this that know I run a cake business keep saying "you all" or "you guys".  I have had to correct many people on the concept these last couple of weeks that there is "no they" only me.  This is when they stop and look at me like I've got three heads followed by, "you do all that by yourself?"  The answer is always the same, "yes."  One more reason why it takes me a little longer to get to my blog.

So please forgive me if I'm not current.  I am trying.  I hope everyone had a wonderful April, a blessed and beautiful Easter and I'll see you soon.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I know, I'm late again!

But hey, it's been really busy and that's good, right?  Well, it just shows I need to set aside that Monday (again) to make it computer and paper work day. 

So, first of all let me take a moment to thank anyone who read about and visited the fund raiser on April 2nd for St. Luke's preschool.  It was a huge success and a great time was had by all.  Bake sales are an awesome way to raise money so keep it in mind!

Secondly, I've been working really hard to get the webpage up.  It's been a much harder process than it should have been thanks to the tremendous tech support department that I was allowed to work with (read this with dripping sarcasim if you dare)!

Thirdly, a huge thank you to Kara Buntin for allowing me a guest post on her blog.  You can read it here:
http://acaketorememberva.blogspot.com/2011/04/guest-post-veronica-yoshida-on-cold.html.  If you've never visited her blog before it is always a good read and I encourage you to visit.

It's back to work for me.  This week and next are really busy times so I may not get back as quickly as I'd like. 

Until next time....