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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)

JESSIE!!! congratulations lady!!! oh my goodness... how fun to see the changes... and how CAKESPY has taken over the world! :) love your blog, your writing, illlustrations, and your ongoing support... you are AWESOME!!! wishing you rainbows, sprinkles, unicorns and cupcakes galore now and always! ^__^

PS my blog turns 5 next week! whatttt!
xoxo
Hi, I love the posts, ithe food, all shamelessy MOREISH! Life is hard, stressfull, sad so much of the time, why not inject some happiness into our daily routine? I love the recklessness, the sweet abandon, the adventurer in you, the girl thats willing to cross boundaries! You say to all the naysayers out there, "Life is short, life is sweet, go eat that cake!!!". So what i love most is the motto in your posts!
August 16 | Unregistered CommenterMehj
I love everything about CakeSpy!!! But most of all, I love how crazy and inventive and crazy inventive the recipes here are!
August 18 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda
I torn between the following: the creative recipes you come up, your history lessons for different desserts, and the food tours of different bakeries.
August 18 | Unregistered CommenterChandra
My favorite thing about CakeSpy?

Cupcakes + unicorns = awesome. Always makes me smile.
August 18 | Unregistered CommenterToni
My absolute favorite thing about CakeSpy are the recipes she posts links to each week! I can't wait for each week's batch of delicious desserts for me to (attempt to) recreate at home!
August 18 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie Simpson
My favorite thing about Cakespy are the cupcakes with all the different personalities.i was so happy to find your art work at Trophy cupcakes. It was hard to pick only one card to buy but i managed it.
August 18 | Unregistered CommenterAshley Brigham
My favorite thing would be your drawing you did for my daughter's wedding!!!
August 18 | Unregistered CommenterKerry
Congratulations!!!! What a sweeeet ride!

My fave thing about CakeSpy is our bi-annual/annual Crafty Wonderland checks-ups. MUCH more fun than going to my lady-parts doctor every year.

Wishing you much success and wonderfulness in your life!
August 18 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
I love reading your posts about the Jersey Shore because I am from the area. We pass Del Ponte's every time we drive into the beach, and I even had a classmate in high school who worked at Hoffman's! Red Bank is even closer to where I live, and I get super excited to see posts about treats there. I've never been to Seattle or to Chicago or to most of the other destinations on the Cakespy tour, but your NJ posts remind me of how sweet my homestate is :)
August 18 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea
In the spring of 2009 I was going through the hardest time in my life. I was finishing up my second year of medical school in Seattle, and hating every minute of it. I knew I didn't want to be a doctor, but I felt stuck. I spent most of my time in class reading the food section of the New York Times and Cakespy.com. Clearly, my heart was not in medicine.

There were several pivotal moments that spring that eventually gave me the strength to quit medical school and pursue my true passions in life. One of those moments was when I met CakeSpy at her Trophy Cupcake art show. She told me her story about how she knew her favorite things in life were art and baked goods and she figured out a way to make a career out of the two of them. I was so inspired.

So, my favorite thing about CakeSpy....

The way that she took the unicorn by the horn and started living her life the exact way she wanted to live it.

I will forever be grateful for the way she inspired me to change my life.
August 19 | Unregistered CommenterJocelyn
I remember reading your post "50 ways to kill a Twinkie" - it was the first post of yours I'd ever read & it had me hooked on your site.

I spent the next few days reading your older posts & then made sure I checked your site everyday since then. Thanks for a great site & amazing books :)
August 19 | Unregistered CommenterQuraisha
So hard, but my favorite thing is Cuppie as it has been with you since the beginning, is a constant source of good cheer and inspiration, and a stalwart companion in your blogging life - basically the perfect mascot to keep one seeking out the sweetness and joy of baking/illustrating/treasure seeking! Vive Cuppie!!
August 19 | Unregistered CommenterDebra
Congrats on 6 years!

What caught my attention and keeps me coming back is that someone else (besides me) thinks food has personality and humor that comes out in the most unexpected ways.

Thanks!
August 21 | Unregistered CommenterLindley
My favorite thing about Cakespy is how fun the recipes are, and I love all the illustrations!
My favorite thing about CakeSpy is Hope. Yeah, I know it sounds weird, but your site gives me hope. I love to bake for friends and for fun, so the recipes are great and I've tried a few. The artwork it so adorable and I just want to wear T-Shirts with it on them so I can show it off and be awesome in nerdiness. I love learning the history and lives behind sweets. But beyond that, it gives me hope that someone out there is doing what they love. It may not be easy, but one I day I hope to find a way (and time) to bake or create or blog or do something more than a desk job. And your site gives me that hope. :)
August 22 | Unregistered CommenterBrandi
I love the snake eating twinkie illustration!! I really like also when you put dancing robots and unicorns and cupcakes everyplace. The unicorn with the corn horn was also really funny!! :)
August 22 | Unregistered Commenterjamie Alice
My favorite thing about you is that regardless of the day I'm having, your posts always make me smile! So basically, you are a mood-enhancer, without a prescription.
August 22 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
My favorite part from Cakespy is both your writing and watching your murals come to life. You have a wonderful way of transporting your readers to the bakeries you visit while letting us taste the amazing treasurers you find. Happy Birthday! :)
August 22 | Unregistered CommenterRacheal
All of the fun pictures! And those awesome little pins you handed out with the cookbook!!!
Hello :D I love your cupcake illustrations! Especially the ones that are really humorous ;) Oh and the Unicorn. And the confused-uni-cow!!!!!! Too cute!!! And the murals!!!!! Okay, pretty much everything is awesome <3 Happy Birthday! :)
August 22 | Unregistered CommenterCheri
Favorites - I have 3...
1) meeting you in Queen Anne for the first time
2) surprising you at Bellevue Cupcake Roayle for your book signing for Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life
and 3) your recipe for pop-tarts
oh and also 4) Cuppie :)
August 22 | Unregistered CommenterRachel
It's a tie! I love all the recipes- the ones I've made and the ones on my "to bake" list. I also love all the illustrations. I own a couple and they make me smile every day when I see them!!
August 22 | Unregistered CommenterKelly
Your illustrations are my favorite thing about CakeSpy, especially Cuppie! I even ordered (and have hanging in my kitchen) custom artwork from you. Also, my friend, Liz (Arty Mcgoo) made me a set of cookies using the artwork you made me...she painted on the cookies:)
Big fan of the chocolate mudslide cookies! This is the only thing my husband requests for his birthday.
August 24 | Unregistered Commentersydney85
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