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Wednesday
Aug142013

What a Sweet Trip it's Been: CakeSpy Timeline So Far

Sweet treats from Bakerella!

This month, CakeSpy (the website, not the author) celebrated its sixth birthday! It seemed like the right time to take stock of where I've been and where I'm going.

It was more than a little emotional for me to go through the archives and relive the CakeSpy adventure--starting the site, thinking of friends I've made, quitting my day job, opening a gallery, traveling the world on cake adventures, releasing two books...like, whoa! It is amazing to think what has happened in my life since I opened this little corner of internet real estate.

So why not come along with me for a stroll down memory lane and revisit the good (and very sweet) times we've had so far? Let's first go way, way back to 2007...

Early 2007: I was the product manager and art director at a refrigerator magnet company (it's true) called iPop. While I loved the people I worked with, I felt like I wanted to break off, do my own thing, have my own company. But what in the world would I do? 

June 2007: After reading Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin (note: this would later come full circle, when I was mentioned in the updated version of this very book!), I was inspired to look at what I really loved in life, and to start doing it. So, I had a little sit-down with myself in the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle and thought "in an ideal world, what would my job include?". The answer came to me right away: writing, illustrating, and baked goods. Now, I had no idea how this could turn into any money, much less success, but I decided to start a blog while I figured it out. Blogs were what people were starting to do, right?

I decided I would write my blog kind of like DailyCandy, a website I was writing for at the time--but on my website, it would be all sweets. Every day (or close to it) I would try to present a sweet find, be it a bakery, service, recipe, or perhaps sweet artwork. And like DailyCandy it would be punctuated by illustrations--of a little cupcake I've been drawing for years. 

I wanted a name that reflected me as a seeker of sweetness, but that wouldn't corner me into just one category. Something that would draw in possible readers who would wonder..."What's that?". It came to me after about a day: CakeSpy. I'd start my own dessert detective agency!

August 2007: On a fairly unremarkable day, I made my first posting. It was about a now-defunct (I think) Etsy seller who sold cupcakes baked in jars. I'd never witnessed such a thing at that point so I thought it was the coolest thing ever. 

September 2007: I do my first ever interview, with Jennifer Shea of Trophy Cupcakes. It's still a favorite interview of mine. It also alerted me to how interesting the world of commercial baking can be.

November 2007: I write about the history of the Pop-tart, which was one of my most popular posts to date (first time I realized more people than my immediate family were reading my site) and gets me fascinated about the secret lives of other baked goods.

Also, this is the month I open my Etsy store, selling original artwork and notecards. I ultimately change to Big Cartel.

December 2007: My first experiment post: How (not) to Ship a Cupcake, goes my version of "viral"--I get several thousand hits. I really start to think I must be on to something, since up until this point basically just my mom and co-workers are reading my website. 

January 2008: My next experiment post, and still a favorite: Rice Krispies treats made with all types of cereal.

You know you're kind of a big deal when...

March 2008: I had an art opening in Tacoma, and for the first time was "Word of the day".

I begin contributing to Taste of Home Magazine, largely thanks to my friend Sandy Ploy.

Oh no!

April 2008: A unicorn figurine prominently figures into the website for the first time, in a post about madeleines and macarons.

I quit my day job to pursue CakeSpy full time!

June 2008: I took a scooter ride in Queens and ate some cookies with the same name as my friend.

I chase a pie in Brooklyn which may or may not really exist.

July 2008: I was featured in an article about frosting shots. 

Awesomest Birthday Present EVER!

August 2008: CakeSpy turns 1 year old! Here's the post about the party.

I wrote a still-favorite post about Bonbon cookies

CakeSpy begins contributing to Serious Eats! I went on to contribute for several years. 

Sweet treats from Bakerella!

September 2008: Bakerella made cake pops that looked like Cuppie! 

CakeSpy debuts holiday card designs.

October 2008: I license my artwork to a rubber stamp company.

I meet (and fall in love with) the owners of BAKED.

#22: Feed it to a snake

November 2008: 50 Ways to Kill a Twinkie.

December 2008: The best things I ate in 2008.

January 2009: My famous cupcake street art installation makes people's day sweeter!

February 2009: My artwork is used as part of a marriage proposal!

Cookie Cake Pie

May 2009: My most popular recipe to date: Cookie Cake Pie.

August 2009: CakeSpy turns two! I celebrate by exploring the edi-mology (get it?) of the word cake.

November 2009: Important life skill: how to make marzipan turkeys.

December 2009: Best of 2009!

February 2010: CakeSpy goes to Paris. I visited one bakery in each arondissement. Here's the roundup.

March 2010: I did a mural in a bathroom in Minneapolis

CakeSpy goes retail! I purchased a gallery in Seattle and for the next two years, ran my own store. Wow! 

Spring 2010: My friend Bakerella gets a book deal!

June 2010: I made a very large cinnamon roll.

August 2010: CakeSpy turns three! 

CakeSpy featured on CNN!

October 2010: I had an amazing trip to California.

November 2010: I visited every bakery on Broadway in Manhattan, in one day.

December 2010: I sign a book deal for my first book. CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life is in the works!

Also: Best of 2010!

January 2011: I ate Pumpple!

Ask a Spy: How do I become a Superstar Dessert Blogger?

February 2011: I entered (and later on won a prize--my socks in production!) the Sock it to Me Design a Sock contest

March 2011: I am working on coloring book pages for Taste of Home magazine!

I was featured on the cover of a magazine.

April 2011: I was featured in a Brazilian newspaper.

May 2011: Did I mention I ate a whoopie pie in Maine for the first time?

June 2011: My book cover is finalized!

I visit the Wilton Headquarters in Illinois.

July 2011: I do a mural in a bathroom in Seattle.

August 2011: CakeSpy turns four! I go to Nanaimo, home of one of my favorite sweets, to celebrate.

September 2011: I take an epic road trip to Chicago and eat pastries all along the way.

Duncan Hines invites me to the Emmy Awards!

October 2011: MY FIRST BOOK COMES OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, snap!

For the party, New York Cupcakes made me the best batch of cupcakes...EVER!

Bakerella visited my store and posted about it.

November 2011: Book tour for CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life. Yes, I do meet Jay and Silent Bob on tour.

December 2011: Best of 2011!

December 2011: I get my second book deal, for The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for America's Favorite Desserts.

I'm featured on Joy the Baker's podcast!

January 2012: I run the best contest ever: So you Wanna Be a CakeSpy?

March 2012: CakeSpy attends the Pillsbury Bake-off!

Joy the Baker comes to CakeSpy shop!

June 2012: Sneak peek at book two's photo shoot! These are photos that will end up in The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for America's Favorite Desserts.

Frosting Cake

July 2012: I bake cake with frosting in it, just to see what will happen.

September 2012: After a couple of awesome years with the store, I have decided to move away from Seattle, so I close the doors. This is bittersweet, but it's time. Miss all my customers!

November 2012: I debut a magical new pin.

December 2012: Most delicious moments of 2012!

January 2013: I educate children about how to steal candy.

February 2013: I do a mural in Lewes, Delaware.

March 2013: I share my favorite buttercream recipe.

I begin contributing to Craftsy.com.

April 2013: I was hired by SILK soymilk to do this fantastic post. Love it!

May-July 2013: My second book comes out! The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for America's Favorite DessertsI go on book tour.

Book tour, part one.

Book tour, part two.

Book tour, part three.

August 2013: CakeSpy turns six! I'm hoping to start on a new book project soon. Life is good.

Thank you for making it sweet. I couldn't have done it without you, readers! 

- - - 

GIVEAWAY ALERT!!!

To thank you for your years of readership, howsabout a giveaway? To thank you for your years of readership, I have decided to give away two copies each of both of my books: CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life and The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for America's Favorite Desserts. Since I'm feeling very giving, this giveaway is open to US and international entrants.

All you have to do? Tell me your favorite thing about CakeSpy (yes, it's self-serving!). It could be a recipe, an illustration, a product, a post, or one of my books...you name it! Leave it as a comment on this post (it may not show up right away as comment moderation is enabled) and I'll choose winners. 

UPDATE! I Decided to extend the contest cos I'm having so much fun with the responses. You now have til MY birthday, August 26 (monday), 5pm PST!  

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Reader Comments (70)

My favorite thing about Cake Spy was when I got to meet Jessie at Cake Spy Shop at Joy the Baker's book signing!
August 14 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi
My favorite thing is seeing your drawings of cupcakes and other things with faces! So cute and fun!
August 14 | Unregistered CommenterJaime
I ♥♥♥♥ The illustrations!! I wish you could come mural my kitchen with all cake spy characters and themes :) would be so rad! I also love the yummy recipes :)
Smoreos!! After reading this post, I couldn't wait to make some. Lukily I had a camping trip planned and we ended up making them! They were a huge hit!

I also love my new artwork I received! I have the milk & cookie in love in Seattle in my office. It makes me smile everyday!
August 14 | Unregistered CommenterErin
I love your unapologetic affinity for all things sweet. In a world where people are obsessed with thin models and the like, it's great to see someone thoroughly enjoying the indulgent side of life like you do.
August 14 | Unregistered CommenterCourtneyFishy
My favorite thing is the Candy Corn Upside Down Cake. Still have not made it but is in my waiting list :D
August 14 | Unregistered CommenterSusana I.
My favorite thing was meeting you in person in Austin and you were just soooo personable and fun, it felt like an old friendship and I was just coming by to say hi. Plus the unicorn drawing you did in my book!
August 14 | Unregistered CommenterKendra
Congrats! What I like (and what drew me in reading your blog to begin with) were the cute baked goods illustrations. Keep up the great work!
August 14 | Unregistered Commenteremicat
My favorite thing is your baking experiments - like the leftover Halloween candy pie, the frosting cake, or any other time you decide to put your unique twist on a well-known recipe. And happy blogday!
August 14 | Unregistered CommenterNomie
Happy birthday! This blog is so inspirational :)
August 14 | Unregistered CommenterAnne-Marie
I read about your first book in a copy of an Edible Seattle. I think it was the bright pink color that drew me in and I've been reading ever since! The chocolate mudslide cookies are amazing as well.
August 14 | Unregistered CommenterLynn
Cuppie is irresistible but what made me stick around is that you're not snobby about your sweets. Yummy is yummy whether it's gluten-free, organic, or a cake mix.
August 14 | Unregistered CommenterKellyGirl
My favorite thing is all of your Serious Eats recipes! They always look so delicious!!
August 14 | Unregistered CommenterJacqui
Well, I have lots of favorite things here, but the one my friends love the most is the gooey peanut butter cake. It is by far the dessert I get requested to make all the time. And it is how I found white chocolate peanut butter! Yummy.
August 15 | Unregistered CommenterPam H
I enjoy the crazy spins on classic desserts, and the celebration of having an ever-craving sweet tooth.
August 15 | Unregistered CommenterEmily
My favorite thing about your blog and you is your humor and creativity. Your passion for yumminess comes through in all of your posts and recipes.
Thank you.
August 15 | Unregistered Commentermhulgrave
My favorite might be a tie - CUPPIE, of course, but also when I went to Seattle to visit my parents a few years ago and met you at the CakeSpy shop! You were so sweet and it was great to meet you, plus I got so much cute stuff at the store haha!
August 15 | Unregistered CommenterKay
You are amazing! I am so glad I got to meet you at the Renegade Fair in Willamsburg all those years ago. Congratulations on your anniversary!
August 15 | Unregistered Commenterjen
I made the Nanaimo Bars and they were great! I also like the bakery reviews.
August 15 | Unregistered CommenterKris
My favorite thing about Cakespy is how you share your creativity in recipes, inspiring the rest of us to take our love of sweets over the edge!
August 15 | Unregistered CommenterGracie
I love the whimsy and the illustrations. I have an original and a print in my house right now and they make me smile every time I look at them. Also, I have to say I have your most recent book and have really enjoyed reading it. If I win I have a great friend to give it to.
August 15 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
I'm not commenting to be entered in the drawing (because I was already lucky enough to win a copy of your second book!), but I just wanted to let you know that I love your experiment posts and also the pictures you take where you do chalk drawings and other things to make sweet phrases on sidewalks and with street signs. :)
August 15 | Unregistered CommenterCaley
My favorite things are your crazy creative ideas. Like the dessert grilled cheese. Mind boggling.
August 15 | Unregistered CommenterLele
My favourite thing about Cakespy is all the crazy, over-the-top, larger than life, mind-blowing desserts you come up with! The Girl Scout cookies milkshakes in particular were so FUN!
August 15 | Unregistered CommenterCaitlin
Although I cannot eat any of your creations, I have on occasion made them for family and friends, who loved them, and have asked for repeats. I love the way you write. I love learning the history behind recipes that you have always just known. I love your murals and would love ones done for my granddaughters, if/when I win a lottery. I love visiting bakeries along with you. I hope to be reading about you exploits for many years to come.
August 16 | Unregistered CommenterJoann
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