Instead of waiting for my next cupcake creation, I've decided to use my 100th blog post to reflect on how all this cupcaking madness began and to look ahead to where I see myself going in the future. There's no telling how long and drawn out this blog entry is going to get - but thanks in advance for sticking with me!
People are always asking me where I learned how to bake, decorate, create...etc. I guess it all began with my first job at a country club. I started working when I was 14 - I was the best corn husker they had during the summers. That summer job turned into my place of employment for 7 years! How's that for dedication? During my time there I learned so many different things about food but for some reason it was never my life's passion to go into the food business after graduating from high school.
I have always been rather "crafty". During my early years of college I made extra money selling my handmade hemp necklaces to hippie stores and on the road at Phish shows. It was pretty funny to witness my boyfriend at that time (now my husband) along side of me learning how to macrame and bead! We used to make these crazy little Fimo (clay that you bake in the oven) creations as well as those cute little hippie shirts together.
In addition to being crafty I have have always loved planning events. My jobs out of college have always revolved around planing something - I love the logistics, check lists, and ability to be creative when it comes to themes and event decor. Since my professional life revolved around higher ed events I longed to do more in my personal life with social events. My own wedding in 2005 was the first large scale event I planned outside of my everyday job - Mark and I were such DIYers at that time mainly for 2 reasons. One, we were on a tight budget, but two, we both loved having our hand made touches at the event. Since then, I've tried to do more and more with helping friends and family members with their special days.
We'll fast forward to 2008. At this time people were telling me I needed to create a portfolio of what I have been doing. I had pictures but nothing really official - it was just for friends and family. I posted a few pictures on Facebook here and there but was never really into the social media frenzy. I decided one day in February (when work was a bit slow) to start a blog - I didn't really know what that meant exactly but it was a place I could upload my pics and write about them. This seemed like a great place to showcase my little creations and share them with people. I spent so much time trying to come up with a catchy name...Finally, I decided on Rene Takes the Cake (which has since stuck!). I used most of February to upload pictures of my past creations from the year - I was lucky that I had a sister who was getting married to someone she met in DC - therefore we had 2 bridal showers, 2 wedding receptions, and once she had children, 2 baby showers!
I really enjoyed planning all these events and getting back into the kitchen. At this time, cake decorating was all over the television - not like it is now but there was enough exposure. I signed up for the cake decorating classes at my local Michaels craft store. If you go way back in my blog you'll see my first creations - they're pretty funny. But never-the-less I really enjoyed what I was doing and according to my instructor I was really good at it (she had once asked if I was a Wilton spy =). For these cakes I used box cake mixes and that disgusting Crisco buttercream you have to make for class...but when I shared my cakes with people (purely so I didn't have to waste them), they still enjoyed them.
After I took all four courses I was hooked! Not only did I love decorating I wanted to learn how to bake using only the best ingredients! And this is what I set out to do. I brought test recipes to work all the time - "A cupcake for your honest feedback" was a sign that would accompany my creations when looking for the best vanilla recipe! I'm thinking that the wonderful and encouraging feedback is where all of this turned out of control for me - but in a good way!
Now a days I am making lots of cupcakes and cakes for my family, friends, and co-workers. I'm taking classes with some of the best people in the biz (including the fabulous Courtney Clark from the Food Network Challenges). The response is so great that I have considered on multiple occasions to turn it into a side business. But in the metro DC area there are multiple road blocks in place for me to do so. The biggest of them being working out of a licensed commercial kitchen which cannot be my home. Since I do not want to make cupcakes my full time job (right now anyway), it will not work financially to do it on the side. So what's next?
I've given some thought to starting an event styling business - one that focused on making beautiful dessert tables! I could then outsource my sweets and focus on the decor - making those fondant decorations really is my favorite part. There is also the idea of an Etsy shop brewing. I am also going to "amp" up my blogging presence in the coming months. How do "Tasty Thursdays" and a "Friday Featured Parties" sound? Then in a couple months or so I could possible add "Style Saturdays" (I'm thinking about becoming a Stella & Dot stylist).
I am at a loss on how to end this post...I guess that is a good thing because I do not see an end in sight! I hope that each and every day I continue to grow in my creativity and passion and that I continue to meet fabulous people along the way. Who knows what is next...
One thing I do know is that you'll be able to find out if you stay tuned to my blog =)
Thanks for reading - and I apologize for the horrible grammar and spelling mishaps along the way!