Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Piece of Cake - A New York Cake Baker Extraordinaire

 You know what I like even more then cake?
No. Really. It's possible.
Someone who is brash, and can answer a question all while being witty and real. 

I want to introduce you to someone who can create a mean cake and who can answer my 20 questions like a piece of cake.
Why when I'm trying to be witty it comes out lame? Damn. Lame?
Who uses that word anymore?!

Some of you may have seen this post I wrote a little while back on service and selling. I think that the person selling the service and product is just as important as what they are selling. I want to showcase that. The passion behind the product.
The face behind the brand.

She studied in Paris France and has worked with the iconic chef's at Wolfgang Puck. 
She eats pastries for breakfast and makes a cake look too good to eat - literally.
1/3 baker, 1/3 sculptor and 1/3 artist.
I'm pretty sure she could give Sylvia Weinstock a serious run for her money.
Actually, I'm sure of it. 

Her name is Lindsey and she is the face, spirit and entrepreneur behind the name and cake - Elegantly Iced.

This being my first 'spotlight vendor', I didn't know really what to think.
Who would take the time to answer these questions. Where they too silly? What if I am the only person who believes that people make the product? What if no one reads it?

All of the 'what if's' went right out the window when I got Lindsey's returned e-mail.
I devoured her answers, nodded in agreement, and truthfully even cringed at some.
Who knew I can relate to a baker with other then eating?  

I hope you enjoy this 'interview' as much as I did.  

1. What has been your favorite custom cake creation thus far?

Oh wow. That's impossible. All my cakes are like my children. You make them with a lot of love, do the best you can, then send them out into the world and hope they are loved by others! I think that every time I make a few cakes- let's say 5 or 6- I have a favorite from the bunch...until I make more. My new favorite spring cake is this little green one that I made for me and for my display window. I love not only sculpting (flowers and figures and such) but I've always loved hand piping. I think it's becoming a lost art in many ways. The whole base has string work around it, and then I was just so happy with the peonies and the tulips and all the Spring-y goodness!

S: Yes folks, I asked. The flowers are edible.

S: It's kinda hard to believe, right? Aaaaamazing...

2. Are you seeing any new trends for wedding cakes this year?

Texture!! Ruffles, pleats, big fabric flowers, imprinted patterns- it's all the rage right now with almost all my brides!

3. What is your most requested flavor combination, what is your favorite flavor?

It's so funny- about 2 months ago hands down I would have told you my most popular was my "Lemon Framboise" which is a Lemon Pound Cake with a Framboise soak, fresh raspberry preserves and lemon buttercream. All of a sudden though, everyone has just shifted and they're all asking for my White Vanilla-Bean cake with a rum soak and Dulce de leche buttercream. For whatever reason, people tend to pick the same flavor in groups, then a few months go by and they all switch to something else.

My favorite is quite simply cake! Whatever is around that I can eat for my breakfast in the mornings is my favorite for the day!

4. From your first consultation to delivery, how many hours are spend on your custom cakes?

Ooh. That's so hard to say, because each cake is a completely custom and unique creation. The time it takes all vary greatly on the complexity of the designs. If a cake is dripping with flowers and has a ton of detail it can take days and days to sculpt, paint, bake, shape and decorate. Then again if you want something that's "simple and clean" looking, it can take a lot of time to make sure that all those bare surfaces of your cake look absolutely flawless, too.

I would "guesstimate" that on average most cakes take between 45 and 75 hours. Sculpted cakes- ones that look like a giant Blackberry or a real car- can take well over 100 hours though!

S : My personal fave is below...
Dramatic and glamorous. And. You. Can. EAT. IT.

S : Again, these are REAL flowers - every petal and stem.
S T U N N I N G !

S: Having a nautical or beach-y wedding theme.
You need this cake!

5. I find being a photographer, life gets so busy with my clients that I have a hard time carving out time to photograph my own family. Do you cook or ever bake for yourself? If so, what are your favorite meals/desserts)?

Well, it's definitely true that I don't get the chance to make things for myself that often, and when I do I usually cook whatever I've had time to get from the farmer's market more than I bake.

If I've got the time I tend to fall back on my French background. I love to make rich buttery and creamy sauces, and anything with cheese! Generally if it's dessert at home it involves puff pastry somehow.

About you...

6. The last song you couldn't get out of your head?

Hmm. I tend to be very fickle with my music- I listen to everything under the sun. My latest intern just asked me what the deal was with all the music because she never heard the same type of music in the shop twice. I've been on a bit of an Indie kick lately, so I think it's a tie between "Sweet Disposition" by The Temper Trap or "Help I'm Alive" by Metric.

7. What three adjectives would your references use to describe you?

Passionate. Driven. Meticulous.

8. A blog you read most often?

Cake Wrecks! It makes me chuckle every day.

9. What is one thing you find yourself doing that you said you'd "never" do.

lol. I have become my mother.

10. Tell me about your most favorite picture (what/who/where/when was it taken)?

My most favorite picture in the whole wide world is of my Grandmother. She's the person who's responsible for not only teaching me about baking and given me my love of flowers, but also where I
inherited my never-contented sweet tooth.

Before she had kids, she worked as a recipe tester for both McCall"s and Women's Day magazines. I have this amazing black and white photo of her at work in the test kitchen. The thing is though, it's from the 50's, so the kitchen doesn't look anything like an industrial kitchen. It looks like a perfect little home kitchen. Even better though, she is wearing this perfect little white dress- belted at the waist and then with a big flared skirt- and HIGH HEELS!! It's crazy and wonderful all at the same time; so far removed from what I've ever worked in as a woman in the food industry today. The aprons that I make and wear now are both in homage to her, as well as being the closest I could ever come to working like that!

S: I about died when I read that answer above. It was so sentimental and nostalgic. Loved it!

Annnd last but certainly not least. I always said that if I ever did an interview I would include these questions...and you know what, it's my blog so I'm doing it just because I can. ; )When I first heard these questions, I thought they were brilliant. It feel it gives you so much insight into the person. Silly yes, but so thought provoking. The questionnaire concept was originated by French television personality Bernard Pivot , after the Proust Questionnaire. Then in 1994 James Lipton, used them for his series
"Inside the Actors Studio."

I love that you're asking these questions. I'm a big fan of them, too...though it's so hard to pick just one answer!!

11. What is your favorite word? Conundrum. ....or persnickety......or shenanigan's.
12. What is your least favorite word? I'm sorry. It's hideous. I hate even typing it. Vagina.

S: hahaha, great answer. That's the answer I cringed on. I hate it too. I even thought of pulling the question cause I hate the word so much. I know. Weird. But then I thought, there has to be more of us that feel the same way, right? I remember watching Grey's Anatomy when they referred to it as 'va-jay-jay'. I think most people would agree that sounds better. : ) 

13. What turns you on? Creativity and intelligence.
14. What turns you off? Whining and willful ignorance.
15. What sound or noise do you love? Unabashed, sudden bursts of laughter.
16. What sound or noise do you hate? An animal suffering in any way.
17. What is your favorite curse word? Fuck.

18. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Probably a fashion designer, or anything where I got to travel for a living. If time were also not an issue, I would absolutely be a 1920's lounge singer.

19. What profession would you not like to do? There are so many. I guess tops would be anything where I have to sit at a desk and not create anything all day long.

20. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Finally! I need a hand with something...."

Thank you Lindsey for going above and beyond for this interview. 
I loved learning about you and your craft.
I loved being able to showcase you and your whimsical, delightful work.
I loved hearing your story and what makes you, you.

Thank you for taking the time to do this.
Thank you for answering so truthfully and honest.
Thank you for putting your heart and soul into the most beautiful creations I have ever seen.
Oh, and I think I should thank one more person...your Grandma.


Visit 'Elegantly Iced'  here.


To read an interview with Sylvia Weinstock click here.
To see Sylvia's work click here.
I think you'll agree with me, that Lindsey's work is up to par and she does a waaay better interview! : ) 


Anonymous said...

OMG - loved how real and personal the interview was. What a talented woman. Wow. Loved the eye candy and words!

Elizabeth said...

Very cool! What a work of art. Now, I need to start working on my fiance so we can have a cake like that on our big day!