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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tuesday, July 16th, 2013 3:57 pm | by Dan
Okay, I’m way behind on getting blog posts out. My goal has been to do a post a week featuring the cakes we did at Twiggs from the previous week. We’re just so busy right now, however, that I just haven’t had time to do that. Now I’ve got about a month’s worth of cakes and there’s just a ton of stuff to show. It’s sort of tough deciding which cakes to feature, but here are some highlights. The cakes that don’t get featured here will still be uploaded to our galleries, which is certainly more important in the long run.
Michael was turning 40 and had just completed a 3 year training period to become certified as an elevator service technician. His partner Russ wanted to surprise him with an “Elevator of Doom” cake — an elevator that had somehow flown out of a building and crashed onto a sidewalk and now had police caution tape around it. On the side of the elevator, Russ wanted a photo collage of Michael and him and their dogs at various stages in their lives. We don’t get projects like this every week and I had a lot of fun figuring out how to pull this off. Russ was very excited when he picked it up.
Of course, we’ve done several wedding cakes over the past 3 weeks. I decided to feature two rather unusual ones here, both for very different weddings. Weddings are very interesting events to be a part of because different couples approach them so differently. Some want a very formal, elegant affair while others want a very casual, fun event. These two cakes demonstrate those two extremes. Veronica and Jay had their reception at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla. Veronica wanted a rather modern, stylized cake with bands brushed with metallic silver lustre dust. We recreated her very unique wedding ring to place at the base of the top tier. It all made for a very striking cake. Meanwhile, Heather and Clint had their reception on a Hornblower Cruise. They’re both swimmers and apparently pretty competitive with each other. They had a very fun cake with two swimmers on top with pearl dragees trailing behind them. So here are two very different ways to celebrate a wedding:
Now from weddings to 50th Anniversaries. This couple’s first date was over a game of monopoly which apparently has become legend within the family. So for the 50th anniversary, one of their daughters ordered a replica of a monopoly board. This was a fun cake to work on.
It seems most every little girl wants to be a princess and we did several princess cakes over the past 3 weeks. So here are three of them. And while we’re showing kid’s cakes, I’ll throw in a very cute lady bug cake we did for the first birthday of a little girl we did a baby shower cake for last year. Then there’s a little Tinkerbell cake and a Winnie the Pooh Gun Show cake I have to show since they’re both so cute. You can click on any image to see a larger one.
Finally, I can’t close without showing a great groom’s cake we did for a couple who grew up on Star Wars. It’s a replica of Darth Vader’s helmet with the saying “May The Force Be With Us.” Lydia worked on this and just did a fantastic job.
Yeah! I got the blog post done! So we’re just super busy right now and are booked up for larger orders about a month in advance these days. We can always take orders for simple 8″ and 10″ cakes with not much notice. But if you want a cake like any of the ones featured above, you should contact us at least a month in advance. We get calls all the time now where we have to tell folks that we’re sorry but we just can’t take on their order. I hate turning business away, but it’s a good problem to have, I suppose. So thanks for reading this and thanks for supporting Twiggs. I’m very grateful for how busy we are these days and how great things are going!
Monday, June 17th, 2013 11:24 pm | by Dan
Most folks think of June as the most popular month for weddings and in a lot of the country it is. But in San Diego, it’s actually the slowest summer month for weddings. I think couples’ fear of having their wedding shrouded in the notorious “June Gloom” of coastal southern California has many couples plan for weddings in later summer and early fall months. Still, we had 4-6 weddings each of the past weekends so it’s not like we’re sitting around playing tiddlywinks. We’ve kept ourselves respectably employed. And the couples who went out on a limb and planned their weddings for this past weekend were rewarded with glorious sunny skies.
We had two local weddings over the past two weekends. And by local, I mean for neighbors whose receptions were less than 2 miles from our bakery. I really like doing local weddings for the obvious benefit of having a close delivery. But I also really like the real community feel you get in doing wedding cakes for neighbors. We’ve had many regular customers over the years get their wedding cakes from us. It’s fun to see them in the years following the wedding as they get pregnant, bring their kids in and just have Twiggs be a part of their lives in some small way. So here are the two local wedding cakes we did. Daniela and Angel had their reception at the Queen Bee in North Park. Daniela wanted a very elegant cake and even made the ruffled cake stand herself. Meanwhile, Tami and Luke had their reception in the back yard of their home in Normal Heights complete with catering by a food truck. Their cake was a little more casual with two very cute ducks for a topper. Here are their cakes which both looked great.
Andrea and Kellan got married at Marina Village in Mission Beach — a very popular spot for couples not looking to break the bank on their wedding. They got a very simple, small cake that I normally wouldn’t feature in this blog. But they did such a great job of setting up the table, I thought it was worthwhile showing what you can do to make a striking presentation with a modest budget and turn a very simple cake into a statement.
Rob and Jackie got married and had their reception at the recently renovated Bali Hai on Shelter Island. They had a very personalized cake with words all over the cake that had meaning to them — places they’d lived, schools they’d attended, family relationships they had and activities they did together or separately. Rob went to Clemson for undergrad and is a big Tigers fan, so they got a groom’s cake with a Clemson tiger paw on top. It’s funny, but this is about the 5th Clemson cake we’ve done over the years, making it one of the top university alumni cake we’ve done, excluding schools in San Diego or Los Angeles. We’re a long way from Clemson, South Carolina and it’s not often I meet Clemson alumni here. But I guess they’re particularly rabid fans.
Here’s a great cake with fondant ruffles complimented perfectly by some happy gerber daisies. It’s a very modern take on a wedding cake.
The next cake was for a commanding officer in the Army. Apparently he thinks of himself as a real health nut and talks often about what he does to keep fit. But every time someone goes out for lunch, he requests a meal from Mickey D’s. So his staff got him a cake with his standard lunch request made from rice cereal treats on top.
Finally, I can’t close out blog post without at least a couple of kid’s cakes — our bread and butter. We did a very cute tiger laying in the grass and yet another Minnie Mouse cake. You can click on either image to see a larger version.
Well, that closes out another blog post. Thanks for reading the blog and for keeping us so busy. I’m very grateful for each and every order.
Thursday, June 6th, 2013 4:44 pm | by Dan
Well, I’m really behind on my “weekly” Twiggs blog posts. I took a short vacation plus we’ve just been super busy and I just haven’t found time to post here. But I’ve got a little bit of time now and there’s a lot to cover since the last post so we’ll get right to it. We’ve really done some great wedding cakes in the last month if I do say so myself — and I do. Sarah and Matt got married at the San Diego Zoo, which can be a very fun and unique place to have a wedding. Sarah had bought two red pandas for the top of her cake and wanted us to recreate these on the lower tiers. I’m not sure why she didn’t pay the person who made the toppers to do the other ones or why she didn’t have us do all three sets, as it was a little time-consuming to try to match the toppers. In the end, however, I thought they turned out great and if you didn’t know, you’d have thought the same person made all three sets. Bravo Emily!
Now from fun to classic . . . Dana and Raul got married this past Saturday at the gorgeously situated Scripps Seaside Forum. Dana wanted a classic and elegant wedding cake with bands of embossed fondant. Lydia actually went on a shopping trip searching for just the right stamp to do the embossing. It turned out beautifully and I heard from the coordinator that Dana and Raul loved their cake. Below is a picture of the whole cake along with a close-up of the embossed fondant band.
Here are a few more wedding cakes of note we’ve done over the last few weeks — from elegant to casual to a very unique not-for-everyone Day of the Dead themed black wedding cake. You can click on any image to see a larger version.
We did a very cute rubber duck for a baby shower. Apparently this rubber duck is the mascot of some Argentinian soccer team, so the duck has the team colors and a little soccer ball beside it. We also did an unusual rock and roll themed cake for a baby shower for a baby who’s dad is in a rock band. Then we have a simple suitcase, a two tier cake with vines and teal daisies, a xylophone cake for a little kid and a zebra stripe cake with tons of bling.
Finally, a couple of weekends ago we did five first communion cakes. It was sort of crazy, especially since three of them had the exact same design. Here are three of them, one complete with a rosary circling the cake.
Well, that’s enough for this post. Back to work. There’s a ton of things to do for this weekend. Thanks as always for keeping us so busy. And if you want Twiggs to do a specialty cake for you, it’s best to contact us at least a month in advance. We’re booked up for the next 3 weeks at this point. It’s great to be so busy, but I hate turning people down, so plan ahead! Thanks for reading the blog and supporting our business!
Thursday, May 9th, 2013 10:10 pm | by Dan
I had 5 deliveries last Saturday for Twiggs and the second worst nightmare for cake deliveries happened — the van I was driving broke down. (The worst nightmare is something happening to the cake itself — dropping it, etc). There were two very fortunate things about this breakdown — actually three. The first was that it broke down as I was pulling into the parking lot where the delivery was going — so the cake got delivered on time, no problem. The second fortunate thing is that this was a 12:30 delivery and my next delivery wasn’t until 3, so I had basically 2 hours to get the van towed and get myself back to the bakery to do the next deliveries in our other van. The final fortunate thing is that it was only the alternator that had died. So it was an easy fix that got completed in a few hours on Monday and didn’t cost a fortune (thank you, Smitty’s! — the most honest and reasonable auto repair place ever!) The unfortunate thing (besides the actual breakdown) is that I was in Coronado Cays when it happened. Actually, now that I think about it, that could be viewed as a fortunate thing as well. That’s a pretty nice place to cool your heels while waiting for a tow truck. So, anyway, long story short — I got back to Twiggs in the nick of time and the three final deliveries of the day went smoothly with all cakes getting delivered on time. Whew! So here’s the cake that broke down the vehicle. I should give a shout-out to the family hosting this baby shower as they were very gracious in letting me use their cell phones multiple times (of all the times to forget my cell phone!) and even let me have some bottled water they’d bought for the shower. They seemed genuinely concerned about my predicament and I’m grateful for their kindness. Fortunately, they absolutely loved the cake. It would have totally sucked to be stuck there with a customer who was unhappy! The future grandmother who’d ordered the cake returned our cake stand on Monday and just raved about the taste of the cake, which is always nice to hear.
So here’s the first cake that got delivered post breakdown. Jess and Brian got married at the lovely Darlington House in La Jolla. The home has a wonderful courtyard and garden which is beautifully maintained with lots of privacy. Jess fell in love with the hobnail design wedding cake which we did last year, ironically enough for another wedding at the Darlington House. So she got that along with some mini-cupcakes. The design is beyond tedious to do — you just go cross eyed making all those small dots — but it is beautiful.
The final cake I delivered was for Juana and Jorge who had their reception in her parents’ backyard. I really like at-home receptions because they become so much more personal than most. But there’s a whole host of issues that can arise for a site not really designed for a large catered event. Juana’s parents’ backyard sloped down and then dropped into a canyon. It’s great backing onto a canyon, but having tables sitting at a downhill slant – including the cake table — can be problematic. When I got there we moved the table to a flatter space so the cake wouldn’t look like the leaning Tower of Pisa. I’ve learned that if the table is slanted, of course the cake will be slanted. But no one seems to notice that the table is slanted so it just looks like you’ve set up a lopsided cake, even though you haven’t. So when I get to a place that has a slanted table, I really do everything I can to get the table as flat as possible — because I know I’m going to be blamed (and probably dinged in some yelp review) for delivering a slanted cake if I don’t. It took some maneuvering, but things worked out and I thought the cake was beautiful.
Emily did a very cute couple of cakes for Xavier who’s mom had chosen a circus theme for his 1st birthday. And Emily was the savior on a First Communion Cake with a Cinco de Mayo theme. I was going to finish this cake, but with the car breakdown I had to get Emily to take it over. The design is taken from the invitation to the party. Emily just did a fantastic job — particularly with no notice. The cake just looked great — and very much like the invitation.
Finally, a cake for a new grad of Point Loma Nazarene. Congratulations Nicole! Write when you get work!
Well, that’s the highlights from this past week. We’ve got a steady weekend coming up — particularly with Mother’s Day on Sunday. We’re doing some special cakes for Mother’s Day, so if your mom is alive and well and living in San Diego, show her how much you love her with a cake from Twiggs! We’ll love you for loving your mother. It will just be a big unconditional love fest, which is what Mother’s Day is all about. My mom isn’t in her physical body any longer, but I’m grateful I had as long with her as I did. And I’m grateful for all the moms out there who love their kids enough to get cakes from Twiggs! Thanks for reading the blog. And if you’re a mom — Happy Mother’s Day!