Part 1: Interview with Professional Cake Baker Anne Heap, owner of Pink Cake Box
Cakespy: You mention that growing up, your mother was a great source of baking inspiration. What recipes or cakes were special in your childhood?
CS: You left a job in advertising to pursue your dream of baking.
CS: How did this decision come about?
AH: While working in advertising, I started selling cookies and brownies to a local gourmet shop. They sold really well - so I decided to sign up for an amateur class at the French Culinary Institute. When I went for a tour, I fell in love, signed up for the professional pastry arts program....and quit my job the next week! It was definitely a leap - but I'm so happy that I did!
CS: Is Pink Cake box open to the public, or by appointment only?
AH: We're by appointment only. Customers come in for tastings and consultations.
CS: How is running a cake business different than you might have expected?
CS: How has running a cake business changed how you look at cake?
AH: I don't look at it as dessert anymore - that's for sure! It's much more than that....a centerpiece, a sculpture...a piece of art.
CS: Other than cake, what other types of goodies do you make at Pink Cake Box?
CS: You've done some pretty unusual themes--like the "Rescue me" wedding cake (photo left) we read about on your blog recently. Is this a trend--brides feeling more freedom to have a more "fun" cake?
CS: What are your most popular flavors these days?
AH: Red velvet with lemon cream cheese filling, chocolate fudge cake with raspberry chambord filling and vanilla cake with hazelnut frangelico are three of our most popular flavors for weddings. Chocolate with oreos and cream or peanut butter fillings are really popular as well.
AH: The most basic and yet integral part is baking a good cake. It's so important that the cake and filling taste delicious - so our recipe development is crucial. Using quality products like Vermont butter and Belgian chocolate is also important.
CS: Here's something we've always wondered: is your "cake" handwriting when you letter a cake different than your regular handwriting (on paper etc)?
AH: My cake handwriting is the same as my regular handwriting...when I'm trying to write neatly :) When I'm writing quickly - I can' t even read my own writing sometimes!
and about you and for fun...
CS: Is cake ruined for you as a dessert since you make it so often? Or do you still enjoy eating it?
AH: No it is definitely not ruined. My favorite is red velvet - so I take a little nibble quite often!
CS: What is your favorite type of dessert?
AH: Cookies. Warm and gooey right out of the oven. Especially chocolate chip.
CS: Be honest. If you had to choose between pie and cake, and could only eat one or the other for the rest of your life, which would it be?
AH: Hands down cake. If I wanted fruit for dessert, I'd eat an apple. :)
and to cap it all off...
CS: Any advice for those wanting to pursue their own dreams and start a cake business?
AH: I'd recommend getting an internship or job at a cake shop to see the daily ongoings and what life is like owning a cake business. After that, I'd suggest doing some cakes for friends and family to get started. You can read my post on How to Get Started in a Baking Career for more info.
CS: What is next for Pink Cake Box?
AH: That's a great question! If only I knew! We'd like to start some decorating classes.....and possibly branch into retail. We'll keep you posted!
Part 2: Interview with Cake Apprentice Christine
Cakespy: You started at Pink Cake Box fairly recently. What is your job description and responsibilities?
Christine Lindstrom: At first I started out as an intern over the summer, which involved tasks that one would imagine an intern would do - I did dishes, I cut up the fifty pound block of butter, and learned the basic recipes.. etc. As time went on, having a background in fine art, I started to help decorating. I'm only at Pink Cake Box part time right now while I'm finishing my undergraduate degree in fine art at Monmouth University, so I'm mostly there on weekends. There are always so many random things to get done when I'm there, so I suppose I don't have my own set of responsibilities, but I do get to show off my artistic skill pretty often. It is definitely always a team effort though. When I'm there we're either putting the finishing touches on cakes, cupcakes or cookies before they get shipped out, or starting to make sugar pieces to go on orders for the weeks ahead. It can get pretty crazy!
CS: What is the best part of working at a cake bakery?
CS: Would you say that you eat cake more, or less, now that you work there?
CS: What was one of the most fun jobs you've worked on at Pink Cake Box?
CS: What, to you, is the coolest part of cake making?
CL: I always think it's amazing how much structure and planning goes into every cake. Back when I was starting to bake on my own, I had no idea how much goes into these beautiful creations that cake designers put out there. It was always so intimidating and exhausting to me because I would try to do everything all at once. When it comes down to it though, the most daunting projects
and about you and for fun:
CS: What are you doing when you're not decorating and making cakes?
CS: What are some of your favorite desserts?
CS: Red Velvet and Carrot cake are facing off in a barroom brawl. Who's gonna win?
and to cap it off...
CS: What are some of your ultimate baking dreams or goals?
CS: But more immediately...what are you hoping for in your easter basket?
Are you in the Denville area? Lucky you! Why not seek out your next special occasion cake at their studio (by appointment only please)? Pink Cake Box, 18 E. Main St., Ste 101, Denville; online at pinkcakebox.com.