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Sweet Endings to Saying I Do

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 6:56 pm | by Dan

We’re in the midst of wedding season here at Twiggs Bakery so we’re churning out wedding cakes.  When I first started doing wedding cakes, I used to get a little freaked out while decorating and then delivering the cake, especially.   Mentally I would be thinking “OMG!  This is somebody’s WEDDING CAKE!   I can’t mess up!  OMG!”  Now 20 years and more than a thousand wedding cakes later, I’m far more relaxed than I used to be.   After so many years and deliveries, I’ve come up with a transport system where the cakes are essentially guaranteed to arrive in tact and in perfect shape.  Where I used to want absolutely no one watching me when I set up a cake on site because I was so nervous, now I just chat with whoever happens to be there and watching.  I actually enjoy delivering wedding cakes now (at least most of the time.  Friday afternoon rush hour deliveries to North County are still a big annoyance).  But I enjoy seeing the different reception sites and what folks have done to put their own stamp on things and make the celebration personal.  So here are some wedding cakes I’ve delivered in the last few weeks where people put their own spin the traditional wedding cake.

The first two cakes are probably the last two cakes I’ll deliver to the Sub Base on Point Loma for quite a while.  This base and the one where Admiral Kidd are have changed their access requirements.   Whereas you formally just had to submit your name and vehicle information a week prior to the event to get on the access list, they now require social security numbers, driver license numbers and date of birth to get on the base.  And you don’t submit these to the base.  You submit them to the person sponsoring the event who then submits them to the base.  And this isn’t just for vendors; this is for every single guest attending the wedding.  Naturally, a lot of people don’t want to give all this information out to strangers — including us.  We’ve decided to no longer deliver to either of these bases.  From what I hear, this new rule has really killed business on the bases for weddings and other events because so many people are uneasy with the new rules.  It’s a shame as they’re nice venues and events there brought money to the base to support operations.  Perhaps the rules will revert to the old access rules in the future, but for now, here are the last two cakes we’ve delivered to the Oceanview Room on the subbase — both unique wedding cakes.  The first is a design we’ve done a few times before — frosting the cake to look like a birch tree.  The first time I did this cake, it took me about a day of experimentation to figure out how to make it work.  Once I broke the code, it’s really not that difficult and it is a very cool and unique look.  The “stand” they had for this cake was a little tricky.  They had five sections of cut tree trunk which were all different heights and were definitely not flat.  But I balanced the base on three of them while the other two just sort of fit in for show and it worked.   The second cake mimics a sand castle for a couple which had a beach theme running throughout their reception.

From these two casual and different cakes, I’ll turn to two rather elegant and more traditional cakes.  The first went to the serene and beautiful Estancia up in La Jolla.  The cake features molded fondant embellishments all around the cake and some oversized flowers.  The second is a chandelier drape we’ve done a few times before.  This time, however, the bride wanted crystals added strategically at different drop points on the design.  This cake went to the Abbey on 5th Avenue and just looked fantastic.

Next up is a simple but happy cake that went to the new Stone Brewing Restaurant at NTC in Point Loma.  If you haven’t been there, you sort of have to know where it is to get there as there’s essentially zero signage pointing the way.  When you finally figure out where it is, there’s just a little sandwich board on the sidewalk indicating that the restaurant is inside.  It’s almost like finding a speakeasy.  But once you’re in the place, it’s surprisingly massive.  One of the folks working there told me it’s the largest restaurant in San Diego by square footage.  And I can believe it.  These cakes were set up in a courtyard in the back of the restaurant.  The couple made a fun little lemon and lime bride and groom as a topper for the wedding cake.  The groom’s cake is a barbell “weighing” 71914 pounds — the wedding date.  We’ve already gotten a glowing 5 star yelp review on these cakes which we appreciate tremendously.

Next are three weddings which are rather traditional, but I think just looked great in their settings.  The first has a combination of a teal ribbon with orange tulips which was really striking.  This was in the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park.  It looked like the dinosaur was coming for the wedding cake!  Then there’s a very simple single swiss dot design with the very en vogue coral ribbon which went to Pioneer Park in Old Town.  Finally, there a cake buffet of simple designs at the shabby chic Bandy Canyon Ranch up in Escondido.  You can click on any of these images to see a larger version.

  

Next is a cute cake celebrating a couple’s anniversary.  We made the topper showing them in what is apparently a common situation — on the couch with he holding the TV remote and she holding a newspaper.  The design on the cake itself is based on the invitation to their anniversary party.

Here’s four random cakes from the last few weeks that are a little different from what we’ve done in the past.  The first two are for kids — one having a beach themed party with a  big beach ball on his cake.  The second was having a dinosaur theme for his 3rd birthday party.  Next is a gift box cake for an adult featuring a leopard print ribbon.  Finally, a cake for a label-conscious wife.  Last year we did a cake for her with flowers made from the Kate Spade logo.  This year we did a sailboard floating on a sea of LuLuLemon logos.

  

  

Well, that’s enough for this post.  Our new bigger walk-in is here and should be hooked up within the next week so we can expand our capacity a bit.  It’s a little nerve-wracking spending so much money on a capital improvement, but business is really great right now.  After 17 years, I’ve learned we need to capitalize on this time.  Bernie and I genuinely appreciate all the orders we get — whether it’s a $1000 wedding cake or a $30 birthday cake.  And we’re also extremely grateful for the daily business we get from so many folks for coffee, lattes, pastries and breakfast at both our locations.  Thanks for supporting Twiggs and reading the blog!

 

 

 

 

June Brides and Grads

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 11:32 pm | by Dan

The “June Bride” is something of a cliché, thanks to the popularity of June for weddings in so much of the country.  For San Diego, however, I’ve always found June to be a slower month for wedding cakes for Twiggs than July through October.  I always attributed it to “June Gloom,” the traditional coastal fog that settles over San Diego for most of the day during June.  I figured most couples didn’t want to chance having a gloomy day for their wedding when you’re basically guaranteed a sunny, glorious day July through October in the endless summer of San Diego.  This year, however, we’ve been slammed during June for weddings.  I don’t know if more people are really getting married in June than previously or if it’s just that we’re just far more popular than in the past thanks to all the reviews we’ve gotten on yelp and other sites.  People are just a lot more aware of Twiggs than they use to be.  Come to think of it, it might be all the same sex weddings we’re doing these days.  Three of the 12 weddings we had last weekend were same sex couples, which is fantastic.  Whatever it is, we’ve been pumping out wedding cakes recently.  It’s a challenge to keep up the quality we’re known for when the volume picks up.  But we’ve worked out a system that — knock on wood — has really worked so far.

So here’s some  cakes we’ve done in the last three weeks, all of which I thought were stunning, if I do say so myself.  And I do.  The first has a cascade of contemporary coral fondant flowers we made ourselves.  The second is an Art Deco inspired design that went to Morgan Run Golf Club up in Rancho Santa Fe.  The third picture is for a gay wedding where the guys wanted a masculine take on a Mexican fiesta.  I suggested they do a tile design around the bottom of each tier,  so we used a medallion they had on their invitations to create the individual tiles.  This cake went to the new Stone Brewing restaurant in NTC.  It was a masculine cake in a masculine setting, so it was perfect for them.

 

Metallic Gold has suddenly come in vogue.  I think if you do the entire cake in metallic gold, it’s just a little over the top — a little too Graceland for my tastes.   But if you do a single tier in the metallic gold, it can be pretty striking.  Here are two cakes we’ve done recently — three tier cakes where just the middle tier is sprayed with a metallic gold lustre dust.  They both called “Look at me!” from across the room — at the Estancia for the first one and the ZLAC Rowing Club for the second.  Interestingly, they both had “Love” toppers, though in different styles.   I’ve put them side by side in smaller images.  Click on either one to see a larger image.

     

Next is a cake for a bride who loves Disney and Mickey Mouse.  The Mickey silhouette and embellishments on the top and bottom tiers of this cake were from a design the bride did herself and used on her invitations.  I like doing cakes that are somehow personalized to the bride and/or groom.  This cake went to the Bali Hai on Shelter Island.

Finally, here’s a very simply frosted cake with rough pleats made from running the spatula around the cake.  Honestly, it’s very easy to do, but it creates a very pretty and somewhat rustic look.  The fresh flowers on this cake are what really make it, honestly.  I’d very rarely seen the “garden roses” used on this cake before this year.  But, man, have they come in style big time this year.  I think I’ve seen them at 20 weddings so far this year.  I can understand why;  they’re gorgeous.  This cake went to the uber popular Coronado Community Center.

Before we completely leave weddings, here’s a great groom’s cake we did that went to Tom Ham’s Lighthouse on Harbor Island.  The couple are both Star Trek geeks and the groom wanted a recreation of Hans Solo in Carbonite.  I wasn’t quite sure a guy trapped against his will was a very good metaphor to start your marriage off with, but – hey – it’s their wedding, not mine.  Emily had actually done this design twice before.  This time, however, she added a small wedding band to Mr. Solo’s left hand.  We got a rave review from the bride about both her wedding cake as well as this cake, though she talked more about this cake than her wedding cake, which is understandable.  It had to be quite the conversation piece at the wedding.

Finally, we did do some non-wedding cakes.   Here’s a great cake featuring drunks on a barrel for a guy’s 21st birthday, a very fun circus theme cake and then a cake with pandas and bamboo for a person moving to Japan.  Finally, there’s a cake for a guy fulfilling a life-long dream — he was graduating from drill instructor school and was going to be a drill instructor in the Marine Corps.  Sempre Fi!

Well, that’s enough for this post.  Thanks for reading and thanks for keeping us so busy.  I’m extremely grateful for each and every order.   Thanks!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Monday, June 2nd, 2014 11:52 pm | by Dan

It’s been a while since I really focused on some kid’s cakes, which along with wedding cakes is the bulk of our business here at Twiggs Bakery.   So I figured I’d start off this post featuring some super cute kids cakes we’ve done.  One of the byproducts of working in a bakery that does so many cakes for kids is that you really keep up on all the latest TV shows popular with the under 6 crowd.  I’d never heard of Doc McStuffin until this past weekend when Leah’s mom ordered a cake for her with a Doc McStuffin theme.  Turns out Doc McStuffin is a doctor for stuffed animals, which sounds like cute overload.  But Leah’s cake was just cute.  Meanwhile Nico’s mom was hosting a pirate themed birthday party for him and wanted a cake complete with skull and crossbones along with a treasure chest.  Emily did a fantastic job on both of them.

 

If you have a child under the age of 9, you’re probably sick of the Disney movie Frozen by now.  Here’s my advice:  Let it go!  Let it go!  Run away and slam the door!  Seriously, the cutest character in the movie has to be Olaf.  He’s voiced by the guy who originated the role of Arnold, one of the Mormon missionaries in The Book of Mormon on Broadway.  It was amusing to me to listen to his very distinctive voice as Olaf in this children’s story and associate it with such a non-kid friendly role from Broadway.  I doubt any 7 year olds have made that connection, so I’m sure it’s okay.  Anyway, you don’t have to be prepubescent to appreciate Frozen and Olaf as this next cake shows.

Most folks buy what they can see, so the majority of our orders duplicate things already on our website or someone else’s with minor changes.  Oddly, we had two Dr. Seuss cakes a couple of weeks ago with fundamentally the same design for the same day duplicating a cake we did last year.  I’ll close out the kid’s cake portion of this post with a very sweet cake for a one year old.

   

We’re still in the midst of graduation season, though it’s trailing off now.  But here are two grad cakes we did this past weekend which stand out.

  

I mentioned in the last blog post about how many military cake orders we’re getting now.  Here’s one we did last weekend for a woman retiring from the Navy Nursing Corps after 25 years of service.

 

 

I can’t really have a blog post without showing at least a couple of wedding cakes.  The first is a very happy cake decorated with sunflowers that went to the San Diego Rowing Club in Mission Beach.  It’s the first time that I’d delivered there and I have to say it’s a pretty cool spot.  If you want something contemporary, open air and on the water, I’d definitely recommend checking them out.  The contemporary nature of the design of this wedding cake along with the happy sunflowers fit the feel and mood of the space perfectly.  The groom for that wedding is a dedicated body builder, so they also got a groom’s cake decorated like a stack of weights with their wedding date and name on it.

Next is a very subtle mint green ombre that went to the recently renovated and reinvigorated Tom Ham’s Lighthouse.  Tom Ham’s was closed for a lot of last year for “renovations.”  I was delivering to the Admiral Kidd Club last year and looked across the bay towards Tom Ham’s.  Renovation is an understatement.  They basically tore the place down and completely rebuilt it.  The floor plan is the same (at least the two downstairs banquet rooms that I deliver to — don’t know about the upstairs public dining space).  But it does look nice and spiffy now.  And they’ve added a separate lawn area to hold weddings.  They really did a nice job.  And I thought we did a nice job on this subtle ombre.

I’ll close with a baby shower cake for a mom who’s a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan.  Hopefully, the child doesn’t live up to the towel’s name.  For the non sports fan, the Steelers fans carry a trademark “Terrible Towel” that they wave during games.  I’m not a Pittsburgh fan, so I have no idea of the origin of that tradition.  But it seems they’ve been doing it since the 70′s.

  

Well, that’s it for another post.  At this point, we’re basically booked up through July 13 for anything other than basic 8″ and 10″ retail cakes, which just seems crazy to me — but crazy in a good way.  But please call or e-mail anyway.  We might be able to fit in a mid-week special order.  Anything on a weekend will be tough, but you never know.  We did order another walk-in today, however, so expansion possibilities are on the way.  (I hope expansion is on the way.  We’ve got to pay for this new $18,000 walk-in!!!).  So thanks for reading the post and thanks for keeping us so freaking busy.  I’m extremely grateful for each order and each show of faith in Twiggs to help you celebrate whatever special occasion you have.  It makes me happy to think of literally hundreds of people eating cake from Twiggs every weekend.   Thanks!!!

 

We’re In The Weeds!!!

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 9:17 pm | by Dan

There’s an expression in restaurants called being “in the weeds”  It refers to the times you get so slammed with orders or prep work that you just have to put your head down and work as hard and as fast as you can to get through it — while quietly wondering if you’ll get through it.   It’s most often used in restaurants for line cooks on a really busy Saturday night.  Well, we’re in the weeds here at Twiggs Bakery.  We get so many calls and e-mails these days that we basically have the equivalent of a full time person just to answer the phone, answer e-mails and complete and send out booking forms.  We’re basically booked up for the entire month of June at this point and there’s still 10 days left in May.  It’s a little crazy.  I keep telling myself this is a good problem to have.  We’re in the process of ordering another walk-in so that we can handle more orders, because at this point, we’re really testing our capacity.  Until then, if you want a cake from Twiggs that has any special decor, it’s really necessary to order several weeks in advance.

So what are we so busy with?   Weddings, for one.  I use to think the peak of wedding season was July – October.  Now, it seems to be May – November.  Chevron stripes are really in right now along with navy blue.  The first cake combines both of these trends for a very striking cake that went to the McMillian Event Center at NTC.  Weirdly enough, I had two deliveries back to back last weekend of wedding cakes that had wide burlap bands with a lace overlay.  It’s an interesting combination of delicate and rustic resulting in the “shabby chic” look which is also quite popular now.  The second cake pictured below went to the shabby chic Bandy Canyon Ranch in Escondido.  I’m also throwing in a striking cake with bands of fondant,  a small cake with some limited scroll work and finally an organic cake with real flowers on chocolate vines.

One of the things I really like about our website versus other bakeries in town is that our photo galleries are split into different areas of interest.  Most bakeries have two galleries — wedding and other.  Well, we’ve created galleries for kids cakes, sports team cakes, graduation cakes, baby shower cakes, etc.  I think it’s really helped people find examples of what they’re looking for much more easily.  I also think it helps us get more inquiries and orders.  I recently created a separate gallery for military cakes as we’d done so many of them.  After I created that gallery about a month ago, we’ve suddenly had a big increase in the number of inquiries and orders we’ve had for military themed cakes.  It made me appreciate how much those separate galleries do help.  So here are four military cakes we’ve done in the last month.  The first went to the Amphibious Base on Coronado Island for a changeover in command service.  The last three are for folks retiring from their military careers.  You can click on any of these to see a larger image.  And in case you didn’t know, “Fair Winds and Following Seas” is the standard Navy slang for farewell and a wish for smooth sailing ahead.  As for the cake with the horse head, apparently Randy had a standard joke that he opened every talk he gave with:  A horse walks into a bar and the bartender says “Hey, why the long face?”  Hopefully Randy retires that joke along with his military career!

       

What else have we been busy with?  It’s graduation time, so graduation cakes are all the rage right now.  Here are two we’ve done recently — both for SDSU grads.  One previously served in the Marines and went to SDSU on the GI Bill.  The second is for a woman who’s loved Ariel, a.k.a. The Little Mermaid, since she was a little girl.  You can click on either image to see a larger one.

  

What else have we been busy with?  Unlike graduation time which is seasonal, all year is the season for kid’s cakes.  First up is an “awesome” lego block cake with a tube of crazy glue.  I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing the Lego Movie with obsessed 5 year olds, but apparently the crazy glue / lego combination makes sense if you’ve seen it.  There’s also an adorable puppy playing by a rainbow cake, a cute panda holding some balloons, a sweet (literally and figuratively) tiered cake with a strawberry theme and finally another rainbow cake.  I guess rainbows are making a comeback.   Rainbows:  They’re not just for gay liberation anymore!!  Click on any image to see a large one.

  

     

What else are we busy with?  Random orders!  Here’s some cakes for a bridal shower with a Nightmare Before Christmas theme (hopefully the wedding isn’t scheduled for right before Christmas.  Otherwise the hostess may be sending a not too subtle message to the bride about her opinion of the bride’s fiancé).   Then there’s a tiered cake featuring waves and sandals a woman from Indiana ordered for a birthday they’d be celebrating with family while vacationing here in America’s Finest City.  Then we have a groom’s cake for a Star Trek fan, a Rolex Watch face and a Corgi Face for a woman who loves her best friend.

    

Well, that about covers it for some of the highlights for the last month.  Again, if you’re interested in a cake like one of the above, you should contact us 3 weeks in advance or more.  I’ve owned Twiggs for 17 years and this is by far the busiest we’ve been in those 17 years.  I’m a little amazed and a lot proud of what Twiggs has become.  So thanks to all of you who’ve trusted us with cakes celebrating everything from your wedding to your kid’s first birthday.  I’m extremely grateful for all the business we have now — even if it is a tad overwhelming at times.  Busy is good.  Thanks from Bernie, me and all the folks you help keep viably employed.  Now I’ve got to get back to decorating some cakes!!

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

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