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!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Who makes your birthday cake?

It seems like this would be obvious but, alas, it still gets asked of me.  Now, if I had tons of money I would commission a cake from one of many fellow bakers whose work I know to be at my own standards.  This would be a way to get it as close to my own baking as possible.  I use it as an excuse to try experimental recipes or just go simple. 

I've had cookies, old fashioned ice box cakes, ice cream cakes, and so on.  It's kind of like asking the mechanic who fixes his car.  If it's something you can do yourself, most of the time you do. 

Do you ever watch....?

It never fails that as soon as someone asks: "What do you do for a living?"  and I answer, "I'm a self-employed baker," the next question is inevitable, "So do you ever watch those cake shows on tv?"  Really I could answer the question a dozen different ways but the following question would still be the same.  My answer, actually is, yes.  Actually, I DVR a lot just because I have to be able to catch them in my own time, which could be any time with my weird timing, but still, yes, I watch them. 

Why?  I've got a couple of reasons and I don't think they are all what people expect.  There are some shows I no longer watch for some unexpected reasons as well. 

Reason 1:  Cupcake Wars
I know it's not really the amount of time the show says they have so don't think I believe everything I watch.  But they do have to come up with really interesting flavor combinations in the first round from supposedly obscure reasons.  The table may have bacon, chili peppers, licorice, rice, sea weed, etc.  So the short answer is I watch for interesting recipe and flavor ideas. 

Reason 2: Amazing Wedding Cakes
I have to pay very little attention to the people because most of their personalities alone can drive me nuts.  Nevertheless, they managed to hook a show on Food Network and so let's see what they've got.  I have been extremely impressed with some of the work and some not so much.  This is my "trendy idea" show.  There are lots of ideas floating around out there and this is a really great way to see what trend is trying to be pushed. 

Reason 3: Food Network Challenge/Next Great Baker

Challenge is probably my favorite.  It's not remotely related to the others because it's down and dirty for 8 hours (that's 16 if you count it's two people flat out killing themselves to do something they'd probably do in 2 days).  Techniques that otherwise take 3 or 4 hours are shriveled down to 30 minutes.  Smack talk and the very obvious camera in your face add their own stress.  But if you can pull it off, you've got a cool $10, 000.  I don't know how much they really get in the end but still...even if you lose you've been on TV.  And I've seen some new, fresh faces that have done really amazing work. 

The Next Great Baker was really an ingenious thing that Buddy did.  I only occasionally watch his show just because there is too much yelling.  But stepping out and creating another show that focuses on his bakery without it being about is bakery, genius.

Finally, reason 4:  You
The simple fact that so many people ask me if I watch certain shows tells me that they are watching these shows.  So that when they say, "Can you do..." and describe a cake they've seen on TV, I can say, "Yes. "  This is where conversation starts to go a little wonky because we have to talk about cost but I promise mine will still be less than what would be charged by the person on TV. 

So now you know that yes I do and why.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Is it okay to say no?

This is a tough question I have to put to myself constantly. While I am surrounded by people with my best interests at heart, offering advice and trying to keep me sane, it's still hard to for me to battle this question.

"No" is a word I don't have a tremendous amount of trouble with generally.  However, when it comes to clients, it's almost impossible for me to say this little monosyllabic word.  Do I over extend myself?  Quite a bit.  Do I work past exhaustion?  Constantly.  So here is the bigger question:  If it's okay to say no, when should you say no?

After much internal struggle I found the answer that fits best for me.  It is okay for me to say no when I take a client out of a feeling of obligation, even though I'm over booked and tired, rather than decline when it is really the best option.   I do not like to disappoint people.  And I have taken orders because of the particular challenge but now I have found where to draw my line in the sand.  Just because someone calls for an appointment or is potential client in anyway does not obligate me to sign on if I cannot produce my best work for them. 

Wow, I guess it is okay to say no.  What do you feel is the defining factor for saying "no" to a potential client/booking?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Prophetic Weddings

We all want to think that our chosen mate was "meant to be."   That you were bound to be together and your wedding was destined.  It's like you could read it in the stats. 

Well, I don't know about all that but I do know that in 2011 I had the priveledge of providing wedding cakes for two couples who just happened to have chosen dates that were said to be "the end of the world."  Obviously this did not happen according to schedule because I sit here typing this blog.  What I do know is that these weddings went flawlessly and that in anticipation of the end of the world, delivery traffic was very light on both days.

 May 21, 2011
 I delivered a wonderful wedding cake to Shelby and John at The Cotton Room in downtown Durham.  Delicious layers of angel food cake with fresh strawberry mousse in between.  The day was beautiful, sunny, and John and Shelby were beautiful together.

October 21, 2011

After a rough hurricane season on our coast, Jessica and Anthony found that they had to move their beach wedding inland, like all the way to Durham.  Having survived May 21st with no ill results we now moved onto October 21st, the newly ordained "end of the world" date.  Jessica's father, Jim Shaw (www.JimShawPhoto.com) jokingly asked if he could get his deposit back if the world ended...um, no.

Again, a beutiful, warm and sunny day in Durham and the reception site was relocated to Croasdaile Country Club (www.croasdailecountryclub.com).  Jessica and Anthony were able to have their beach reception with a cake covered in chocolate seashells and flip flop topper.

May 21, 2011 - not the end of the world.   October 21, 2011 - nope, still not end of the world.  They were definitely special days that, for a few families, will always be remembered as destined.