Sweet Julias’s Blog

Cookies, Cakes, and More…

What type of flowers will you put on your wedding cake? July 15, 2009

Filed under: Introduction,The Learning Center,Wedding Photos — sweetjulias @ 4:21 pm
Flowers by Catherine Walther

Flowers by Catherine Walther

Flowers are used in almost every wedding to accent and enhance the décor of your wedding day.  Flowers can be fun and sassy or elegant and formal.  When choosing flowers for your wedding cake you have a choice in the type of flowers you use at Sweet Julia’s.

 If you choose to have fresh flowers on your cake you should keep a couple of things in mind.  First, make sure that you ask your florist for organic, pesticide free flowers.  Sometimes flowers have direct contact with your cake and you do not want anything fresh-flowers-arranged-by-Sto transfer to the cake.  Second, make sure you choose flowers that will not wilt or loose their blooms easily.  The wedding cake is often standing for several hours before being cut.  It is important that your flowers look as fresh as your cake until it is cut.   Lastly, it is imperative that you look for blooms that are non-toxic.  There are many sites that can give you a list of non-toxic flowers.  We will provide you with a partial list when you come in for a tasting.  We do not charge for arranging fresh flowers on your cake for you.  However, if you prefer, we will work directly with the florist to ensure they place the flowers according to our plan. 


Photo by The Gallery, Gumpaste Gardenia

Another option that you have  for your cake is to use gumpaste flowers.  Gumpaste is a moldable sugar product that is often used to create beautiful life-like displays of flowers for cakes.  While gumpaste flowers are technically edible they most often contain wires that prevent you from actually consuming them. 



Your gumpaste flowers will stay beautiful and fresh looking until your 50th wedding anniversary provided you respect their fragile nature when storing. 

Another fantastic aspect of gumpaste flowers is that we can tweak them to fit your décor if needed.  For instance, perhaps you want a purple flower but can not find one in the size and shape you want in nature.  purple-fantasy-flower-reallNever fear, through the innate license of creativity we can adapt any flower to fit into your vision. 

Of course, we can also replicate the beauty of flowers in their natural state if you prefer!


Some of the flowers we can provide are listed below.   However, the flowers we can create are limited only by your imagination….green-hydrangea

Hydrangeas, Roses, Peonies, Magnolias, Gardenias, Daisies, Frangipani,  Calla Lilies, and many more.



Wedding Cake photo shoot/safari… May 7, 2009

Filed under: The Learning Center,Wedding Photos — sweetjulias @ 10:17 pm

Ok, the pictures from The Gallery are so awesome!  I was definitely right—photographers take waaay  better pictures of my cakes than I do.  Sandra came to my home to look at the cakes and find suitable light one beautiful morning.  Finding none…we decided to take a road trip and boy was it a trip!


This cake would serve 173 as shown.  The second tier is 6″ high while the others are a standard 4″ height.  This cake would serve 173 as shown.  The handsweet-julias_-10made gumpaste flowers are gardenias, my favorite flower by far.  The piped on flowers are actually an edible, bendable icing that you pipe flat, let dry, and then place on the cake where ever you like.  This is a great technique for words or really intricate designs. 





From the biggest cake to the smallest cake, this lovely little black and white number would serve 53 as shown.  Repeating patterns on this casweet-julias_-15ke are piped directly on the side of the cake and then accented with hand-cut fondant leaves.  Black and white not your thing?  What about Carolina Blue piping…or what about chocolate and blue….I’ll bet it would be stunning.

Are you looking to economize but still want a beautiful cake? Consider using a small cake like this one for your photography needs and then serving the remaining guests from our delicious kitchen cakes.  They are the same great taste as the main cake, but they cost much less.  Our kitchen cakes are 4″ high and are iced in the same base color as your main cake.  Best of all they are priced at a flat rate of only $2.00 per serving.  We respectfully ask that you only serve our sheet cakes in order to preserve our good name…not all cakes are created equal!





June is a lovely time for a wedding with all of the beautiful weather and freshly blooming flowers.  But September and October are rapidlysweet-julias_-19 catching up to June for wedding popularity.  The weather in October is mild and refreshing and the leaves are beautiful.  Sandra had the wonderful idea of contrasting the stunning fall colors on this cake with the lush ivy background.  The leaves, branches, and roses are all handmade from gumpaste by yours truly.  This cake has just a touch of ivory in the base color to compliment the natural look of the leaves and roses. sweet-julias_-22

As shown this cake will serve 134.  Did anyone ever tell you that square cakes cost more?  It is true…they cost more…because there is more cake (the corners!).  But that is the only reason! 





At the Southern Bridal Show and Expo the most popular cake in our booth (aside from the sushi cake) was without a doubt this beautiful chocolate and blue cake.   This is cake is fun and modern, with a little touch of bling to catch your eye! 

This cake is covered in yummy chocolate fondant, edible hand-rolled pearls. It would serve 158 guests as shown.  Sandra and I walked out to the middle of a field with this (heavy!) cake to find the perfect spot.  And I have to tell you…I think she picked just the right one.  The beautiful grasses and blue sky are perfect for this cake.



Last on the line up for our photo safari was this very natural and organic square cake.  For this cake we really wanted to capture the nature elements of the stream.  Of course there wersweet-julias_-30e no beachy areas on the side of the creek WE were on.  So I rolled up my pants and braved the mucky mud carrying a 30lb cake (plus stand) to place the cake in just the right spot.  Sadly for Sandra, she too had to brave the ice cold water to get the right angles…  I have to say though I think our efforts were not wasted, the pictures are wonderful. 

This cake serves 74 and allows you another great opportunity to utilize our kitchen cakes to supplement your cake servings.  Have you heard about using Styrofoam cakes as a way to economize?  It might not save you as much as you would think.  The reason for this is that the majority of the cost in a wedding cake comes from the sweet-julias_-27time, effort, and skill involved in creating your perfect design.  If a cake costs $5.00 a serving in regular cake, we could charge 80% of that, or $4.00 a serving, to replace the tier with a Styrofoam cake.  So often a kitchen cake will be the more economical way to go.


The piping and flowers on this cake are made from fondant.  Did you know that often we can replicate deisgn in either buttercream or fondant?  The exception to that are things that need to stand up or maintain their shape like the flowers on this cake.  you can Also use fondant or fabric ribbon to wrap around the cake.  The center ribbon on this cake takes popular design and gives it a unique twist.

Well, that is all I have to show you of the pictures here.  Be sure to check out our wedding cake gallery on the main web page though, I will add more of the pictures from our excursion. 


Southern Bridal Show and Expo… May 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — sweetjulias @ 1:52 pm

All I can say is WOW!  We had so much FUN at the Southern Bridal Show and Expo on April 19th. 



We have finally enough time to post some pictures for you to see our booth.   The show had over 500 registered brides, not counting all of the groom’s and guests they brought with them. 


We served over 800 samples and we RAN OUT an hour before the show was over.   We offered dark chocolate cake with chocolate ganache filling and a butter cake with fresh strawberry filling.   





The most popular cakes we had on display were the 2003_02170003

Sushi Cake (entirely edible) and the Blue and Brown cake.   The Sushi cake is a great example of how fun a Groom’s cake can be at your wedding.  The groom’s cake is typically something the groom really loves; golf, football teams, and cars are very popular.



My sister and husband came to the show to help talk to brides and boy am I so GLAD they did! 







I am sure I was not able to talk to everyone so I am thankful that they were there to speak to the others.  We were all so exhausted at the end of the day that we were all in bed by 9pm (after having fallen asleep on the couch ;)!


If you were at the show and were not able to sign up for a tasting at that time, please contact us and we will gladly schedule your tasting.  Tastings and consultations are free to those requiring a cake to serve 50 or more guests.  Consultations (with no tasting) are always free.  Please note that it is generally a good idea to book your cake 6-8 months in advance as the number of weddings we book each weekend are limited.


Keep an eye out for our next blog..we went on a photogrpahy safari with our wedding show cakes with professional photographer Sandra Gall owner of The Gallery.  I never knew photography could be so much fun!  Sandra said it was nice that the cakes always smiled when she wanted them to and never wiggled!


What to check for when choosing a cake designer. April 13, 2009

Filed under: Introduction,The Learning Center,Wedding Photos — sweetjulias @ 1:12 pm
A couple of weeks ago I received a call late Saturday afternoon as my husband and I were relaxing on the deck.  I gave my normal spiel “We are not a retail store front, all of our cakes are custom made to your order and we do not have any cakes for emergencies or last minute orders. Thank you so much for calling”.
Then I heard a rather frantic young lady say “Do you do “omigod I can’t believe I bought this cake I have to take it to the party in 3 hours and I am so embarrassed”, please can you help me…”

Hmmm, sounds interesting….Apparently this lady bought her cake from someone that said she “does cakes”.  Now, I too started out “doing cakes” for friends and family, I understand how it works.  Once I made a Thomas cake for my then 3 year old son…let’s just say it is a sad affair when a 3 year old does not recognize a Thomas cake for what it is!

At any rate, the cake was not all all what the young lady expected and certainly not up to professional cake standards.  It reminded me of the Cake Wrecks Blog in a sad, it’s real kind of way.  I would never begrudge someone the practice of making a cake for someone, as long as the recipient is informed in advance of the skill level of the decorator.

So I helped repair the cake as she and her companion watched.  We talked about the important things one should inquire about when buying a cake… Most importantly in her cake would have been pictures of prior cakes.  This would have given her an idea of the skill level and a leg to stand on when she asked “What in the world is that cake supposed to be”? 

In North Carolina bakers are allowed to bake from their home as long as a few rules are followed.  One, there must be an inspection by the Department of Agriculture.  These are the same inspectors that inspect bakeries at the grocery stores; we just do not get a number rating.  The inspector looked in my cabinets, checked my lights for safety bulbs, made sure that I do not have any pets, and checked to make sure my food and cleaning supplies were stored separately and properly.  Secondly, all food must be labeled with full disclosure labeling (for allergens).  And lastly, all of the items I produced are not allowed to require refrigeration.  So things like pies and cheesecakes are out.

Another indication of a serious baker is proof of insurance.  I carry a liability policy to cover both me and my clients in the event of an issue.  This policy is not cheap, trust me, so most hobby bakers do not carry insurance.  For weddings I require a contract that is signed by me and the client.  This covers both of us in the event of an issue as well.  Last summer I helped two brides that could not get in touch with their decorator a month before their wedding.  Luckily I had availability, but that is often not the case.  I would imagine trying to find another decorator in August would be a very stressful event.

So remember… check your decorators portfolio, ask about the licensing and insurance policies, and make sure you sign a contract to avoid those late Saturday afternoon calls…I might be at the beach next time!





Shhh! Want to know a secret about party cakes??? March 27, 2009

I LOVE to do children’s birthday cakes!  I have so much fun imagining how excited the child will be when they see their special birthday cake.  I love the bright colors and fun designs that are incorporated into children’s cakes.   I am always honored to be asked to participate in a couples’ wedding, but childrens’ birthdays hold a special place in my heart!


A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of making a cake for Ellie who turned 3.  Ellie was having a pizza party and wanted a pink cake.  Her mom asked if I could make anything out of that…Sure! I said.  Here is what I came up with for little Ellie…a Pretty in Pink Pizza Party.


The cake is a delicious dark chocolate cake covered in ruffled buttercream and a fondant tablecloth.  Each of the little plates and pieces of pizza were handmade by yours truly.  The mozzarella pieces were individually cut and applied with tweezers just so. 





The birthday cake was dusted with a shimmery pink edible color and painted with a edible gold.  Everything you see on this cake is edible, although the pieces may get a little hard during the drying process.  If you choose not to eat the molded pieces you can keep them for a very long time….









I also made a cute soccer cake for McKenzie….the soccer ball on top is covered with marshmallow fondant and the grass is buttercream.  This soccer ball can be made into an complete 3D soccer ball that would serve aproximately 10 children.  Inside McKenzie asked for a moist butter cake, our most popular flavor. 









An afternoon baby shower was the perfect scene for this stacked box cake.   The cake is our moist butter cake and they are filled with freshly made seedless raspberry buttercream.  The cakes are covered with buttercream and topped with fondant lids and bow.  The baby booties are made from gumpaste.


Now Accepting Visa and Mastercard! March 24, 2009

I just wanted to let you all know that we are now accepting Visa and Mastercard in addition to checks and cash.

Phone orders will pay a 50% deposit with Credit card and then cash or Credit Card at pickup for the remaining balance.  Failure to pickup cake will result in credit card being charge the remaining balance.  Wedding cakes and those over $150.oo will pay balance 30 days in advance of event.  Deposits to reserve dates are 50% of the balance of order.



See you at the Southern Bridal Show and Expo! March 19, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized,Wedding Photos — sweetjulias @ 7:44 pm

We will be participating in the Southern Bridal Show and Expo on April 19th from 12:00-5:00pm.   This event is held in the Jim Graham building of  the North Carolina Fairgrounds.   We will have displays, brochures, and YUMMY samples for you!  At the show you can register for door prizes from many of the vendors. 

Be sure to vote in our poll so we know what samples you would love to try.

See you there!