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!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I have two great Halloween cakes to share.  The funny thing is that neither was for Halloween.  The skull cake was an April birthday but done so that we could honor the gamers love Halo (grunt skulls).  This cake was done about five years ago but still looks awesome in pictures.
All the wee tiny skulls you have
to find in the game.
This bad boy was red velvet and one of my first sculpts.  I was pretty pleased with it.  It was full size as well so much cakey goodness.

Birthday boy gets his cake!

Our second cake is still creepy but hopefully in a more cartoonish kind of way.  This year, Oct 6, we got to do a mad scientist cake.  This awesome kid wanted the eyes to pop out and really go for gross.  I decided that it must be that his brain was too big which is why his eyes popped out and so I decided his brain should pop out too!

It's ALIVE!!!!

So there you have it!  Happy Halloween!

October 27, 2012 Susan and John

Congratulations to Susan and John who tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony in front of friends and family at the .Fairfield Inn & Suites Marriott.  Ginger Buchanan and the catering staff did a wonderful job making sure that everything from the hotel went smoothly.

  Catherine Katz of Cherished Celebrations and Megan Bugbee  did a superb job of setting up the room where the reception was held and then with limited time to work "flipped" the same room so that it became the reception area as well.  There was live music from lovely duo playing fiddle and guitar, as well as other instruments, entertaining the guests in the main lobby as they waited patiently for Susan and John to take pictures.    The catering for the reception was done by Catering by Jasmine which is some of the best Mediterranean  food I've ever had.

Once everyone had eaten it was time for cake cutting for pictures and cake cutting for eating.  The cake I created for Susan and John was done in two flavors: the top tier was strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting while the bottom tier was orange cake filled with chocolate ganache and frosted in orange buttercream.  The whole cake was covered in fresh marshmallow fondant. 

The design was actually created by the groom.  He had a very specific look that he wanted and was great about providing pictures for visualization.  The tree limbs and branches were made of modeling chocolate and the flowers were of gumpaste and fondant.  The "double happiness" in Chinese script was also made of fondant.  The two birds on top were made of cold porcelain as keep sakes.

It is always such an honor and a pleasure when I get to see the couple I've created a cake for enjoy it with their guests! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sarah and Andrew

Aren't these guys adorable!

My birthday was earlier in October and among other cakes created that weekend, I had the extreme pleasure of creating a beautiful wedding cake for Sarah and Andrew for the October 6, 2012 wedding.  Their topper was too cute!  They had a felted cat and dog made to symbolize their pets and it really suited them.

The reception was held at the Blu Seafood Bar in Durham.  It was a gorgeous afternoon, the food smelled great and the cake was just the right touch!

October 6, 2013
Sarah and Andrew

Cold Porcelain that Worked

I've written a few times about working with cold porcelain but I don't think I ever really decided whether I liked it or not. I believe this is the case mostly because it wasn't working for me and I really wanted to like it but it wasn't giving me a reason too.
My most recent wedding cake needed a topper that was a keep sake and it was very specific. I just felt that doing a gumpaste topper this time wasn't the way to go. Once again I turned to the cold porcelain.
I've done some research and I know it can be purchased in the store, ready to go but I'm a "do-it-myself" kind of person, a deconstructionist if you will, because I like to know how things are made. Because quite frankly, sometimes, it's easier to whip something up in the kitchen at midnight than to wait until the stores open at 10 am the next day and because when you're learning something new you don't want to spend a lot of money. So while yes there are certain items I will buy this doesn't need to be one of them; not until I have declared with 100% certainty that I can't make it myself.
So here we are trying again. I make the porcelain using one of two recipes I have and turns out great. I sculpt my little birds and set them aside to dry and wait to see what happens.
After 12 hours of drying things look good. I'm pumped. After 24 hours of drying I'm starting to see the tiniest little hairline cracks. I think, "I'll just patch these with some more porcelain and see if that works." It doesn't. Within another day there are more cracks, they're bigger and I realize this isn't going to work. Time to do some Internet work.
After searching a bit for artist who work in cold porcelain or forums of the same I'm not getting very excited as it seems I may be out of luck. As a last ditch effort I turn to Facebook. I find someone there, Cold Porcelain Art,  who is willing to answer my questions  for me!
It seems the reason my figurines kept cracking was that my recipe included water. Since cold porcelain is an air dry product, like some clays, it will crack as the moisture is removed and it shrinks.
You can see the split at shrinkage.
OK. I have a second recipe that doesn't use water and we give it a try. I create my figurines and then wait and watch. Perfection! Here's what I also found with this recipe that was different than the first one. The consistency of the second batch was much more like working with gumpaste and felt much more familiar. The previous batch and recipe always felt much too soft and I never felt like I could get a good sculpt with it.
My birds were sculpted and took about 3 days to dry. I noted also that there was much less shrinkage than before; another plus. So I now have three sets of figurines to play with - two that can't be used because of cracking and "the keepers" that need to be colored and sealed. Given the fact that I have extras I can experiment with pastels and acrylics and see what I like.
acrylic and sealed
I've never really worked with pastels but I've done a lot of charcoal work and it's basically the same principal just with color.  I did like the look of pastel on the porcelain, however, in this case the acrylic gave me the color and the look I wanted.   Birds are painted and sealed and have successfully done their job as toppers. 
Double Happiness wedding cake with cold porcelain bird topper
I think I"m starting to like cold porcelain! 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Gumpaste or Cold Porcelain?

I've recently been asked to make a non-cake presentation piece.  When I was approached about this project I made certain that the interested party understood that I normally work in cake and edible elements.  So, after talking about what they were looking for and what I could do for them, we decided that what I would create for them would be a styrofoam construction, covered in gumpaste and other sugar pieces.  But then I started thinking this week as some of the construction began, wouldn't cold porcelain be better?

Gumpaste is really great for working structures that need to be solid because it sets up very solidly.  When done in a 50/50 mix with fondant it is even stronger.  But in this case the entire project is meant to be a keep sake and really has no reason to be made of sugar.  I'm thinking this three and-a-half week project will be mostly cold porcelain when possible.   I will not be able to post pictures until this is complete as the whole project is a huge secret.  But I will take pictures as I go so that they can all be posted afterwards.