A Jack of all trades . . .

A couple of years ago I spent a fabulous 3 days at IPPA in Salt Lake City soaking up the knowledge base of master photographers.  The presentations were all so uplifting and inspiring, but one workshop really resonated with me.  The title of the workshop was “A Jack of All Trades, a Master of Photography”.  The speaker impressed us all with the things he was building to create an outdoor studio environment in his studio.  He had built a cobblestone wall on one side of his tool shed, a brick wall with ivy climbing and curling around it on the other side, and even the front door to the tool shed had an antique looking white picket fence and old rustic door.  It was incredible that within the 1/2 acre of his studio, he had more backdrops and scenes than I can find in downtown Brigham City.  He was handy with a hammer, and even more incredible with his camera!

Lately, I have run across the challenge of offering a custom cake for my Birthday Smash Sessions.  All the cake decorators I had met and used are great cake decorators, and I have used them each for birthday cakes in my family.  The problem I ran across was that in order to get the cake picked up from my decorator and delivered to my studio (between 5 and 10 miles distance) in one upright piece proved very difficult, and on a few occasions, impossible.  The last event forced me to make a quick run to the Smith’s Bakery for a very non-custom cake.    Let me add that the cake decorator worked wonderfully with me to make sure that I wasn’t charged for the cake that didn’t make it to the studio, and of course she felt terrible about it.
When I had need of another cake, I contemplated what I needed from a cake that was going to be smashed to crumbs within 10 minutes of being presented to a one year old birthday boy.  It needed to be cute for 10 minutes.  It didn’t need to cost me a lot of money, and it needed to survive travel to the studio.  I didn’t need fondant or anything that would make it difficult for a baby to dig into.
My first cake decorator had shown me a pan she had purchased at Walmart that was in the shape of a giant cupcake.  I’ve frosted cakes from a shaped pan before, and it wouldn’t win any Food Network Challenge, but it looked pretty enough to last me 10 minutes.  I bought the pan, 2 cake mixes and some frosting with sprinkles to match the balloons, brought it all home and went to work in the kitchen.  I greased and floured the pans a lot . . . didn’t want the cake to stick at all!  It all came out so great.  I frosted it, worked carefully to shape the top to match the shape of the pan top, and sprinkled on the sprinkles!  Travel to the studio . . . I picked it up, walked it down 15 steps and voila safe arrival into the studio!  I saved money, and stress, and the cake was so cute!
Our poor sweet one year old wasn’t feeling good during our session and hardly got messy at all.  I popped the cake in the freezer, booked a reshoot for just the cake smash and pulled it out tonight to be ready to be smashed tomorrow!
So I guess I’ve added a “trade” to my list of trades.  Will I ever make a wedding cake, or a custom birthday cake?  Will I ever buy fondant? NO!  I’ll still use my current cake decorators for my other cake needs, but in this case it just worked out for me to be able to whip up a cake, buy pre-made frosting, and provide a service to my clients.  Mom thought it was adorable, and my kids enjoyed eating the extra cake it made.  I even had a sampling, and it tasted great!
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