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Gearing up for Wedding Season

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Beer and Kids

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!

 

 

 

 

Twiggs — Providing Cakes from Birth to Death

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!

 

 

Happy 2014 — a little late

Thursday, February 20th, 2014 1:00 am | by Dan

Okay, it’s been WAAAYYY too long since I’ve made a blog post.  Between holiday vacations and then just being super busy since being back, I haven’t made the time to sit down and do a new post.  But I just uploaded pictures to our galleries from the last 2 months and decided I should sit down and mark this off the to-do list.  We’ve remained very busy and we’ve really done some great cakes over the last 2 months.  There’s no way I can feature all of them in this post, or even 5% of them.  But here are some that I think are particularly fun or noteworthy.

The Minions from Despicable Me have become quite a popular subject for our cakes in the last several months.  First up is a picture of a 3D Minion we did for a kid’s birthday.  Mitch, the manager at our Adams Avenue shop, loves the Minions so much and loved that cake so much that as a surprise for his birthday, Lydia made another Minion cake to look like him.  We called it a “Mitchion.”  So here’s the picture of the original Minion cake followed by Mitch with his Mitchion.

We did a cake a few months back for Sony On-Line that they absolutely loved.  So they called us up in January asking for another cake to celebrate the release of a new on-line game called Everquest III.   We made a small three tier cake featuring elements from the game which apparently has something to do with dragons and knights along with 300 cupcakes with the game logo on it.  They were really happy with the cake and cupcakes when I delivered them to a huge employee party celebrating the game’s release.

We’ve done some unique wedding cakes over the years but the next one is right up there with the most unusual.  This cake was for a professional BMX bike rider who got married at a skate park.  They wanted a graffiti inspired cake.  It’s certainly not a wedding cake for everyone — or really hardly anyone.  But it was perfect for this couple and that makes it perfect.

Here are some more unique wedding cakes we’ve done over the past 2 months.  There’s a wedding cake for two musicians, a wedding cake for two women who met playing tennis (one of whom was a professional tennis player, now retired), a cake for two men who love their city life, a cake that somewhat literally ties the knot, a cake that says “I Love You” in Porgugese and a cake with a gold clock marking their Golden Wedding Anniversary and the passage of time.   You can click on any image to see a larger one.

  

  

  

I’ll close this post with easily the most disturbing baby shower cake we’ve ever done.   We’ve done several of the “pregnant” torso cakes.  Personally, I don’t quite see the appeal of these cakes.  Perhaps they’re fun to look at, but I think it gets a little creepy when it comes time to cut the cake and someone is cutting into the pregnant belly — delivering a C-Section of cake.  But if people want to pay us to make them, hey, it’s their baby shower and I’m happy to do them.  This woman, however, wanted a pregnant torso with a zombie baby bursting out — something along the lines of Alien.  It’s certainly the most unique baby shower cake we’ve ever done.

Now that that’s seared into your eyeballs, I’ll close out this post.  As I said at the beginning, I’ve just uploaded a ton of new pictures to our galleries, so you might scroll through those to check out the other great things we’ve done lately.  Thanks for reading the blog and thanks for keeping us so busy.  The holidays were slammed and January, traditionally the slowest month of the year, was still quite busy–though in a sane way.   We really appreciate your helping us celebrate the moments big and small of your lives.  Here’s to lots of great moments coming in 2014.  Let’s just hope there aren’t any zombie births.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013 10:57 pm | by Dan

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, my absolute favorite holiday of the year!  Thanksgiving has somehow escaped the commercialization of Christmas, Valentine’s Day and other holidays.  It’s all about being thankful for what you have and not moaning about what you don’t.  And it’s all about sitting around with friends and family and enjoying a great meal.  As for dessert, it’s all about pies.  About the only time all year we really sell pies is Thanksgiving week.  We actually only sell pies during November and December, but 90% of the pies sold during that 2 month period get sold during Thanksgiving week.  Each Thanksgiving I think we should switch the bakery to being a pie bakery rather than a cake bakery.  Pies are SO much easier to produce than cakes, it’s not funny.  But you’ve really got to sell them in volume to make money on them.  And that we do during Thanksgiving.  We keep things pretty simple with our pies — pumpkin, apple and chocolate pecan.  Long ago when I first started Twiggs and imagined it as a “boutique bakery,”  I felt we should make “boutique” pies.  The first Thanksgiving I made pumpkin pies that had a sour cream rum topping with a cool spiderweb design in it.  I thought they were fantastic until customers started grousing that they wanted a traditional pumpkin pie.  I learned my lesson.  Thanksgiving is all about tradition and the familiar;  it’s what makes the holiday such a comforting touchstone in our lives., so our pies now are a big slice of comfortable tradition.  We’ve gradually become known for our chocolate pecan pie.  Sales aren’t final yet, but I think this will be the first year that the chocolate pecan pie actually outsells our pumpkin pie.  I grew up in North Carolina where pecan pies are a staple, so that makes my little Southern heart proud.

We did do some great cakes over this past weekend, so here’s a few quick highlights.  For Fred’s birthday, his wife wanted a huge 3D Corona bottle cap.  You can’t tell from the photo, but this bottle cap fed about 75 people.  She also got some cupcakes with little fondant lime wedges on each cupcake, the traditional garnish for a Corona.  The cake and cupcakes just turned out great.

Kyarra is a very lucky little 9 year old who had a birthday party on Sunday with a zebra stripe theme.  I delivered this topper cake and cupcakes and set them up on site. The birthday girl was thrilled, as was the mom.  I always enjoy delivering cakes and getting great reactions (who wouldn’t?), but it’s particularly fun to see a 9 year old beaming at her cake.

Most people buy with their eyes — meaning they order something they can see a picture of.   Following are cakes we did this past weekend which are all “repeats,” meaning they’re cakes that are on our website now and someone saw them in one of our galleries and called up to say “I want that.”  There are several kid’s cakes, our biggest category of ordered cakes by far along with a couple of baby shower cakes which we sell regularly as well.  They’re all pretty self explanatory, but I’ll just throw out that Elmo in his birthday party hat may be the single most requested kid’s cake image we do.  You can click on any image to see a larger one.

  

  

 

  

Looking back, it really is remarkable the variety of cakes we do in just one weekend.  In this Thanksgiving week, I’m very thankful for what Twiggs has evolved into.  We’ve become a bakery with a county-wide reputation that routinely gets booked up 2-3 weeks in advance for weekends.  Our original location is going strong after 17 years as a community center in the heart of University Heights.  And our Adams Avenue location (where our bakery is) is just doing great.  We’ve become extremely popular for our breakfasts, particularly on weekends, though now even weekdays are as busy as our weekends used to be.  We’ve got a really strong staff which Bernie and I can rely on and trust.  Particularly when I look around the world at all the strife and natural disasters occurring with regularity, I marvel at how unbelievably blessed I am.  So thanks to all of you who’ve helped make Twiggs so successful.  May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  May life bless you all!

 

 

 

Hats Off!!

Thursday, November 21st, 2013 5:56 am | by Dan

I got an e-mail last week from Casey at Sony On-Line.  Their on-line game, Planetside 2, developed here in San Diego, was having it’s one year anniversary today and they wanted a cake to celebrate the milestone.  Being the 55 year old I am, naturally I’d never heard of Planetside 2.  Turns out it involves something about three “empires” fighting each other for survival.  The gamer chooses which empire he wants to fight with and off they go (I guess).  Anyway, since it’s an on-line game with a big on-line community, Sony wanted a cake for a virtual birthday party.  Even though it was mainly for a live-feed (no pun intended) to it’s on-line gamers, they still wanted something of a statement cake and had a good budget to work with.  I proposed a few options with varying price points and they ended up going with the most expensive one — and even enlarging it to go beyond what I’d initially priced the cake at.  That’s the advantage of doing work with large corporations rather than individuals — budgets seem less of an issue.  And let’s face it — one of the easiest things in the world to do is spend money that’s not yours.  So the cake had three helmets from the three empires.  They loaned us costume helmets they’d made to promote the game, so those were a huge help in working on the cakes.  Emily did the lion’s share of the work on these and she just did an amazing job.  I got an e-mail later in the day after I delivered the cake thanking us for it and saying it was a huge hit.  I checked their facebook page later in the day and it was fun to read all the comments from folks hooked on the game about the cake.

San Diego, of course, is a big military town and we do our fair share of cakes with military themes.  The big Marine Corps Balls occurred over the last few weeks and we did the cake for the Sharpshooter division.  Sorry I don’t have a picture of that.  But I do have a couple of cakes done for retirement parties.  The first is a Navy cap for a retiring commander that we delivered to one of the ships docked at the Navy Piers off 32nd Street.  The second is a Navy Ship Wheel that got delivered to the recently refurbished Tom Ham’s Lighthouse.

Cake Buffets are becoming increasingly popular for weddings.  Rather than have a single stacked cake, couples get a cake buffet with multiple cakes.  We’ve done a few of these in the past month.  The first picture is a cake buffet at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.  It’s a cool, unique venue and the only museum that I’m aware of that actually allows guests to wander through the museum during the reception.  The second picture is a quartet of cakes delivered to Inn at the Park.  The cakes themselves are rather simple white cakes, which was good because the setting they were in bordered on riotous.  Then there’s a trio of cakes with a fondant wrap with a floral impression that went to Old Venice restaurant in Point Loma.  This is a deconstructed version of a cake we did earlier this year.  That cake was a three tier stacked cake.  This bride loved that design, but wanted it deconstructed into three separate cakes.  Finally, a trio of cakes featuring a tiered cake with a chandelier drape.  These were set up on one of the Hornblower Yachts.   You can click on any of these pictures to see a larger version.

 

  

After a few years of rather austere cakes being popular (which I think reflected the austere economic times), busier wedding cakes are starting to make a comeback.  First is a cake covered with fondant spirals made to look like flowers.   Honestly, it’s not a difficult cake to execute, it’s just very time-consuming.  It’s one of those decorating tasks that just becomes a zen experience.  Then we have a buttercream swirl design — this one with the addition of the exceedingly popular “bling ribbon” that’s all the rage now.  For me, the bling ribbon walks a fine line between New York elegance and Vegas glitz, but there’s no denying it’s current popularity.  Then I’ll throw in a perennial favorite for many San Diego brides — the sea shell cake.  We got a lovely review on yelp about this cake.  There was a little bit of disagreement among the bride and groom about this cake during the tasting.  The bride wanted a blue cake while the groom was insistent that a wedding cake should be white.  You can see from the picture who got their way.  To the groom I say — smart move.

  

We’ve literally done over a hundred other cakes over the last month.  Here’s just a random sampling of the wide variety of cakes we’ve done (and continue to do).  One is for a birthday that occurred during a scheduled solar eclipse and one is for band mates at Patrick Henry High School whose mascot is the Patriot.  Otherwise, I think the cakes are pretty self-explanatory — from baby showers to groom’s cakes to birthdays, young and old.  You can click on any image to see a larger one.

 

 

  

  

 

 

 

Well, I think that’s enough for this post.  Next week is my absolute favorite holiday of the year — Thanksgiving.  Hopefully, I’ll have time to devote a post just to it next week.  I will say that Thanksgiving is the one week where we generally forego all the fancy cakes and go into full time, simple pie production.  Thanksgiving is all about pies, from a dessert point of view.  We’ll have pumpkin, chocolate pecan and apple.  It’s really best to order ahead as we tend to sell out.  For now I’ll say that I’m very thankful for all our customers — from parents splurging on a Monsters, Inc cake for their 4 year old to large corporations like Sony spending money on celebration cakes for their employees.  Life is good at Twiggs and I’m very grateful for that.   Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

Shanna and Shantih are Married!! (But not to each other)

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013 11:16 pm | by Dan

This past weekend, I made wedding cakes and attended the weddings for two of our employees — one former and one present.  One wedding was a non-traditional couple having a very traditional wedding while the other was a traditional couple having an extremely non-traditional wedding.  I loved them both.

Shanna worked for us for a couple of years as our baker and part time cake decorator.  With her great energy and sense of humor, Shanna was a real asset to the bakery — not just because she was a great baker, but because she brought a lot of positive energy into the bakery which buoyed everyone.  Over the years, I’ve really come to appreciate how much one person can bring the whole space down and make a crappy place for everyone to work and how much one person can lift a space up and get everyone to look forward to coming to work.  Shanna was definitely the latter.  When Shanna met Kari she was immediately smitten and talked about her constantly.  Kari came with three young kids, which didn’t faze Shanna one bit.  She was on board from the beginning with the idea of helping raise the kids.  Unfortunately for us, this meant that Shanna wanted a job with more long term prospects and benefits than our little bakery offered.  So she found a job using her nursing degree that paid much more than we could afford.  I was sorry to see her go, but completely understood.  So about a year after she left us and soon after the Supreme Court overturned Prop 8, we got a “save the date” from Shanna and Kari.  Of course, our wedding present to them was the wedding cake.  Shanna had two requests — that Bernie personally do the tasting with them and that I personally decorate her cake.  We were happy to oblige.  About a week before the wedding, I started thinking we should do a “groom’s cake” as a surprise (which might be a real surprise considering there was no traditional “groom.”).  Shanna’s a huge Kansas City Chiefs fan.  The Chiefs are having a fantastic year, so I decided we should do a cake of her favorite team.  She was very surprised and, I think, touched.  Their wedding was held at Bernardo Winery and was quite traditional in format.  We had a great time and it was great to see Shanna so happy.  So here’s Shanna’s cake along with Shanna holding her groom’s cake the day after the wedding.  I’m sorry I don’t have any pictures of the couple on the big day itself, but it was an evening affair and my cell phone didn’t get any pictures that were halfway decent.

 

Now to Shantih, one of the quirkiest guys I’ve ever known.  Shantih had been a customer for a while and kept asking Bernie for a job.  I had been a firm “NO WAY” for over a year, as I thought he was just too much an odd duck to hire.  He finally wore Bernie down and Bernie ended up hiring him, much to my great concern.  Now 8 years later, I have to say I was completely wrong about my concerns.  There’s no question that Shantih has his quirks.  He’s been known to show up to work in mime make-up and work his entire shift without saying a word — merely miming to customers.  In fact, their wedding invitation had a picture of his fiancé, Amanda, with Shantih in white face and a dorky bowler hat peaking out from behind her.  He adopts foreign accents routinely — often so foreign, they don’t sound like an accent any actual person on this planet has.   And he routinely grows moustaches and beards to style rather exotically — he even entered a moustache styling competition at one point.  But as odd as he is, he’s just the sweetest guy you’ll ever meet.  He’s funny, charming and vulnerable in a way that just endears him to nearly everyone.  He’s great for us because he genuinely loves Twiggs and really looks out for us when he’s working — and even when he’s not.

Of course, Shantih wanted a wedding where they would march to a different drummer — literally.  He wanted to get married in the middle of Park Boulevard underneath the University Heights Street sign — half a block from the Twiggs on Park Boulevard where he works.  Much to everyone’s amazement, he was actually able to arrange for Park Boulevard to be closed for two hours for their ceremony.  He had everyone meet in Trolley Barn Park and then, wearing a circus ring master’s outfit pieced together from thrift store purchases, led a procession to the sign while he played a trumpet with a rag tag band including that different drummer.  Following Shantih’s instruction, we all formed an aisle standing on either side of the middle turn lane once we got to the sign.  Then Amanda, radiant in the white fairy outfit she made herself, walked down the “aisle” and met Shantih underneath the sign.  Of course, they’d written their own vows which were quite touching.  Amanda promised to love all of Shantih’s eccentricities, present and ones yet to emerge.  Shantih had a sweet speech that included audience participation we’d rehearsed in the park prior to marching to the sign.  Once they were pronounced man and wife, Shantih picked up his trumpet and Amanda picked up a baritone horn.  Then they played their way back down the aisle and into Bourbon Street, a bar where they had their reception.

Like any good wedding reception, the cake was a focal point!  Shantih wanted a carousel for his wedding cake with faces and mirrors.  Amanda wanted it to be colorful.  Shantih had done a quick sketch but practically fell over himself telling me to design what I thought would look good because I was the “artist.”  I think he was concerned about offending me by designing the cake himself.  But I just wanted to give them something they would love.  I really had fun with the cake.  With Shantih, I just had to include some moustaches with the design.  It was quite a conversation piece, if I do say so myself.    So here’s a picture of me with the cake, a picture of the happy couple, a picture of the wedding happening under the sign and a picture of Shantih and Amanda leading the parade post wedding into the bar.

 

The reception was pretty remarkable.  There were a few relatives to be sure, but most of the 200+ attendees were folks from the neighborhood who knew Shantih from Twiggs.  There were 20 year old students and an 80 something retired school teacher who loves Shantih because he carries her order out to her car so she doesn’t have to look for a parking space and walk.  There were folks in costume and some not.  There were just folks from all walks of life who normally would never have gotten together, but they came together because Shantih is so charming in such a non-threatening and quirky way.  As I looked around the reception, I really began to appreciate what a remarkable person Shantih is.  Weddings are generally a mish mash of people, but most are there due to familial obligations, not because they really want to be.  But everyone was there because they chose to be there.

So if you’re single and despair of ever finding someone, take heart.  Shantih is proof that there’s someone for everyone.  And if you’re an odd duck and despair of ever finding your place in this world, take heart.  There are corners of this world like University Heights which will not only tolerate your eccentricity, but embrace it and celebrate it.  Congratulations, Shantih.  Bernie and I are very grateful you’re part of our lives.  And we’re thrilled for you.  May you and Amanda have a long and successful marriage.  And wherever that different drummer leads you, Bernie’s and my love and best wishes will follow you always.

 

 

Mid October Update

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013 9:58 pm | by Dan

Well, the best laid plans of mice and men . . .   Once again, we’ve been so busy here at Twiggs that I just haven’t found time for a blog update in the past month.  I’ve got a few minutes now, so I’ll highlight some of the great cakes we’ve done over the past month.  We’ve done some gorgeous wedding cakes over the past month.  The first two I’ll highlight have bands of fondant on top of buttercream frosted cakes.  The first up is an elegant cake that went to the elegant Estancia in La Jolla.  The bands of fondant on this cake have been brushed with a metallic gold lustre dust.  It really makes a striking look.   The second cake has fondant bands that criss cross rather than the meticulous horizontal alignment of the first cake.  Both cakes have a cluster of flowers in the center of the cake rather than the top, which makes for a very “now” look.

 

When we first put the fondant ruffle cake design below (in all white) on our website and in our book of pictures we use at tastings, we had a ton of interest in it and booked several weddings with this design.  A trend that’s really starting to become apparent is the use of ombre — the gradual change in the light shade of a color to a darker shade.   The cake below is the first to combine these two — fondant ruffles done in a blue ombre.  The groom was in the room when I was setting the cake up and told me the cake would make his soon-to-be wife cry — it was exactly what she wanted.  I told him that as long as they were tears of happiness, I’m ok with making  woman cry on her wedding day.

Finally, I’ll highlight a simple cake.  Honestly, the decoration isn’t complicated or that impressive from a technical standpoint.  But it was for a wedding on the beach at the Hotel Del, so a casual cake was quite appropriate.  I thought the cake looked great in it’s beach setting.

Guy has been a regular customer for years at our Park Boulevard location and actually lives just a block away from Bernie and me.  Guy got married a few weeks ago up in Temecula and got a groom’s cake from us.  He’s a big Daft Punk fan and wanted a 3D recreation of the helmet the duo wear during performances.  I have to admit, I’m no Daft Punk fan — “Get Lucky”, their current single that’s ubiquitous on the radio now, drives me crazy.  But I’m a big Guy fan, so I was happy to part of his big day in a very small way.  Guy was really happy with the cake when he picked it up on his way to Temecula.

When I was a kid, I was a big Madeline and Babar fan, so now I have a soft spot for any kid infatuated with Paris and France.   At 16, I’m sure Elena no longer considers herself a “kid” and I’m not sure what her fascination or connection to Paris is, but she’s okay in my book.  Emily just did a fantastic job on this 3D Eiffel Tower.

Finally, I’ll show a kid’s cake with a turtle on top for the one year old with an eye for contemporary design, a rather large 2D Minion. a 50′s retro design for the martini lover and a quite striking cake with a sunflower design.  You can click on any image to see a larger version.

   

  

 

There are a lot more great pics that I’ll upload to our on-line galleries, but I’ll close out the blog post now.   We’re still booking up 3-4 weeks in advance now, so plan ahead if you want us to do a specially designed cake.  We’ve also started doing pies — pumpkin and chocolate pecan right now with apple to follow in a week or so.  And we’re starting to put out our winter / holiday loaves — Cranberry Orange Bread and Pumpkin Raisin Bread.  It’s hard to believe the holidays are upon us already.  Life is going by too quickly.

Thanks for reading this and thanks for continuing to make Twiggs so successful.  Having been through lean times, I’m extremely grateful for the good times now.

Working Through The Heat

Thursday, September 5th, 2013 12:24 am | by Dan

After living in Washington, DC for 7 years, I feel like a spoiled brat complaining about the heat here in San Diego.  But like everyone here, I’ve adapted to year long mild weather and when it gets into the upper 80′s I complain.  Last week was one of the few times all year when it gets more than warm here in Southern California.  That can make deliveries particularly problematic as no buttercream frosted cake enjoys being in the heat.  But this year, I’ve come up with a delivery system involving large insulated boxes and ice packs.  Now our cakes arrive on site nice and cool like they’ve just come out of the refrigerator.  It’s taken a great deal of the stress and worry out of delivering in the heat.  Now I’ll stop patting myself on the back so I can type with two hands.

We deal with a lot of brides here at Twiggs and they come in all varieties.  Lisa was the best kind of bride to deal with — the happy bride.  She and Jeff were married at the Bayview Room on MCRD which is probably my favorite of all the military venues.  Happy brides generally get happy cakes and Lisa wanted a very modern cake in green and coral.  It was a very fun cake and I thought it looked great.

Coral is in now and Deandra wanted a cake with a coral stencil on the side of her cake along with a monogram.  And Erin and David got married at Park Manor Suites, which has a terrific venue on the top floor overlooking Balboa Park and much of Banker’s Hill.  They selected a cake loaded with edible pearls, another very popular option now.

Alli swam the English Channel over the summer and her colleagues at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla wanted to celebrate her achievement.  So we made a cake with a little swimmer crossing the channel with England and France denoted by their flags.  Alli herself is Italian, so our fondant swimmer had a swim cap with the colors of the Italian flag.   Finishing this cake wasn’t quite the same achievement as Alli’s, but it was a fun cake.

I’ll close with some other cakes we’ve done over the past couple of weeks which were fun, cute or impressive enough to show off here.   There’s a 3-D Chocolate Doughnut, a baby in a bath tub for a baby shower, and a rubber duck on a 1 year old’s first birthday cake.  Allison and Rob got a wedding cake and a few other cakes from us last weekend.  They got married at Steele Canyon Golf Club out in Jamul.  The venue there is all outdoors which can be very pleasant at night but quite hot during the day.  They’re nice enough to let us set up the cake inside their office and then they take it outside when it’s cooler.  There’s a lot of places that won’t do that and I’m very grateful they do.   Their wedding cake had a cascade of handmade roses which took a long time and looked great.  But the picture is of a cake set up on an office desk with paperwork around it, so it’s not a great picture.  But we did take a picture of their groom’s cake in our bakery before delivering it.  It’s a spiderman tux and I’ve included that picture below.  Finally Lt. Col Schulman retired from the Marines and we made his retirement cake.  The Marine Emblem in the center of the cake was made by hand and looked great.  You can click on any of these images to see a larger one.

   

   

So that’s it for another post.  We remain extremely busy and are booked up for several upcoming weekends.  So, again, if you’re interested in getting a cake from us, the sooner you let us know, the better (within reason.  we had a tasting recently for a 2015 wedding.  That was a bit much.  You don’t need to plan that far ahead).    Anyway, thanks for reading this and for keeping us so busy!   I’m very grateful for how busy we are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buried in Flour

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013 9:50 pm | by Dan

Okay, we’re not literally buried in flour here at Twiggs Bakery, but we remain extraordinarily busy — so busy that it’s been a month since my last “weekly” blog post.  Too much work is a good problem to have, so I’m not complaining.  But I’ve enjoyed doing these posts and discussing the stories behind many of the cakes.  So I feel like I’m giving short shrift to some great cakes by only doing a monthly entry here rather than a weekly one.  But in the interest of getting a new post done, I’ll forge ahead so my monthly entry doesn’t turn into a bi-monthly entry.   There’s no way I can discuss all the great cakes we’ve done in the last month in much detail, but here are some highlights and some cliff notes to go with them.

We remain as busy as ever with wedding cakes.  I love doing wedding cakes and seeing the range of styles that people want for a cake celebrating such a big day in their lives.  Some want elegant, formal cakes ready for their Martha Stewart photo shoot.  At the other extreme, some couples want very fun cakes that are almost a pop art statement.  And some couples want a personalized cake that reflects their interests in some way.  So let’s start with some very elegant cakes which have gone to such elegant locations as the US Grant and the Lodge at Torrey Pines.   Edible pearls are really big now for wedding cake decoration.  We’ve done variations of the first cake pictured below before, but this is the first time we’ve used a mixture of white and silver edible pearls.  We also handmade the peonies that decorate the side of one of the tiers.  It really came out spectacularly.   The second cake features a pretty tedious application of thin fondant strips into floral patterns on the side of the top and bottom tiers.  It took a while to finish, but the pay off in the end was worth it.   I’ve included two more “classy” wedding cakes after these two, though in a smaller format (you can click on these to see a larger format).  The first picture combines two very popular styles now — damask and bling ribbon.  The second is a very pretty in yellow cake with this same increasingly ubiquitous bling ribbon.

   

In the more casual category is a cake I did for some friends of ours.  Ian and Gina were both married before and had families of their own before divorcing their first spouses years ago.  They’ve been together for nearly 18 years now and never felt a pressing need to get married, but recently decided to take the plunge.  Honestly, I didn’t even realize they weren’t married until they asked us to the wedding.  I quickly volunteered to make their cake.  They ended up getting an extremely low maintenance cake — it wasn’t even decorated! — at least, not much.  This is a style we’ve done a few times before where you assemble the cake and then just set it up un-iced with exposed sides.  We did put a little buttercream on top of each tier along with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, but that was it.  It makes a very rustic cake and one I’m always surprised looks good when it’s set up.  Ian and Gina got married in their backyard literally surrounded by their children and grandchildren.  It was a beautiful, touching scene and I’m not just writing puffed up stuff because they might read it.  It really was a poignant wedding and I’m genuinely happy we got to be a part of it in some small way.  So here’s Ian and Gina’s rustic cake.

Now to fun and personalized cakes.  The groom for this next cake is a professional glass worker, making glass art objects for a living.  When Bernie met with them for their tasting, they wanted a cake with starfish and sea shells — very common here in our oversized beach town.  Bernie suggested the groom personalize their cake by making the starfish himself from glass, using whatever colors they wanted.  So that’s what he did.  We finished the cake off with some white chocolate coral and sea shells.   It’s a wonderfully personalized cake that, to me, makes the best kind of wedding cakes.  Then there’s a very pop art wedding cake with teal embellishments and ORANGE flowers.  It just looked great and this bride was kind enough to write a glowing review on Wedding Wire which we appreciate tremendously.   Finally, a REAL pop art statement extolling the couple to Laugh Often and Love Much.   Hard to argue with that advice.

We’ve done two 3-D Air Force planes in the past month for two men at different milestones in their lives.  The first was a groom’s cake for a guy who flew an F15 Strike Eagle in Afghanistan.  This was a smaller cake which really was a fun surprise for the groom and not meant to serve a ton of folks — the wedding cake was for that.  The second was a much larger cake meant to feed 60-70.  It was a replica of a B47 that the 80 year old birthday boy flew during the Korean War.  This one was a real logistical challenge as the wing span of the plane is actually longer than the plane itself.  It was tricky getting this to fit through the 3 foot wide doors of our walk-in.   But it made it safely to Rancho Valencia for the celebration.  I heard it was the hit of the party.   You can click on either image below to see a larger version of these edible fighters.

  

Finally, I’ll close out this post with our bread and butter — kid’s cakes and baby shower cakes.  The thing that’s got us so busy these days is the explosion in the number of non-wedding cakes we’re doing now.  We’re basically doing about the same volume of wedding cakes we’ve done the past few years — though there’s definitely a bump now with the Supreme Court ruling that officially overturned Prop 8.  The difference between this year and the last couple of years, however, is the number of birthday (particularly kid’s birthdays) and baby shower cakes we’re doing now.  We’re probably doing triple the amount of those now.  I think this is the real sign of the change in the economy.  People always got married even in tough economic times.  But in those same tough times, people scaled back on more modest celebrations like birthdays and showers.  But now that there’s a little more cash flowing around and people are feeling a little more comfortable in general, we’re getting a LOT more orders.  So yippee all around.

Here’s some fun cakes we’ve done for some of the younger inhabitants of this lovely city.  First is a 3D Toxic Waste Can for a kid who was having a “Toxic Waste” themed party.  Hopefully no one was exposed to any actual toxic waste during the soiree.   Then we have a very cute tiered cake with some baby animals.  Mickey and Minnie seem to be eternally popular thanks to the Disney marketing machine (if only Betty Boop had such a powerhouse behind her).  First is a tiered cake that’s a clever mash-up of Mickey’s shorts and Donald Duck’s jacket.  Then there’s a variation on a Minnie Mouse tiered cakes we’ve done many times and finally a cake featuring Mickey as a toddler.  Then I’ll close out with some baby shower cakes we’ve done — a sailor bear themed tiered cake as well as one with a baby rattle on top.  Finally there’s a cake with lot of baby paraphernalia on it.  You can click on any of these cakes to see a larger image.

 

  

   

So that’s it for some of the highlights for the past month.  I’ve added these and more pictures to our on-line galleries.  We’re booking up about 2-3 weeks in advance now for more time-consuming orders.   So if you see something you like here, then plan ahead!   We’re turning down a lot of orders these days with folks calling on Monday and Tuesday for cakes they want for Saturday.  I hate turning away business, but there’s only so much we can do and maintain the level of quality I want to.  Thanks for reading the blog and thanks for supporting Twiggs.  I’m extremely grateful for how busy we are these days.

 

 

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