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Twiggs Blog

To Each Their Own

Thursday, June 25th, 2015 11:48 pm | by Dan

Okay, I’m way overdue on writing a blog post but we’ve just been super busy.  I’m working on revamping our lunch menu to make it as enticing as our breakfast menu.  We have a very strong breakfast business and there’s no reason our lunch business can’t be as strong.  So changes are on the way.  Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, our bakery has continued to be as bustling as ever.  May was our strongest month ever for cake sales and that’s a good thing.  We’ve always done a few unique cakes here and there, but the last month or so has been a few more than usual.  So I decided to make unorthodox cakes the focus of this post.  But I won’t just feature unorthodox cakes because there’s a lot of great “normal” cakes we’ve done that deserve their little day in the sun.

Elaine and Andrew are both doctoral students at UCSD and got married at the lovely Martin Johnson House.  They wanted their cake to reflect their areas of study which meant they wanted a cake covered with bacteria and neurons.  I did simplified line pipings of these and threw in some crossed swords at their request.  Honestly, I’m not sure what the significance of the crossed swords is.  I have to say I didn’t have high expectations for how this cake would look, but I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t look ridiculous.  The main thing is that it reflected what Elaine and Andrew wanted and that’s what a wedding should do.  It’s a cake that’s uniquely theirs and I doubt will be replicated any time soon.

Gelareh was one of those brides who knew exactly what she wanted and communicated very clearly what she wanted and expected.  I appreciate brides like her as sometimes it can be like reading tea leaves to figure out what a couple wants.  With brides like Gelareh, there’s no guesswork needed — but you better make sure you deliver what was expected.  Her inspiration was a cake covered with blue dragees with some silver rope along the top edge of each tier.  I looked around for blue dragees and ordered some that were way bigger than I thought and weren’t going to work at all.  So we just took some smaller white dragees and colored them with blue lustre dust.  I thought the cake came out great and definitely made a statement.  This cake was delivered to The Abbey on 5th Avenue — a venue that definitely makes it’s own statement.

Before I leave wedding cakes, I’ll show three other cakes we’ve done that really aren’t that unique; but they are pretty cakes.

  

Joel’s wife was turning 50 and she’s apparently a huge fan of Prince.  Joel was throwing his wife a party at the House of Blues and wanted a cake with a Prince theme, preferably a Purple Rain theme.  Emily our lead designer and decorator worked with him to come up a design that he was happy with.  It looked fantastic.  She also worked with another woman who was turning 50 who was very into bling and skulls.   The invitation to her party had a skull and crossbones, but the cross bones were a fork and spoon.  Emily based her design on the invitation and came up with another cake that looked just great.

Gender Reveal cakes have almost become commonplace for us.  Two years ago I’d never heard of the concept.  Now we do one about every two weeks or so.  This first cake was for a couple who were having a barbeque in their back yard to celebrate the pregnancy and the revealing of the gender.  Their invitation had a pig wearing a diaper and sucking on a pacifier.  They wanted to incorporate the barbeque theme into the cake, so I suggested using the pig in the diaper.  The mom loved the idea.  It definitely made for an unusual gender reveal design.  We also did a gender reveal with a cowboy theme — note the blue / pink cowboy (cowgirl?) boots.

  

While not particularly unusual, the following are some great baby shower cakes we’ve done recently.

 

 

As we all know, San Diego’s a real vacation destination and we do quite a few cakes for visitors to America’s Finest City.  This couple was coming to celebrate his 30th birthday and they were staying at  . . . the Lawrence Welk Resort!  I don’t think of Lawrence Welk as a vacation destination, but apparently it’s part of a timeshare group.  If you own a timeshare with this group and want to go to San Diego then Lawrence Welk is where you end up.  I have to believe there have been more than a few surprised vacationers.  Hopefully, this Crown Royal recreation was a nice surprise in a good way.

Before I close out this post, here are a few more cakes we’ve done that stand out.

  

  

   

   

  

Well that’s enough for this post.  Thanks for taking time to read it.  And thanks for keeping us so busy.  We all enjoy being viably employed!   Until next time.

 

 

Spring is in the Air!

Monday, April 20th, 2015 10:33 pm | by Dan

Spring is here, which means we’re back in the wedding cake business in a big way.  Growing up in the South, groom’s cakes were a standard part of any wedding reception.  I’ve found a lot of people outside the South aren’t that familiar with them, though the Red Velvet Armadillo in Steel Magnolias did clue a lot of the rest of the country onto the concept of a groom’s cake.  Let’s face it, the standard wedding is all about the bride; the groom is an honored guest at his bride’s big day.  So the groom’s cake was invented to throw the groom a bone and have at least something that’s about him at the wedding.  Traditionally, the wedding cake is a vanilla cake with all white icing while the groom’s cake is chocolate and features something specific to the groom — his alma mater, profession, hobby or something like that.  These days the flavors for wedding and groom’s cakes are far more varied, but the tradition of the personalized groom’s cake remains.  And they’re becoming increasingly popular here in San Diego, which is about as far away from the American South you can get and stay in the continental United States.  Here’s a groom’s cake we did last week for a guy whose hobby is deep sea diving.

While we’re on the subject of weddings, we’ve been knee deep in wedding cakes already.  Of course, we do a lot of weddings for couples who either one or both are in the Navy and they often want a nautical / Naval theme to their wedding cakes.  Here are two that went out this past weekend.  The second features a bobble head topper of the couple in their dress uniforms.

Here are a few more cakes we’ve done in the last couple of weeks.  The “Circle of Dots” cake made me bleary eyed doing all those tiny dots, but the end result was quite striking if I do say so myself.  Then there’s a “pretty in pink” cake that went up to the elegant La Valencia and a small cake with black swirls and triple swiss dot that went over to a restaurant in Pt Loma.  That bride was nice enough to write a glowing review on yelp just a couple of days ago, which we appreciate immensely.

    

Simple, rustic, “shabby chic” is still all the rage this year.  At the extreme of simple is the so called “naked” cake, where the cake isn’t even frosted, just set out au natural for all the world to see.  The first cake is a slight variation on the naked cake.  It actually has fresh raspberries and strawberries inside that are visible.  And the cake is frosted — but it’s a whisper thin layer of buttercream which still allows the cake to be seen, but puts a thin white haze over it.  I thought it looked surprisingly good when I set it up in the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.  This is followed by more very simple cakes — a cake with “spatula pleats” (pleats made by running a spatula around the cake after it’s frosted with buttercream) that went to Scripps Seaside Forum, an extremely traditional triple swiss dot cake that went to the Coronado Community Center and a very rustic cake with rough swipes that the couple picked up from the bakery to take to the reception.

  

   

Our lead decorator Emily just seems to get more assured with each passing month.  I’m always impressed by her work, but I was pretty blown away by a cake she did last weekend with a recreation of a Spiderman comic book cover.  When we took the top off the box containing this cake for the woman who was picking it up, her jaw dropped.    Emily also worked on a very tedious recreation of a global map for a woman who’d traveled all over the world.  The red dots on the map indicate ports where she’d visited.

Of course, we continue to pump out kid’s cakes.  Kristen sent an e-mail saying that her 5 year old daughter Elsa wanted a birthday party with an Oscar Meyer Weinermobile theme.  I was amazed that a 5 year old in 2015 even knew what the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile was.  I thought that thing had been garaged back in the 1970′s, but it’s still going around.  When I was working on the cake it occurred to me that it would be funny to form Elsa’s name out of mini-hot dogs.  The fact that she had a short name like “Elsa” rather than Esmerelda made me decide to run with it.  Following this picture are a lot more kid’s cakes we’ve done the last 2 weeks.  You can click on any smaller image to see a larger version.

 

  

  

   

 

  

   

Finally, here’s cake we did for a golfer’s 70th Birthday and a baby shower cake for a woman having twins.

   

Well that about covers the last 2 weeks.  Orders have just kicked into another gear with the arrival of spring and the advent of wedding season.  So if you want a great cake from Twiggs, be sure to give us plenty of notice.  Thanks so much for keeping us so busy.  Bernie and I were having dinner a couple of nights ago and I started reflecting on how much busier our bakery is now than it was 5 years ago.  Sometimes you just get so caught up in the daily grind, you don’t take a minute to step back and see the forest, not the trees.  It’s really amazing how consistently slammed we are these days.  So thanks for keeping us so busy.  Being slammed is a good problem to have and I’m very grateful for all the orders and great reviews.

 

 

 

 

Opening Day!!

Monday, April 6th, 2015 10:43 pm | by Dan

Ok, I generally like to start these blog posts off with one of our more impressive recent efforts.  But today is Opening Day for Major League Baseball and I’m a Padres fan.  The Padres organization is 70 years old this year as is Gigi, a die-hard fan her whole life.  We recently did a birthday cake for her reflecting both her love of the Padres and their joint birthdays.

Hand written thank you notes are going the way of the dinosaur.  I can’t lament that without admitting that I can’t recall the last time I hand wrote a thank you note and mailed it to someone (somewhere up there my mother is shaking her head).  Everything’s email these days or (even worse from an etiquette point of view in my opinion), texts.  But today we got a very refreshing thank you note from a bride who was thrilled with both her wedding cake and groom’s cake in the shape of a Batmobile.   Thanks Gina and Christian for the kind note.  Emily Post is smiling from above.

I’m not sure what’s going on with Unicorns these days, but they seem to be making a comeback.  I think we’ve gone years without doing a cake with unicorn-anything on it.  But we’ve done about three in the last month or so.  Here’s a 3D unicorn I delivered up to a company up off Mira Mesa Blvd.  Honestly, I’m not sure what the significance of the unicorn was.  But it was such a huge hit, they ordered another cake the next week in the shape of an energy drink that apparently their receptionist is addicted to.

While we’re in the 3D cake arena, I think at least 75% of Cheerio sales are to parents of toddlers.  Those things seem to be a staple of the American Toddler diet.  One set of parents decided to celebrate their son’s first birthday with a recreation of his favorite snack.

In doing research for this blog post — yes I actually researched this next fact;  it took me 15 seconds to find a Wikipedia entry — I discovered that 2015 is the 150th anniversary of the first printing of Alice in Wonderland.  I wonder if Lewis Carroll had any idea his nonsensical novel would endure so long, capturing people’s imaginations a century and a half after he wrote it.  There’s even a style of cake that takes it’s name from one of the book’s characters, the Mad Hatter.  Here’s Mad Hatter cake we did recently featuring the Cheshire Cat.

Recently a guy called and wanted to have an engagement ring inside a cake to propose to his girlfriend with.  His idea was to somehow be able to open the cake up like a box and have her find the ring.  I dissuaded him from this idea as I thought finding an engagement ring covered with cake crumbs and icing that needed to be washed off wouldn’t be the best idea.  So we came up with an alternate idea with the ring box on top of the cake.  We haven’t heard back, but I hope Becky said yes.  And Becky, keep in mind we do wedding cakes!

We continue to do lots of kids cakes.  Here’s a variety of things we’ve done recently.  Click on any image to see a larger one:

  

   

  

  

  

Well that’s it for another post.  We’re insanely busy for this coming weekend and have actually stopped taking orders for anything other than standard 8″ and 10″ retail cakes at this point.   So if you want a great cake from Twiggs, you really need to plan ahead!   We’re heading into wedding season, so we’re just going to keep getting more and more booked up.  So thanks for reading and thanks for helping make us so busy.  Bernie and I genuinely appreciate your support!

 

And we’re off . . . .

Monday, February 23rd, 2015 10:43 pm | by Dan

I’ve taken a bit of a sabbatical from writing blog posts, but it’s time to get back into the swing of things.  2015 is here whether we’re ready for it or not.  We’re doing a ton of wedding cake tastings now for weddings later in the year.  Right now is the slow time for actually doing wedding cakes, but we have done a few recently.   The first cake below went out this past weekend for Gilda and Andrew’s wedding reception at the Marriott Del Mar.  They were thrilled with the cake.

I’m not sure if it’s ever actually snowed in San Diego itself.  Despite this, some winter brides want a snow themed cake even though they they’re getting married in a desert.  Here’s a pretty snowflake themed wedding cake we did back in January.

Ombre wedding cakes were really popular towards the end of last year and it looks like the trend is going to continue into 2015.  When we first started doing ombre cakes, we’d frost the cake and then air brush in the color fade.  This was pretty problematic on deliveries because if you touched the airbrushed buttercream you lifted off the color sprayed on that location.  It was pretty impossible to touch this up on site.  To the rescue came Lydia, one of our decorators.  She figured out a system of tinting the buttercream itself rather than airbrushing.  Suddenly life was far, far easier doing ombre cakes.  And before we leave weddings, same-sex weddings have become a big part of our wedding business.  I’d say 15% of the weddings we do are same-sex couples.  It’s a good thing.  Following the ombre cake below is a pretty plain cake, but the topper was so clever I decided to include it in the blog.  It’s been a long climb for a lot of same sex couples to reach the point where they can legally wed.  This topper acknowledges that in a clever way.

As I’m typing this, our main breakfast cook Jose’s wife, Anita, is in labor with their first child.  Jose is beside himself with excitement, of course.  They just had their baby shower a couple of days ago.  Here’s the cake we did for little Mila, soon to be out of the womb and on her way.

 

Our bread and butter outside of wedding cakes are kid’s cakes.  Here are a few cakes we’ve done for the under 16 crowd recently, including a unicorn sitting on a rainbow cake which falls into the “so campy it’s fun” category.  You can click on any of these pictures to see a larger one.

  

   

   

Cupcakes continue to be popular.  Here are some we’ve personalized recently for a James Bond themed 30th birthday, a poker party, a Frozen party and a Superhero party.  Click on any image to see a larger version.

 

    

  

I was a reluctant convert to edible image printing.  But now I wonder how we lived without it.  You really can personalize cakes without being tacky about it if you do the edible images correctly.  Below are two tiered cakes featuring photos of people’s lives — the first for a couple and the second for a 60th birthday.  These make great anniversary, birthday or bridal shower cakes featuring photos of the couples or person’s life up to that point.

   

Finally, I’m not an Ohio State fan and I think the standard OSU alumni reference to their alma mater as “THE Ohio State University” is a little silly.  But when their wives are willing to pay us to replicate the OSU logo for their husband’s birthday, I’m very happy to oblige.

That’s it for this long delayed blog post.  As we enter 2015, Bernie and I are entering our 18th year of owning Twiggs.  That just blows my mind.  Where does the time go?  Thanks to yelp reviews and an improving economy, we’re getting more inquires about our cakes than ever these days.  I’m very grateful for the interest, the kind reviews and all the orders.  We’ve made it 18 years and hopefully we’ll be around for a lot more.   Thanks!

 

 

It’s raining babies!!

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!

Catching Up on a Busy End of Summer

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!

 

Weddings — from Over the Top to Understated

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.

 

 

 

Sweet Endings to Saying I Do

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!

 

 

 

 

June Brides and Grads

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!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First comes love, then comes marriage, then come KIDS!

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!!!

 

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