Monday, November 17th, 2014 8:04 pm | by Dan
Wedding season is winding down and the holidays are about to gear up. In this little lull between the two, we’ve been keeping ourselves busy with lots of baby shower cakes along with the usual production of kid’s cakes. So I figured I’d start this post featuring a few of those cakes we’ve done recently. First up are some very cute baby shower cakes. First up is a cake featuring Peter Rabbit for a couple who didn’t know if they were having a boy or a girl and had decorated the new baby’s room with a Peter Rabbit and garden theme. The husband wanted to surprise his wife with a Peter Rabbit cake when the baby arrived. So we made the cake and had two scrolls — one if it was a boy and another for the girl. I took a picture of the cake with the boy’s banner, but I really don’t know which they had. So if you’re out there reading and know, give us a call! After that are more baby shower cakes featuring baby bottoms, teddy bears, whales, sailboats and wild animals. Click on any of the smaller images to see an enlarged picture.
Now to our bread and butter — kid’s cakes!! We’re getting pretty proficient at these 3D Minion cakes. We seem to be doing one every 2-3 weeks. Then there’s a super cute Owl cake for a one year old and a cake for a 5 year old obsessed with street signs. The mom reported back that Vincent loved the cake so much he didn’t want anyone to cut into it.
Continuing with kid’s cakes, here’s some more single tier cakes we did. Click on any image to see a larger one.
Here’s a fun cake we did for a guy who loves to bowl:
Finally, no blog post would be complete without a few wedding cakes. First up is a sort of spiderweb inspired design which is quite popular now. Next is a very simple cake — just plain iced sides — but it shows how much fresh flowers can transform a cake. The mums and orchids we had to work with to create the cascade were in perfect condition, making for a pretty stunning cake for this couple who got married at La Valencia up in La Jolla. Finally, there’s a pretty stunning cake (if I do say so myself — and I do), that went up to Grand Traditions in Fallbrook.
Well, that’s it for another blog post. Next week is Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year! We have the usual pumpkin and apple pies and our biggest seller — the chocolate pecan pie. We’ll have extras for sale on Wednesday and Thursday (We’re open until noon on Thanksgiving day). But it’s best to order ahead of time to be sure we have what you want. The holidays are here! Yippee!! Thanks for reading the blog and thanks for all the orders!
Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 12:15 am | by Dan
I’m woefully behind on blog posts, but it’s been a very busy (and HOT) end of summer. I could have easily done a full blog post with pictures of cakes from each week, if I’d set aside some time to do that. But you get caught up in the day to day bustle of each week’s production and before you know it, it’s been 6 weeks since you made your last post. So I’ll just feature some highlights. I’ll start off with some very lucky kids who got some pretty extravagant birthday cakes. First is a Care Bear Castle that’s just too cute for it’s own good for a little girl and then a Superhero tiered cake for a little guy. Then there’s a baseball themed cake for the son of one of the Padre’s relief pitchers and a Pirate’s Treasure Chest for a little girl. Frozen continues to be incredibly popular — even in the withering heat of this past September (or perhaps because of it). Who wouldn’t want an Elsa around to cool everything down when it’s 98 degrees? We did a single tier cake with Elsa and Anna on top, made and drawn by hand! All these cakes feature décor items that we did by hand, which, of course, makes cakes a bit more pricey. The last kid’s cakes is a tiered cake with edible images which help keep the cost down a bit. But you can compare the hand drawn Elsa in the single cake to the edible image of Elsa on the tiered cake to see the difference.
If you’re like me, you’re sick of being informed that someone you knew from high school “saved a life” in Candy Crush Saga. Perhaps if I ever played the game, I might be more grateful to that heroic virtual act. But I’ll keep my opinions of Candy Crush Saga to myself when someone pays us to make Candy Crush Saga cake! And while we’re on the candy theme, here’s a tiered cake that’s covered with candy — literally. It was quite the production getting all the candies to stick to the bottom tier of the cake, but it just looked fantastic. Finally, in the candy theme (sort of), I’ll also show a Hot Fudge Sundae cake we did with a Neopolitan Ice Cream theme.
I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I just don’t get having a Day of the Dead theme for your wedding. It just seems a little macabre to me, but then I didn’t grow up in a culture that really incorporates that. Of all the Day of the Dead wedding cakes we’ve done, however, the next one is by far my favorite. It actually looks sort of elegant, which I’d never really seen before with a Day of the Dead theme. It made me think that having a wedding cake with skulls all over it might not be such a bad thing after all.
And while we’re in the wedding cakes with Mexican themes, one of our former night bakers got married recently and got three cakes from us. Ian is one of my all time favorite former employees. He has such a wonderful, upbeat spirit about him with a very quick sense of humor. He was great to have in the bakery as he really buoyed everyone’s spirits and kept everyone in a good mood. I was sorry to see him move on, but that’s life in the food business. I was happy we had him as long as we did. For his main wedding cake, he got a three tier cake with large Mexican party flags all around. Then he got a cake in the shape of an apple pie and another in the shape of a ham bone ready to be carved. Ian was nothing if not unique. My best wishes to Ian and Sarah for a long and successful marriage! You can click on any of these images to see a larger version.
In a much more traditional vein, here’s a beautiful cake with ombre rosettes on the bottom that went to Old Venice in Point Loma. They have a pleasant patio in the back which is a nice place for a low-key out door wedding if you’re in the market for such a venue. One of the most popular designs we do is a cake with buttercream piped in horizontal pleats. The next cake is the first we’ve done like this with chocolate buttercream rather than vanilla. And then there’s a variation on this pattern where the pleats are piped in a wavy pattern rather than straight. Again, click on any image to see a larger version.
Finally I’ll close with a 3D helicopter we did for a Navy Helicopter pilot who was retiring. The emblems on the side of the cake show all the different divisions (if that’s the right word) of the Navy that he flew for during his career. His wife was thrilled with the cake when she picked it up.
Well, that finishes off another blog post. Thanks for keeping us so busy. I’m grateful for all the orders we have. And remember, if you want us to make you a fantastic cake like one of the above, be sure to contact us several weeks in advance of when you want the cake. We book up 2-3 weeks in advance these days. Thanks for reading!
Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 5:55 am | by Dan
We’re in the thick of wedding season here at Twiggs Bakery and we’re rolling wedding cakes out. There’s a lot to show off, so I’ll get right to it. We don’t do a lot of wedding cakes covered in fondant, but occasionally there’s a bride who really wants a wedding cake that’s ready for it’s Martha Stewart photo shoot. This bride had been planning her wedding for a long time — she’d booked her cake with Twiggs more than a year in advance. When I walked into the reception room at the Hyatt downtown, that long planning was obvious — the room was stunning. She got a very elegant cake complete with Cinderella’s coach on top. The cake really made a statement and looked great in the room.
Rudy and Rocky live in Las Vegas but wanted a destination wedding in America’s Finest City, rather than Sin City. These guys were REALLY into their cake, going so far as to order about twice as much cake as they needed because they wanted a real statement piece. Although they got married in San Diego, they brought Vegas with them in their cake design which they were extremely involved in. I did enjoy working on the cake and all the time we spent with them paid off when Rocky teared up when he first saw his cake. It made quite the statement.
Isabelle is another bride who wanted a real statement cake — a stairstep cake complete with bling ribbon and a mini Prada bag. The duck bride and groom atop the cake are a Korean tradition.
The Ultimate Skybox is in the penthouse of a building directly next to Petco Park. It has a spectacular view of downtown San Diego, the bay, Coronado and out to the Pacific Ocean. When the Padres are out of town, it’s a fantastic venue with a very urban feel that almost anyone would love. When the Padres are in town, they’re either a very fun bonus to your wedding (the Skybox looks directly down onto the ball field) or a huge distraction, depending on your perspective. If you have your wedding here, you’re having Creative Affairs by Amanda coordinate your wedding, as the venue requires this. We’re extremely fortunate that Amanda and her team really like us and refer us routinely. Courtney, one of Amanda’s assistants, told me on my last delivery there that we’d done the last 5 weddings there, which is great. So here are the last two cakes I’ve delivered there: the first with a skyline on the bottom tier reflecting the city surroundings. The second is a dessert buffet with a small wedding cake in the center with a big statement flower that we made. The picture of this buffet gives you a feel for the view from the Skybox. Dessert buffets are all the rage now and I recently came up with a separate price list for dessert buffet options since so many couples are interested in this.
Here are three other cakes we did that were pretty cool and a little different. The first has a cascade of gumpaste anemones and roses, the second is a combination of lace and “pearls” and the third has a very pretty blue “wave” border at the base of each tier. I was little skeptical about this last one, but when I piped that border when I set the cake up, I stepped back and thought “wow, that looks great!” You can click on any of these pictures to see a larger image.
Before I move off wedding cakes, I’m going to show a few pictures of rather understated designs that we do every weekend, but these are particularly nice examples. We do 2-3 Triple Swiss Dot wedding cakes every weekend. The first is a white cake with some daisies and yellow puffballs that looked like summer. The second is a pastel yellow cake with green ribbons, another very summer look. We often put fresh flowers on cakes, which I really enjoy doing. There were a wide variety of flowers for this cake. Initially I was only going to use the white flowers since the cake had yellow and green. I thought with more colors, the cake would start to look less and less like a wedding cake. But then I looked around the room and saw the centerpieces which were a riot of color. I figured that was the bride’s taste, so I used all the colors on the cake and it ended up looking great. Then there’s a cake frosted in a very rustic “stucco” style that’s extremely popular right now. The flowers available for this cake were just great.
Over the years, I’ve set up cakes with some rather odd and sometimes questionable backdrops. But this next one may be my absolute favorite. I’m not sure how the bride felt about it, but I just loved the Johnny Cash prison mug shot looking down on the cake in this private home (the bride’s brother’s house).
Of course, we’ve been doing more than wedding cakes in the last month. I think they’re all pretty self explanatory, so I’ll just show the pictures. Click on any image to see a larger one.
I devote these blog posts to our cakes, but there’s more to our business than just doing cakes. We have a huge morning breakfast business and both of our locations are real community centers. While our cakes draw in customers from all over San Diego, our cafés generally draw in folks from a mile radius. Over the years, our every day customers form bonds and real friendships. We’ve celebrated weddings, births and birthdays with our customers. And, unfortunately, occasionally one of our friends passes on.
Hal Vermillion was — to my knowledge — the oldest customer we’ve had. When we first opened our Adams Avenue location, Hal was an every day customer. At that point, Hal was 92. He still lived on his own and would walk the 4 blocks to Twiggs each morning for his cup of coffee and Danish. Hal had no real family. Of course, his parents had passed on and his sole sister had passed on at a very young age. He’d never married and had no children, so Hal was on his own in many ways — except for the circle of friends he cultivated at Twiggs. Over time, he came to Twiggs less often. His final visit was for a celebration of his 98th birthday, for which he wrote us a wonderful thank you note. In his final months, several of the friends Hal had developed at Twiggs visited him at his home. Hal was the definition of a gentleman. He was always dapper and wore a fedora along with dress slacks and a pressed shirt every day. He was an exceedingly kind person who especially loved dogs. I think some of Hal’s best friends were some of the neighborhood dogs who he fed biscuits to each day. Hal wrote a short essay on his life to be read at his memorial service, which was mostly attended by folks he knew from Twiggs. In the note, Hal reviewed his life and closed with “although my life has not been very eventful, I’ve had a very happy life.” Who could ask for more than that. Rest in peace, Hal. 1916-2014. You are missed.
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 6:56 pm | by Dan
We’re in the midst of wedding season here at Twiggs Bakery so we’re churning out wedding cakes. When I first started doing wedding cakes, I used to get a little freaked out while decorating and then delivering the cake, especially. Mentally I would be thinking “OMG! This is somebody’s WEDDING CAKE! I can’t mess up! OMG!” Now 20 years and more than a thousand wedding cakes later, I’m far more relaxed than I used to be. After so many years and deliveries, I’ve come up with a transport system where the cakes are essentially guaranteed to arrive in tact and in perfect shape. Where I used to want absolutely no one watching me when I set up a cake on site because I was so nervous, now I just chat with whoever happens to be there and watching. I actually enjoy delivering wedding cakes now (at least most of the time. Friday afternoon rush hour deliveries to North County are still a big annoyance). But I enjoy seeing the different reception sites and what folks have done to put their own stamp on things and make the celebration personal. So here are some wedding cakes I’ve delivered in the last few weeks where people put their own spin the traditional wedding cake.
The first two cakes are probably the last two cakes I’ll deliver to the Sub Base on Point Loma for quite a while. This base and the one where Admiral Kidd are have changed their access requirements. Whereas you formally just had to submit your name and vehicle information a week prior to the event to get on the access list, they now require social security numbers, driver license numbers and date of birth to get on the base. And you don’t submit these to the base. You submit them to the person sponsoring the event who then submits them to the base. And this isn’t just for vendors; this is for every single guest attending the wedding. Naturally, a lot of people don’t want to give all this information out to strangers — including us. We’ve decided to no longer deliver to either of these bases. From what I hear, this new rule has really killed business on the bases for weddings and other events because so many people are uneasy with the new rules. It’s a shame as they’re nice venues and events there brought money to the base to support operations. Perhaps the rules will revert to the old access rules in the future, but for now, here are the last two cakes we’ve delivered to the Oceanview Room on the subbase — both unique wedding cakes. The first is a design we’ve done a few times before — frosting the cake to look like a birch tree. The first time I did this cake, it took me about a day of experimentation to figure out how to make it work. Once I broke the code, it’s really not that difficult and it is a very cool and unique look. The “stand” they had for this cake was a little tricky. They had five sections of cut tree trunk which were all different heights and were definitely not flat. But I balanced the base on three of them while the other two just sort of fit in for show and it worked. The second cake mimics a sand castle for a couple which had a beach theme running throughout their reception.
From these two casual and different cakes, I’ll turn to two rather elegant and more traditional cakes. The first went to the serene and beautiful Estancia up in La Jolla. The cake features molded fondant embellishments all around the cake and some oversized flowers. The second is a chandelier drape we’ve done a few times before. This time, however, the bride wanted crystals added strategically at different drop points on the design. This cake went to the Abbey on 5th Avenue and just looked fantastic.
Next up is a simple but happy cake that went to the new Stone Brewing Restaurant at NTC in Point Loma. If you haven’t been there, you sort of have to know where it is to get there as there’s essentially zero signage pointing the way. When you finally figure out where it is, there’s just a little sandwich board on the sidewalk indicating that the restaurant is inside. It’s almost like finding a speakeasy. But once you’re in the place, it’s surprisingly massive. One of the folks working there told me it’s the largest restaurant in San Diego by square footage. And I can believe it. These cakes were set up in a courtyard in the back of the restaurant. The couple made a fun little lemon and lime bride and groom as a topper for the wedding cake. The groom’s cake is a barbell “weighing” 71914 pounds — the wedding date. We’ve already gotten a glowing 5 star yelp review on these cakes which we appreciate tremendously.
Next are three weddings which are rather traditional, but I think just looked great in their settings. The first has a combination of a teal ribbon with orange tulips which was really striking. This was in the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park. It looked like the dinosaur was coming for the wedding cake! Then there’s a very simple single swiss dot design with the very en vogue coral ribbon which went to Pioneer Park in Old Town. Finally, there a cake buffet of simple designs at the shabby chic Bandy Canyon Ranch up in Escondido. You can click on any of these images to see a larger version.
Next is a cute cake celebrating a couple’s anniversary. We made the topper showing them in what is apparently a common situation — on the couch with he holding the TV remote and she holding a newspaper. The design on the cake itself is based on the invitation to their anniversary party.
Here’s four random cakes from the last few weeks that are a little different from what we’ve done in the past. The first two are for kids — one having a beach themed party with a big beach ball on his cake. The second was having a dinosaur theme for his 3rd birthday party. Next is a gift box cake for an adult featuring a leopard print ribbon. Finally, a cake for a label-conscious wife. Last year we did a cake for her with flowers made from the Kate Spade logo. This year we did a sailboard floating on a sea of LuLuLemon logos.
Well, that’s enough for this post. Our new bigger walk-in is here and should be hooked up within the next week so we can expand our capacity a bit. It’s a little nerve-wracking spending so much money on a capital improvement, but business is really great right now. After 17 years, I’ve learned we need to capitalize on this time. Bernie and I genuinely appreciate all the orders we get — whether it’s a $1000 wedding cake or a $30 birthday cake. And we’re also extremely grateful for the daily business we get from so many folks for coffee, lattes, pastries and breakfast at both our locations. Thanks for supporting Twiggs and reading the blog!
Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 11:32 pm | by Dan
The “June Bride” is something of a cliché, thanks to the popularity of June for weddings in so much of the country. For San Diego, however, I’ve always found June to be a slower month for wedding cakes for Twiggs than July through October. I always attributed it to “June Gloom,” the traditional coastal fog that settles over San Diego for most of the day during June. I figured most couples didn’t want to chance having a gloomy day for their wedding when you’re basically guaranteed a sunny, glorious day July through October in the endless summer of San Diego. This year, however, we’ve been slammed during June for weddings. I don’t know if more people are really getting married in June than previously or if it’s just that we’re just far more popular than in the past thanks to all the reviews we’ve gotten on yelp and other sites. People are just a lot more aware of Twiggs than they use to be. Come to think of it, it might be all the same sex weddings we’re doing these days. Three of the 12 weddings we had last weekend were same sex couples, which is fantastic. Whatever it is, we’ve been pumping out wedding cakes recently. It’s a challenge to keep up the quality we’re known for when the volume picks up. But we’ve worked out a system that — knock on wood — has really worked so far.
So here’s some cakes we’ve done in the last three weeks, all of which I thought were stunning, if I do say so myself. And I do. The first has a cascade of contemporary coral fondant flowers we made ourselves. The second is an Art Deco inspired design that went to Morgan Run Golf Club up in Rancho Santa Fe. The third picture is for a gay wedding where the guys wanted a masculine take on a Mexican fiesta. I suggested they do a tile design around the bottom of each tier, so we used a medallion they had on their invitations to create the individual tiles. This cake went to the new Stone Brewing restaurant in NTC. It was a masculine cake in a masculine setting, so it was perfect for them.
Metallic Gold has suddenly come in vogue. I think if you do the entire cake in metallic gold, it’s just a little over the top — a little too Graceland for my tastes. But if you do a single tier in the metallic gold, it can be pretty striking. Here are two cakes we’ve done recently — three tier cakes where just the middle tier is sprayed with a metallic gold lustre dust. They both called “Look at me!” from across the room — at the Estancia for the first one and the ZLAC Rowing Club for the second. Interestingly, they both had “Love” toppers, though in different styles. I’ve put them side by side in smaller images. Click on either one to see a larger image.
Next is a cake for a bride who loves Disney and Mickey Mouse. The Mickey silhouette and embellishments on the top and bottom tiers of this cake were from a design the bride did herself and used on her invitations. I like doing cakes that are somehow personalized to the bride and/or groom. This cake went to the Bali Hai on Shelter Island.
Finally, here’s a very simply frosted cake with rough pleats made from running the spatula around the cake. Honestly, it’s very easy to do, but it creates a very pretty and somewhat rustic look. The fresh flowers on this cake are what really make it, honestly. I’d very rarely seen the “garden roses” used on this cake before this year. But, man, have they come in style big time this year. I think I’ve seen them at 20 weddings so far this year. I can understand why; they’re gorgeous. This cake went to the uber popular Coronado Community Center.
Before we completely leave weddings, here’s a great groom’s cake we did that went to Tom Ham’s Lighthouse on Harbor Island. The couple are both Star Trek geeks and the groom wanted a recreation of Hans Solo in Carbonite. I wasn’t quite sure a guy trapped against his will was a very good metaphor to start your marriage off with, but – hey – it’s their wedding, not mine. Emily had actually done this design twice before. This time, however, she added a small wedding band to Mr. Solo’s left hand. We got a rave review from the bride about both her wedding cake as well as this cake, though she talked more about this cake than her wedding cake, which is understandable. It had to be quite the conversation piece at the wedding.
Finally, we did do some non-wedding cakes. Here’s a great cake featuring drunks on a barrel for a guy’s 21st birthday, a very fun circus theme cake and then a cake with pandas and bamboo for a person moving to Japan. Finally, there’s a cake for a guy fulfilling a life-long dream — he was graduating from drill instructor school and was going to be a drill instructor in the Marine Corps. Sempre Fi!
Well, that’s enough for this post. Thanks for reading and thanks for keeping us so busy. I’m extremely grateful for each and every order. Thanks!!!!!
Monday, June 2nd, 2014 11:52 pm | by Dan
It’s been a while since I really focused on some kid’s cakes, which along with wedding cakes is the bulk of our business here at Twiggs Bakery. So I figured I’d start off this post featuring some super cute kids cakes we’ve done. One of the byproducts of working in a bakery that does so many cakes for kids is that you really keep up on all the latest TV shows popular with the under 6 crowd. I’d never heard of Doc McStuffin until this past weekend when Leah’s mom ordered a cake for her with a Doc McStuffin theme. Turns out Doc McStuffin is a doctor for stuffed animals, which sounds like cute overload. But Leah’s cake was just cute. Meanwhile Nico’s mom was hosting a pirate themed birthday party for him and wanted a cake complete with skull and crossbones along with a treasure chest. Emily did a fantastic job on both of them.
If you have a child under the age of 9, you’re probably sick of the Disney movie Frozen by now. Here’s my advice: Let it go! Let it go! Run away and slam the door! Seriously, the cutest character in the movie has to be Olaf. He’s voiced by the guy who originated the role of Arnold, one of the Mormon missionaries in The Book of Mormon on Broadway. It was amusing to me to listen to his very distinctive voice as Olaf in this children’s story and associate it with such a non-kid friendly role from Broadway. I doubt any 7 year olds have made that connection, so I’m sure it’s okay. Anyway, you don’t have to be prepubescent to appreciate Frozen and Olaf as this next cake shows.
Most folks buy what they can see, so the majority of our orders duplicate things already on our website or someone else’s with minor changes. Oddly, we had two Dr. Seuss cakes a couple of weeks ago with fundamentally the same design for the same day duplicating a cake we did last year. I’ll close out the kid’s cake portion of this post with a very sweet cake for a one year old.
We’re still in the midst of graduation season, though it’s trailing off now. But here are two grad cakes we did this past weekend which stand out.
I mentioned in the last blog post about how many military cake orders we’re getting now. Here’s one we did last weekend for a woman retiring from the Navy Nursing Corps after 25 years of service.
I can’t really have a blog post without showing at least a couple of wedding cakes. The first is a very happy cake decorated with sunflowers that went to the San Diego Rowing Club in Mission Beach. It’s the first time that I’d delivered there and I have to say it’s a pretty cool spot. If you want something contemporary, open air and on the water, I’d definitely recommend checking them out. The contemporary nature of the design of this wedding cake along with the happy sunflowers fit the feel and mood of the space perfectly. The groom for that wedding is a dedicated body builder, so they also got a groom’s cake decorated like a stack of weights with their wedding date and name on it.
Next is a very subtle mint green ombre that went to the recently renovated and reinvigorated Tom Ham’s Lighthouse. Tom Ham’s was closed for a lot of last year for “renovations.” I was delivering to the Admiral Kidd Club last year and looked across the bay towards Tom Ham’s. Renovation is an understatement. They basically tore the place down and completely rebuilt it. The floor plan is the same (at least the two downstairs banquet rooms that I deliver to — don’t know about the upstairs public dining space). But it does look nice and spiffy now. And they’ve added a separate lawn area to hold weddings. They really did a nice job. And I thought we did a nice job on this subtle ombre.
I’ll close with a baby shower cake for a mom who’s a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Hopefully, the child doesn’t live up to the towel’s name. For the non sports fan, the Steelers fans carry a trademark “Terrible Towel” that they wave during games. I’m not a Pittsburgh fan, so I have no idea of the origin of that tradition. But it seems they’ve been doing it since the 70′s.
Well, that’s it for another post. At this point, we’re basically booked up through July 13 for anything other than basic 8″ and 10″ retail cakes, which just seems crazy to me — but crazy in a good way. But please call or e-mail anyway. We might be able to fit in a mid-week special order. Anything on a weekend will be tough, but you never know. We did order another walk-in today, however, so expansion possibilities are on the way. (I hope expansion is on the way. We’ve got to pay for this new $18,000 walk-in!!!). So thanks for reading the post and thanks for keeping us so freaking busy. I’m extremely grateful for each order and each show of faith in Twiggs to help you celebrate whatever special occasion you have. It makes me happy to think of literally hundreds of people eating cake from Twiggs every weekend. Thanks!!!
Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 9:17 pm | by Dan
There’s an expression in restaurants called being “in the weeds” It refers to the times you get so slammed with orders or prep work that you just have to put your head down and work as hard and as fast as you can to get through it — while quietly wondering if you’ll get through it. It’s most often used in restaurants for line cooks on a really busy Saturday night. Well, we’re in the weeds here at Twiggs Bakery. We get so many calls and e-mails these days that we basically have the equivalent of a full time person just to answer the phone, answer e-mails and complete and send out booking forms. We’re basically booked up for the entire month of June at this point and there’s still 10 days left in May. It’s a little crazy. I keep telling myself this is a good problem to have. We’re in the process of ordering another walk-in so that we can handle more orders, because at this point, we’re really testing our capacity. Until then, if you want a cake from Twiggs that has any special decor, it’s really necessary to order several weeks in advance.
So what are we so busy with? Weddings, for one. I use to think the peak of wedding season was July – October. Now, it seems to be May – November. Chevron stripes are really in right now along with navy blue. The first cake combines both of these trends for a very striking cake that went to the McMillian Event Center at NTC. Weirdly enough, I had two deliveries back to back last weekend of wedding cakes that had wide burlap bands with a lace overlay. It’s an interesting combination of delicate and rustic resulting in the “shabby chic” look which is also quite popular now. The second cake pictured below went to the shabby chic Bandy Canyon Ranch in Escondido. I’m also throwing in a striking cake with bands of fondant, a small cake with some limited scroll work and finally an organic cake with real flowers on chocolate vines.
One of the things I really like about our website versus other bakeries in town is that our photo galleries are split into different areas of interest. Most bakeries have two galleries — wedding and other. Well, we’ve created galleries for kids cakes, sports team cakes, graduation cakes, baby shower cakes, etc. I think it’s really helped people find examples of what they’re looking for much more easily. I also think it helps us get more inquiries and orders. I recently created a separate gallery for military cakes as we’d done so many of them. After I created that gallery about a month ago, we’ve suddenly had a big increase in the number of inquiries and orders we’ve had for military themed cakes. It made me appreciate how much those separate galleries do help. So here are four military cakes we’ve done in the last month. The first went to the Amphibious Base on Coronado Island for a changeover in command service. The last three are for folks retiring from their military careers. You can click on any of these to see a larger image. And in case you didn’t know, “Fair Winds and Following Seas” is the standard Navy slang for farewell and a wish for smooth sailing ahead. As for the cake with the horse head, apparently Randy had a standard joke that he opened every talk he gave with: A horse walks into a bar and the bartender says “Hey, why the long face?” Hopefully Randy retires that joke along with his military career!
What else have we been busy with? It’s graduation time, so graduation cakes are all the rage right now. Here are two we’ve done recently — both for SDSU grads. One previously served in the Marines and went to SDSU on the GI Bill. The second is for a woman who’s loved Ariel, a.k.a. The Little Mermaid, since she was a little girl. You can click on either image to see a larger one.
What else have we been busy with? Unlike graduation time which is seasonal, all year is the season for kid’s cakes. First up is an “awesome” lego block cake with a tube of crazy glue. I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing the Lego Movie with obsessed 5 year olds, but apparently the crazy glue / lego combination makes sense if you’ve seen it. There’s also an adorable puppy playing by a rainbow cake, a cute panda holding some balloons, a sweet (literally and figuratively) tiered cake with a strawberry theme and finally another rainbow cake. I guess rainbows are making a comeback. Rainbows: They’re not just for gay liberation anymore!! Click on any image to see a large one.
What else are we busy with? Random orders! Here’s some cakes for a bridal shower with a Nightmare Before Christmas theme (hopefully the wedding isn’t scheduled for right before Christmas. Otherwise the hostess may be sending a not too subtle message to the bride about her opinion of the bride’s fiancé). Then there’s a tiered cake featuring waves and sandals a woman from Indiana ordered for a birthday they’d be celebrating with family while vacationing here in America’s Finest City. Then we have a groom’s cake for a Star Trek fan, a Rolex Watch face and a Corgi Face for a woman who loves her best friend.
Well, that about covers it for some of the highlights for the last month. Again, if you’re interested in a cake like one of the above, you should contact us 3 weeks in advance or more. I’ve owned Twiggs for 17 years and this is by far the busiest we’ve been in those 17 years. I’m a little amazed and a lot proud of what Twiggs has become. So thanks to all of you who’ve trusted us with cakes celebrating everything from your wedding to your kid’s first birthday. I’m extremely grateful for all the business we have now — even if it is a tad overwhelming at times. Busy is good. Thanks from Bernie, me and all the folks you help keep viably employed. Now I’ve got to get back to decorating some cakes!!
Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 1:07 am | by Dan
We’re starting to gear up for wedding season here at Twiggs Bakery. Each weekend we get a little busier with weddings and this past weekend was the weekend of LONG Deliveries. I drove to Quail Botanical Gardens, Hidden Valley Ranch (outer Escondido — the place is appropriately named — it’s a haul) and then to Carmel Mountain and Poway. We also did a wedding cake for Edy and Joe, two long time everyday customers. I enjoy doing wedding cakes because it’s nice to be part of such a big milestone and celebration in people’s lives. And it’s especially fun when the couple are regular customers that we see practically every day. Edy’s a sweetheart and she’s always very casual in what she wears to the bakery each morning. It was a little stunning to see her all dolled up for her wedding. She just looked fantastic. I generally don’t see the bride or groom when I deliver the cake, but Edy and Joe were in front of the hotel having their pictures taken so I got to take a quick shot (much to the professional photographer’s annoyance). So here’s Edy and Joe’s simple cake along with a picture of them on their wedding day. You can click on either photo to see a larger image.
Next are the cakes I delivered to Carmel Mountain (the very pleasant Golf Club there) and to Old Poway Park. They were both striking cakes and I was happy with how they turned out. I did the handmade roses on the first cake personally.
The cake I delivered to Hidden Valley Ranch was a very unusual wedding cake. The couple enjoy playing chess and the bride is a graphic designer, so she designed the cake herself. She sent us a pretty detailed sketch with very detailed instructions. I always get a little nervous when we’re working on a cake with such specific instructions as I’m afraid we’ll miss something and disappoint / annoy the customer. But I think we got all the bases covered on this one. It’s not a wedding cake for everyone, but I think it was perfect for them. I thought it looked great.
We’re starting to get more corporate orders, which is fantastic. One of the original scientists at Illumina, the human genome mapping company, retired last week. He’s an avid climber, so the company ordered a tiered cake with several folks climbing towards retirement. The admin who ordered the cake had been quite nervous and was a former Culinary Institute of America graduate herself. She had high expectations and was thrilled when I delivered the cake. She was so happy, in fact, that she actually called the bakery a couple of hours later during the party to let us know what a hit the cake was. Yeah!
I’ll close out this post with three more cakes. First is a birthday cake for Ernie, an avid traveler. It’s a suitcase with various destinations stamped on it. There’s also a great 3 tier cake for Omar’s 5th Birthday with an Ironman theme that I delivered to Eastlake. Finally, there’s a cake for an Easter Christening, complete with rosary.
That’s it for another blog post. We’re still getting booked up at least a week in advance for most weekends, so the more lead time you give us, the better. Thanks for keeping us so busy and for reading the blog! I’m very grateful for how busy we continue to be.
Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 11:37 pm | by Dan
John, an English expatriate and long time San Diego resident, turned 70 recently and his friends and family gathered at Dave and Buster’s to celebrate. His daughter ordered a Twiggs cake in the shape of a Corona Bottle and was quite clever in the way she personalized it. I didn’t get to meet John to personally wish him a happy birthday, but I did see the daughter when I delivered the cake. She was thrilled.
We continue to pump out the kid’s cakes and here are some great ones we’ve done in the last couple of weeks. First up is a Goodnight Moon book for Max’s first birthday. The mom was specific about including the bunny, the mouse, the picture of the three bears, the balloon and the moon outside the window. I haven’t read the book, but apparently they’re all key to the plot. I thought it turned out super cute. We also did a Jake the Pirate cake for a very particular mom and her adorable son, Ben. When I showed Ben a prior Jake the Pirate cake we’d done for another boy named Wesley, Ben had said that the cake design was good, but that his cake needed to say “Happy Birthday Ben.” We made sure it did.
Oddly, we did two Batman themed cakes last weekend — one a shaped sheet cake and the other a tiered cake. Click on either image to see a larger version.
Here’s a cute cake featuring the Gruffalo along with some gruffalo inspired cupcakes.
While we’re on the subject of cupcakes, I admit to being a slow convert to the cupcake craze. I’ve resisted for a long time, but finally realized that — much like the Borg — resistance is futile. I even just created a cupcake gallery in the custom cake section of this Twiggs website. Here’s a few fun cupcakes we’ve done recently:
Of course, we’ve continued to do wedding cakes and actually have done about 16 weddings in the past 3 weeks. But the trend right now is austere. This past weekend I delivered 5 cakes which were just plain iced affairs that were decorated with flowers on-site. They don’t really make for anything very exciting to show on the blog. But we did do one cake with some cool teal pop flowers that went to the underappreciated Riverwalk Golf Club in Mission Valley. I was really happy with this cake.
I’ll close with some random cakes we’ve done that I thought looked great. I’m biased, of course, but I generally think all our Twiggs cakes look great. But these are a little out of the ordinary.
That’s it for another blog post. Thanks for reading and thanks for keeping us so freaking busy. We’re looking at a small expansion to keep up with demand. I’m very grateful for how busy we are and the faith people put in Twiggs Bakery to make cakes celebrating everything from births to birthdays to weddings and more. Thank you!
Thursday, March 13th, 2014 8:19 pm | by Dan
We do cakes for all sorts of occasions here at Twiggs — gender reveal, baby showers, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries are the most popular. It doesn’t happen that often, but occasionally we’ll get an order for a cake for someone’s memorial service. Mike marched to his own drummer. He lived in an Airstream trailer out in the desert. When he passed, his friends found him in the Airstream with a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a fly swatter in the other. So for his memorial, his friends wanted a cake with an Airstream trailer on top, a small whiskey bottle and a fly swatter along with some dead flies who probably accompanied Mike across the great divide. It’s certainly an unorthodox memorial cake, but I have to think Mike was an unorthodox man. When his friends picked the cake up, they absolutely loved it. Mike, wherever you are, I hope you loved it too.
We’ve had a few sculpted cakes in the last few weeks here at Twiggs. First is an Orange Curacao Bottle that was a long distance Valentine’s present for a guy stationed in San Diego from his girlfriend back east. We also did an acoustic guitar for an avid player for his birthday from his wife. She was nice enough to write a glowing Yelp review, which we appreciate tremendously. Finally there’s a Border Patrol badge to feed a crowd.
Cake Buffets / Dessert Buffets are increasingly popular for weddings these days. First up is a shabby chic buffet that was set up at the spectacularly situated Scripps Seaside Forum. It was a very tight fit with the cake and all the mini-cupcakes. We were able to get most of the cupcakes on the table, but we had to send a few to the back to replenish the table later. Then there’s an extremely rustic cake buffet that went to the Harbor House restaurant in Seaport Village. We’re getting more and more inquiries about “naked” wedding cakes — i.e. cakes that aren’t iced at all. It’s a very rustic look that actually worked great with the very rustic wood backdrop at the Harbor House and the wood stump pedastals. The two side cakes had very rustic “stucco” frosting which gives a very home-y look.
If rustic isn’t what you’re going for in your wedding, here’s a few more refined cakes. First is an ivory cake with some detailed white piping work that looked better in person than it does in this picture. It was a very elegant, serene cake. Then there’s a cake with some open scrollwork and fresh flowers that just looked great at the Abbey. That bride was nice enough to write a glowing review on The Knot about her cake, which makes us love her even more. Finally, there’s a cake that went to the Bali Hai that was the bride’s “Dream Cake.” She had designed it herself by taking picture of other cakes and then photoshopping them together to convey the design she wanted. I hope she was as happy with it as her topper seems to be.
Now, if you want to combine elegant, shabby chic and rustic, how about a simply iced cake with a burlap ribbon around each tier? I admit to being slightly skeptical about this one — especially with the lime green ribbon that was going to be placed on top of the burlap. But it ended up looking great — somehow being both elegant and rustic at the same time. All the tables had burlap runners, so the cake was right at home in the reception.
Finally, we continue to churn out kids cakes every weekend, which I love. They’re really my favorite cakes to work on. Mickey and Minnie continue to be one of the most popular subjects we do. Here’s a Mickey and a Minnie cake the we’ve done in the past couple of weeks. I’ve put them side by side. You can click on either image t see a larger version.
Finally, I’m going to close with a cake that’s pretty humbly decorated. Normally I wouldn’t feature a cake this simple on the blog. However, the cake is for a couple’s 75th anniversary! I’ve never done a 75th anniversary cake before and I think the odds are quite high that I’ll never do another one. And if you make it 75 years together, the least I can do is feature your cake on the website. The cake was actually taken to a wedding that we did the cake for. Max and Archa are the bride’s grandparents and she wanted to surprise them at the wedding with a cake celebrating their diamond anniversary.
So that’s it for another blog post. We continue to be very busy and are gearing up for wedding season now. We’re really booking up for the summer now and tasting appointments on Saturdays are getting booked up about a week in advance. So if you want to come in on a Saturday for a tasting like most folks, you should plan at least a week ahead to make sure we can get you on our books. And if you book with us, I promise a free 75th Anniversary cake from Twiggs if you make it that far!!! Thanks for reading the blog and supporting Twiggs. We really appreciate it!