Classic Cakes II owner Vickie Logue talks birthday and wedding cakes, the infamous Smith Island layer cake, and how the Food Network has made people creative with what they're looking for. Including a cake that looks like a toilet bowl.
Classic Cakes II owner Vickie Logue spends half her time selling decorated cakes for birthdays or weddings and half selling Smith Island layer cakes, which come in 30 different varieties and have seven to nine layers.
Right now, she’s taking a breather from the midst of wedding cake season and nervously anticipating putting on a demonstration at the upcoming Delaware State Fair.
Q How does your business change throughout the year?
A In the summer it’s a lot of weddings, graduations and big cookouts like reunions. In the fall, it’s still a lot of weddings because people want to beat the heat and more are being married in the fall. During Thanksgiving time, it’s pies and then the Christmas holidays.
Around January, things slow down. Everyone is sick of eating, sick of spending and staying home.
In February, it starts up again with Valentine’s Day, showers, birthdays and get-togethers. March and April has a lot of bridal shower cakes for the upcoming wedding season, and by May it’s wedding season. People call about weddings in May and I tell them it’s not too early for 2011.
Q Is wedding season the hardest you have to work?
A Actually my worst week was June 5 this year with Caesar Rodney’s graduation. I had 50 orders and probably 30 of those were for big sheet cakes that fed at least 100 people. I was working 12 to 13 hour days. It was crazy. Afterwards, my shoulders were aching.
Q What’s the hardest task you have to deal with when baking or decorating?
A Multi-tasking. Not forgetting a cake in the oven while mixing frosting when it all has to be done in the next 10 minutes.
Q What can customers do to make it easier for you when they order cakes?
A Know a little about the person getting the cake. Do they have a theme? What are they into? What colors do they like? They know the person better than I do.
Q Do you have a lot of people who change their minds on what they want?
A Not an extreme amount. It’s not really changing their minds but the deciding itself. Some know what they want. Others have some idea and come to decide with my help, but with other people I have to give them a lot of ideas and really work with them.
Q What are the most popular things you sell and decorate?
A Selling, it’s the Smith Island chocolate layer cake, which is yellow cake and thick fudge icing.
For decorating, with kids it’s whatever the most popular TV shows or movies are that are out. Also a lot of modern looking cakes with stripes or polka dots, and that’s not just for adults. “Cake Boss” is having an impact.
Q So does that mean you’ve seen a difference in what people want based on what they see on TV shows like on the Food Network?
A The influence of the Food Network is huge. People want tiered cakes for kids’ birthdays or shape cakes. They aren’t much into flowers like they used to be.
Q What are your favorite cakes to eat or make?
A I love the Smith Island caramel layer cake, which is yellow cake with caramel icing. I can’t even put slices up in the display area.
As for decorating, I like some cakes with fondant decorations. [Fondant is a covering that can be rolled out like a piecrust and used to cover a cake.] I like something that’s different but not taking so many hours that it gets really expensive. The best way to keep the price down is to have butter cream icing with decorations in fondant.
Q What’s the most unusual cake you’ve made?
A For someone’s 40th birthday, they had a cake shaped like a toilet with blue Jell-O in the bowl to look like water. I’ve also done things like Elmo or toolboxes. Most people with unusual cakes know what they want.
The hardest one to deliver was a four-tiered cake on columns that had a fountain under it.
Q So does it take a steady hand to decorate cakes?
A Yes, a steady hand, practice and [you need] to have the eye for it. I don’t think everyone can do it. Although a lot of people can.