Monday, 8 September 2014

Caking in the Emerald City

Oh, how I have neglected my little baby blog these last few weeks!  With a 2 year old, a 6 month old, a vacation, my sister-in-laws wedding and my baby's dedication; well, life's been a little busy!  On the plus side, there has been ALOT of caking happening over here.  I made my FIRST wedding cake and I have lots of tutorials to come as a result.  I'm currently working on my dedication cake, so you'll be seeing that soon as well, not to mention a few birthday cakes that I have up my sleeve for this month too.  As for now, we're going on a little road trip.

As I mentioned, I just got back from vacation.  We went to Seattle (AKA Emerald City - who knew!!) to visit my aunt and her family.  With the exception of my 2 year old, my aunt is probably my biggest fan.  She's also the one who bought me my treasured stand mixer and made all of these cakes possible (round of applause please).  So naturally, she knew I would want to check out the local cake scene and was gung ho to explore with me.  I arrived on a mission to find rose petal cutters for my upcoming wedding cake (more specifically the Ateco nesting tear drop cutters here).  Our first stop was Sur La Table.  Although they did carry a wide variety of nesting cutters, they did not have the one I was looking for.  I wasn't too disappointed though - I LOVE to browse that store.  If my suitcase had been a little bigger, I could have done some serious damage.  Luckily, I did find some cute little fondant plunger cutters that didn't take up much room!

Although I didn't get to visit any full fledged cake bakeries I did check out Lady Yum, a macaroon shop in downtown Kirkland.  Their decor was spot on, a little bit vintage with lots of pastels and cute chalkboard signage; all around super cute!  We tried the s'mores (meh) , maple bacon (getting better) and apple pie macaroons (now we're talking).  It was liking eating an apple pie!  I don't know how they made cake taste like pie, but they perfected it!  I would have loved to try more flavors but neither my wallet nor my belt could afford it!!!

My favorite treat spot on vacation is totally not cake related, but if you're ever in Kirkland you have to stop into Sirena Gelato and try their Salted Caramel gelato.  TO. DIE. FOR.  It was so good, that on our last night of vacation the shop was closed and we begged them for one last taste of their gelato which they happily obliged (on the house to boot)!!!  These guys are AWESOME!!!!  I already can't wait to go back for one more fix....

Due to some time constraints I decided to call ahead to find a place that carried my cutters.  I found a place online called Home Cake Decorating Supply Co. and upon calling she immediately knew what I was asking for (you want to make a really big rose?) and said she had them.  Ah-mazing, off we went.  Here's where I have to admit that I have some predetermined ideas about what a cake store should look like.  It should be super cute, painted in pastels with a girl behind the counter wearing a chic little apron that wafts a delicious vanilla aroma into the air every time she moves (you have to be an imaginative person to become a caker....). Boy was I surprised when I walked into this!

Please try to focus on the background rather than the awful picture of myself.  I was completely dazed!  It was like a cake hoarding store!  My aunt and I probably wandered around for 15 minutes trying to find my cutters before we gave up.  When we asked the lady who owned the shop she promptly instructed us - 4th shelf up from the floor, 3rd basket from the right, pull it down and balance it on the display behind you and you'll find the cutters near the bottom of the basket.  Lo and behold there they were! There was a method to her madness!  Emphasis on madness,  this woman knew her stuff and wasn't afraid to share. As I was shopping around a couple of self proclaimed newbies were looking for some advice.  After pestering the owner with questions for about 10 minutes she finally said "Look, you guys don't know what you're doing. I'm trying to tell you what to do in the easiest way possible, stop trying to bite off more than you can chew." This was in response to them trying to buy more supplies than they needed....interesting business tactic but I respected her honesty!

Next up was my turn to pick her brain.  I had my cutters and now I had some questions about mats. I wanted a bigger mat to roll out fondant on, and she carried 3 (that's as many as she showed me anyways). Fairly pricey - around $50 a mat. She seemed to be rolling her eyes a little as I went through my list of questions regarding the mats.  Finally she asked me what I needed it for and I explained that my Wilton mat wasn't big enough to roll out the fondant for my upcoming 12" wedding cake tier.  Her response "Don't waste your money on this, go down to the fabric store and and buy yourself some oil cloth.  Same result, fraction of the price."  This lady can't help but talk herself out of business but you know what, if I lived in the area she would be my go to lady!  She knows her stuff and probably has a million tips and tricks that she's willing to share!  I ended up walking away with my nesting cutters, a set of alphabet cutters and some Tylose powder (if anyone knows where to get this in Canada I'm all ears).

My over all take on the store: they probably have what you're looking for!  The owner is willing to help you out if you ask and she's a fount of information!  If you're looking for cake inspiration though, this probably isn't the place for you!  I would definitely visit again.  The shop is located at 9514 Roosevelt Way NE in Seattle and is open Tuesday-Friday 10-6 and Sat 10-4, go check it out!  FYI, she doesn't have email or a website or internet because she's not into "all that crap"!  She also asked me not to "screw up her hours" on my post "like the last chick did".  Love it!

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