Like a lot of cake & cookie artists, my professional background had absolutely nothing to do with art or baking. I came from 20 years as an executive assistant/analyst in Los Angeles and New York; and although I’ve always been an artist in some form I thought I’d eventually resent turning my passion into my income source.
Photography has been my primary artistic outlet since high school but I also paint, draw, refinish furniture and dabble in various forms of design. But baking… terrified me and occasionally still does. I've come to realize that artistic baking is like being a mad scientist and engineer. I am always testing the reactions of new ingredients to make a recipe "behave" and I'm constantly having to figure out how to construct things like cake toppers, sugar flowers, cake layers and 3-dimensional details on cookies to make them structurally sound. However, being a creative, obsessive, perfectionist means that you mess up a LOT (which I do) during the learning process. And the learning phase is never complete.
Bakery art was never on my radar of "things to try," I only found myself on this particular career path by way of dumb luck. Long story short, my daughter’s 4th birthday party had a LOT of last minute RSVPs and the custom ladybug cake I ordered was definitely not big enough. So I spent a small fortune at Michaels, lost two nights of sleep and my sanity to make ladybug cupcakes. As exhausting and frustrating as it was, I loved every second of it.
After that, I trolled Pinterest researching various forms of cake art. I quickly discovered and became obsessed with the art of sugar flowers and decided: I'm going to learn to make gumpaste and learn how to do this. I had never even baked a cake! Seriously, who learns to make realistic sugar flowers before learning to bake? But my mom is like a chemist in the kitchen and she helped me develop a gumpaste recipe that allowed me to practice (and practice, and practice).
As the end of the school year approached, my daughter asked if I could bake pencil cookies for her classmates. I don't know what I was thinking when I said, "Suuuuure, I can do that!" And then it occured to me: I should probably learn to bake. So I did but instead of cake, I started with sugar cookies. This is the first pencil cookie I ever made, it's actually the first set I ever made, and also the most recent pencil cookie. If anyone thinks this is a naturally occuring skill, it isn't. Practice really does make progress.
It didn't take long to grow my passion for cookie art although recipe development didn't happen quite so easily. They say you eat with your eyes first but the taste of a designer cookie should strengthen the overall quality, not leave a customer questioning their purchase. It took us (my mom and I) over a year and a half to tweak our cookie & royal icing recipes to achieve the perfect balance of softness and stability. I would never let anything leave our kitchen if I thought I'd be unhappy as the buyer and I would certainly never put my name on anything of which I wasn't proud. My hope is that my customers will experience all the love, hard work and determination that has gone into making their cookies special.