Saturday, January 30, 2010

Announcing the Winner of the Kelley Kakes wedding cake giveaway....

First, I want to thank everyone who sent in their "love story," their "how we met" story, their "wow how the heck did we manage to pull this one off" story. We received so many wonderful emails, thank you, thank you, thank you! It was quite difficult to choose just one, so we've decided to add a 2nd and 3rd place and those folks will be emailed today.

We have chosen Christen Simon and Mark Marabate to receive a wedding cake for their September 4th wedding at the lovely Villa Parker in Parker, CO! What a truly wonderful couple these two are! This is their story:

It was the fall of 2007 and a little independent musical called "Boy in the Bathroom" was all the rage in New York City. Mark's best friend, childhood chum, and soon-to-be Best Man, Michael Lluberes, was hosting a party in honor of his successful show, at an upscale restaurant near 42nd Street. It was here that Mark and Christen first crossed paths.
Mark, the guy from Los Angeles who wrote "movies," was the odd one out in a room full of theater artists, so he was happy when Christen happened to sit down across from him and introduced herself as a close friend of Michael Lluberes. What Mark didn't know was that Christen was actually Michael's closest female friend and someone whom he had spent a great deal of time with as actors while touring around the country. Both Christen and Mark had heard about each other from Michael for over four years but never met nor saw a picture of each other. So although they had a close friend in common, Mark and Christen meeting was fairly coincidental (or maybe a bit of fate).
Due to Micheal's success he had very little time to spend with his friend Mark so he pawned Mark off onto his other friend, Christen. This selfless act by Michael allowed his two best friends to become friends on their own. As Christen and Mark spent the next three days walking through New York City talking, laughing, and trying to avoid angry New York taxi drivers it was clear something was blossoming. And by the end of Mark's trip it was also clear that having a relationship would be difficult when one lived in New York and the other Los Angeles. There could almost be no greater distance in the United States. They soon found out that they had quite a few differences to overcome. Mark was a young, caucasian, Jewish man who was raised in Michigan. Christen was African American, Catholic and was raised across the country as an Air Force Brat.
But fate dealt a lucky hand when Mark was hired to do Travel Channel work, thus often bringing him to New York, where he was able to have time to visit Christen. But whether they were together, or utilizing Skype phone services on the internet, they began a very untraditional form of dating. They found that no matter how many seemingly differences they had or someone else may have noticed they had they never saw nor felt that way. Those "differences" are the perfect formula to their happiness! Those differences have never come close to what the deep love and instant connection that they felt since night one. Then, after a year of several dozen flights, Christen made a big choice to move to Los Angeles so that Mark and she could be closer together and see where their relationship could go. She hasn't looked back. And a year and a half later they were engaged!

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Christen and Mark recently during their whirlwind visit to Denver to get some wedding tasks done. Despite the pressure of trying to cram so much into a few short days, they were so at ease and seemed to truly enjoy being able to do this together. They have overcome some serious hurdles to be together and their joy is contagious. I am so thankful to them for sharing their story with me and allowing me to share it with you.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Why does wedding cake cost what it does?!

As wedding season gears up for 2010, so do the articles on how to save money on your wedding. Now some of these actually offer legitimate advice, however there are more than a few that are so beyond ridiculous I want to call up the editor and ask them if they did ANY research. I figured I'd attempt to explain why wedding cake costs more than a grocery store sheet cake.
Wedding cake should be fresh, baked with the very best ingredients and stunning enough in appearance to have your guests oohing and aaaahing. Right now, this moment… forget that nonsense about how you say the word “Wedding” and we vendors triple the cost. Not true. In fact, that’s insulting!! You probably would think nothing of paying $5 to $7 to a yummy slice of chocolate molten lava cake at the restaurant, correct? But why would you expect fresh baked cake laden with high quality ingredients, delivered and set up at your location to stun and entice 100 plus of your nearest and dearest without a worry to you to cost any less? A cake your baker spent anywhere between 8 and 40 hours on? For real! It takes a lot to make a cake that deserves a top spot at your reception!
Let me explain how much time and how much stuff goes into a typical wedding cake:
Look at the cake pictured. Before any baking and prettifying happens, there is a free tasting. A tasting involves several kinds of cake (about $35.00 worth of ingredients in your samples) and sometimes up to three hours of time... and, if you're familiar with how I do meetings, I'm driving to you. After the meeting, sketching happens. This particular cake was a little easier and took about an hour.

In preparation for the cake, there's the shopping for ingredients. More driving and usually a trip to three locations. One for the bulk stuff, one for the fresh stuff and one for the supplies needed to support the cake upon stacking. At least three hours here. Sometimes it really is like Ace of Cakes and so toss in a trip to Home Depot as well. Back to the kitchen (rent and possibly an assistant or two to pay)...

This cake served 150 and each layer was a different shape and a different flavor. The different layers (the layers are made up of either two thick layers or three thinner ones) took roughly 8 hours to bake and had (I'm going to round out here) 35 pounds of sugar, flour, butter, eggs (oh my lord the amount of eggs used!), cream, vanilla, fresh lemon juice and zest, dark chocolate, fresh raspberries and blackberries, white chocolate mousse and half a bottle of Bailey's Irish Whiskey. After the layers are baked, they need to cool and settle. We’re at a high altitude here and the cakes need time to compress so you don’t end up with that very unprofessional looking bulge around the middle of your layers. I let mine do their thing overnight while wrapped tightly in plastic wrap to keep moisture in.

Fresh icing is made, and this cake took eight batches of it. That's more butter (1 lb per batch), more sugar (2 pounds per batch), vanilla bean and cream and a good hour or two of listening to the mixers whir as each batch takes 15 solid minutes of mixing to get it to the right consistency. Sometimes, I swear, I hear that noise in my sleep! Icing it smooth and all of the detailing took roughly four hours. Each pristine layer is placed upon its own cake board and the last thing I do is cut the supports that go into each layer. These keep your cake from doing a Poltergeist house on you. We've all seen videos of it... pretty funny when it's someone else, but imagine the horror if it was your cake imploding!! Not cool.

So the cake is finally ready to go! The cake was delivered to an outdoor venue in late summer and was set up on site, whereupon I also added the flowers provided by the florist. This particular delivery was pushed to the last possible moment because it was pushing 95 degrees out and was humid to top it off. The bride was actually walking down the aisle when I started doing my thing. We quickly unloaded all of the layers, stacked them and then the last little border was added. We placed the flowers on and took a few quick pictures and were out of there as their guests were clapping and cheering the end of the ceremony. Phew! Yes, there was a little high-fiving in the parking lot... this was one that tested the typical time line of things, however delivering earlier was simply not an option in order to keep that cake from melting!
I hope this helps explain all that goes into the creating of your wedding cake. The cake has become such an important and expected part of a wedding. Sharing a piece with your newly beloved symbolizes the beginning of great things to come. Imagine the smile the photos of this magical moment will induce when you and your sweetie are reminiscing. And how fabulous does a piece of lavender infused lemon cake filled with layers of fluffy white chocolate mousse and fresh blueberries, raspberries and blackberries sound after dancing your tush off all night? Yeah, it sounds fabulous!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Kelley Kakes is giving away a wedding cake in 2011!!!

That's right... we're giving away a wedding cake! I'm in search of a couple out there with a fantastic love story to tell. Did you meet in a really "this never should have happened" way? What odds did your relationship overcome to get to the point of saying "I do"? Maybe you've got children from a previous relationship and (like me) you just find yourself wandering around in a daze over the realization that you've found someone who accepts you as a package deal? Whatever it is, if you think you've got a story to tell, then email me at and lay it on me!

Now the rules- I'm keeping these at a minimum because rules are no fun....

*Your wedding can take place any time during 2010.

*Your reception must take place within 30 miles of metro Denver to qualify for free delivery (you can certainly enter if you're outside of this area, but a delivery fee will be necessary)

*The cake can serve up to 100 guests. I'm pretty willing to fudge the numbers on this one if there is a fantastic design that requires a little more cake. Additional servings can be added at a very discounted rate.

*The cake can be more than one flavor and will be iced in buttercream. No limit to colors used, detailing and whatnot. Free cake does not have to be boring cake! Although I have nothing against the classic white wedding cake:)

That's about it, folks! Again, email me personally at your fabulous tale. The contest ends February 12th. The winner will be picked, emailed, blogged and raved about on Valentine's Day.