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.



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!





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.



Wedding Professionals and New Friends February 5, 2009

Filed under: Introduction,Uncategorized,Wedding Photos — sweetjulias @ 4:47 pm
Wow!  What a banner first week we had!  We want to send a shout out to our very first Raleigh customer Cathleen over at Coyote Logistics!  We are glad you all enjoyed your cupcakes last week (and the ones from this week, must have been good!).
We have also scheduled a bunch of free tastings and consultations for weddings this year.  Remember, 3-6 months out is the perfect time to book your wedding cake.  The honor of our first Raleigh bride and groom goes to Kristen and Chris who will be getting married in July 2009.


We are also proud to be a sponsor for the Wakefield High School’s Spring Talent show to be held Saturday February 14th, 2009 from 1-4pm. 

We are donating lots of yummy treats for the intermission snacks (cupcakes, cookies, chocolate covered treats, mmmm!). This Talent show will benefit the Stop Hunger Now Organization, so be sure to support your local students as they do their part to Stop Hunger Now.


I also attended a wedding professional’s luncheon hosted by Perfect Wedding Guide.  We enjoyed a wonderful salad and bread pudding from the Embassy Suites Cafe and discussed how to make ourselves more approachable in new situations.  I also met a bunch a fantastic wedding vendors.  I met the lovely Sandra Gall  of  The Gallery  check out her Soul Searching gallery…it is stunning.  I also spoke with wedding planner Makia Walls who will help you with all those details you never knew existed at Simply Elegant Events.  And if you are looking for personalized invitations, look no further than Galanova.  These are just a few of the professionals we met at the luncheon, please ask for referrals if you need them.

We would like to extend a great big cyber Thank You to Raleigh for the warm welcome!  We are excited to be here and hope to hear from you soon.







Is there life beyond vanilla cake? January 7, 2009

So I know you are saying…”Julia, I have read over your extensive list of flavors (found here) and I am more confused now that ever”!  Don’t worry, you can have them all…. uhm well no, I guess that won’t work.  Okay since you asked so desperately, I will try to narrow it down to my top 5, uhm 10, er 11 favorites.  Cake is really a mix and match type deal… be creative, explore a little: it’s fun.


A word of advice, if I may, while you may absolutely LOVE chocolate cake with lemon curd…chances are the majority of your guests will not.  So consider choosing more than one flavor combination for your cake.  A minimal charge of $15 is added for each additional flavor combination, but this way you get your cake and your guests will eat it too!


Drum Roll please……Our most popular cake is…

            Butter cake with Vanilla American Buttercream….

I believe the popularity of this cake stems from the fact that this cake reminds people of why they love cake.  This is a velvety moist cake with a rich creamy buttercream that tastes like home.  This cake is popular with both the wedding and birthday crowds.


Our most popular grown-up type cake (especially for Groom’s cakes) is:

Chocolate Heaven: A rich dark chocolate cake filled with dark chocolate ganache and raspberry filling, topped with the most fabulous dark chocolate ganache buttercream.



More Combinations


First things first Julia, where are You?? January 6, 2009

We operate our bakery out of our licensed and insured home kitchen in Raleigh, NC.  You can rest assured that your bakery items come from a pet-free, smoke-free environment.   We are inspected by the NC Dept of Agriculture before we accept orders and randomly at their discretion.  Some venues require proof of inspection and proof of insurance at time of delivery, please let us know if this is the case for your venue.

We are physically located in Wake Forest (specific address provided when making appointments) but we serve Raleigh and surrounding areas.  If you are not sure of our delivery coverage area, just ask.  We are very flexible and try to be as accomodating as possible.  Most often, the only limiting factor on our delivery area are previously scheduled deliveries.


We’re moving to Raleigh!!

Filed under: Introduction,Party Cakes,Wedding Photos — sweetjulias @ 6:59 pm

We are pleased to report that we will be moving to Raleigh, NC (specifically Wake Forest) in January 2009. 

We will be returning to the Asheville area on the following dates.  If your event is on one of these dates, give us a shout and we may be able to fit you in the schedule.

                      May 2, 2009                  Completely Booked

                      May 23, 2009                One spot available

                      June 6th, 2009              Completely Booked

                      October 17th, 2009     One spot available

We expect to be inspected and insured by the first week or so of February.   After that we will begin scheduling tasting appoinments and events.  Also, you will find us at the Forever Bridal Show on April 19th, 2009.  More on that to come…