I’m Not Baking Cakes Anymore

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I’m not baking cakes anymore. Here’s the short version: my true passion is baking sugar cookies.

Here is the long version: As a teenager, I remember watching cake challenges on Food Network, and that sparked my interest in cake decorating, and everything you could do with a cake. I would bake cakes for my family’s birthdays, and with practice, my cakes started improving. Now I loved baking in the kitchen with my mom. I learned how to make chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodle cookies, peanut butter cookies, and of course sugar cookies. Her sugar cookies were my favorite, and I loved decorating them with her. My mom is a very kind, and humble individual. She does have a lot of pride in her family, and would always brag to others about my cookie decorating skills.

In 2013 I officially started my dessert business called “Chromatic Cakes and Desserts”. I set up a website on GoDaddy and I offered tiered/fondant cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, sugar cookies, macarons, even brownies and chocolate covered strawberries! A bit much for a home baker, don’t cha think? Well at the time, I didn’t think so. I was happy to have an array of dessert options for my clientele. I remember meeting up with a baker from Northern California who baked cupcakes, and she asked me, “Why don’t you just choose one dessert to focus on?” (Great advice-I just didn’t take it until years later). My initial thought was, focusing on only one dessert is going to be boring. So I continued to bake almost everything. Cakes were the toughest for me. Cakes have so many variables that people may not realize, and a “Pinterest perfect” cake is not the reality.

I would accept about 95% of my cake orders-so basically I was saying yes to the majority of my cake requests, only turning down people if I was out of town, or had a previous engagement. The thing that I wasn’t very fond of is when people would send me screenshots of these gorgeous meticulously designed cakes found on Pinterest. On one hand, I was tickled pink that they had faith in me that I could attempt to replicate said cake, on the other hand, I wish they knew how much work really went into constructing the cake, and the hours of concentration required to create such a masterpiece. I also didn’t just want to copy someone else’s work.

I would do my best to deliver an exceptional cake, but as I am a perfectionist, I would be very critical about my cakes, and oftentimes not be proud of the cakes I made. Baking cakes was actually quite stressful for me. My mom can attest to how many late nights and kitchen mess disasters that would accompany a cake order. My biggest issues with cake making was the fondant tearing, the cake bulging (from weight of the fondant), and the temperature. Growing up I lived in Southern California, specifically in East County in a home that did not have central air conditioning, nor did it have central heating. So trying to control the environment was very difficult, and oftentimes the cakes did not react well.

Another stress factor was delivering  the cakes. Yes I took on the responsibility of delivering my cakes as well. Most times I was by myself so trying to deliver a cake without it toppling over in the car while driving/navigating to an unfamiliar location was extra nerve-wracking.

I strive to meet new challenges and will inherently want to try all things presented to me even if I am not the best at it. I will keep trying until I find out how to master it. So for about seven years, I kept working at something I truly didn’t love doing. 2019 was a nice break for me because I only took a few orders due to my house hunting and wedding planning with B. I am grateful for the hiatus because it allowed me to regroup and take a step back. I had feedback from a few people telling me that they hoped I wasn’t done with my cookie business. This was very encouraging to me because I was majorly burnt out. I was considering throwing in the towel altogether

(which is rare for me because I HATE quitting). Those few voices cheering me on was the spark I needed to restart the fire.

Finally it dawned on me: I AM MY OWN BOSS. If I don’t want to make cakes, I don’t have to! If I want to combine blogging + cookie business together, I can! This was so freeing to me. I can also set limits and boundaries that work for ME. I used to say yes to 200+ cookie orders and that is just not reasonable for baking in a home kitchen. Plus I still have a full time job, so I need to have some balance in my life.

Sugar cookies have always been my favorite thing to bake. I love the various cookie cutter shapes, the design options, creating little edible pieces of art, it is just so fun and rewarding for me. I also like sugar cookies because they are much easier to control than baking a multi-tiered fondant cake. Yes there are nuances and variables with sugar cookies just like cakes, but I have come to easily recognize what methods do and don’t work. I love sugar cookies because each cookie is a canvas to decorate. The more cookies you make,the more they turn into a beautiful display of eye catching work.

Now don’t get me wrong. I enjoy baking cakes- but on my terms. No fondant, no Pinterest expectations. If I want to bake a cake once a year, I will. If you are looking for a beautifully decorated cake, there are several talented and deserving home bakers out there, and also small bakeries that would happily create your ideal cake. I will gladly make sugar cookies and be content with that.

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