Sunday, July 4, 2010

If you think you can, you CAN!


I saw this unattributed quote engraved on a paperweight and realized that this is true in every area of life. I am pretty much self-taught. Years ago when my kids were little and I wanted to decorate cakes, I did not go to classes, I stood in front of the bakery viewing window at Venture's and watched the cake decorator in action. Every holiday when my children are gathered at our house, they reminisce about how they had to stand for hours (never more than ten minutes) watching the department store cake lady decorate cakes.

My first attempt, I went home, baked a cake, frosted the top, put some frosting in a sandwich bag, snipped the tip of one corner in two directions, filled it with tinted frosting and made a fluted border on my cake. I added green food coloring, made grass and put two Easter Peeps and Jelly beans in the grass. That was the beginning of a labor of love. Over the years people often told me I should go into business. I did it for fun, friends and family, not for profit. My cakes rival the professional's. I sometimes personalize them with photos: a grandson driving a dump truck; a granddaughter in her pink prom dress posing as one of the Disney Princesses; a grandson as a pirate (I found a cute pose from the photo album, and I cut out a paper eye patch.) Were they ever thrilled to see themselves on their cakes! If you click on each cake you can get a close-up view.

I made Bill a cake for his 55th birthday and decorated it with his likeness and that of all of our grandchildren. Since then there have been four more grandbabies. Where has the time gone?

I have improved my decorating skills over the years, and I now have professional decorating tools, but I have never taken a class. IF YOU THINK YOU CAN, YOU CAN!

Someone gave me this frosting recipe and told me it was Miss Hulling's. She was a former, local restauranteur, famous for her cakes. It is scrumptious.

Beat together until fluffy:

A two pound bag of powdered sugar
2/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/4 cups Crisco shortening


Susan said...

Wow, Linda. I'm impressed. You are very talented in the cake decorating department. Fabulous! Thanks for sharing. Susan

Linda O'Connell said...

Thank you. I really enjoy the challenge of making each cake unique and peronalized.

Bookie said...

These are great, Linda, and so amazing the way you taught yourself! I can not even decorate a sugar cookie! I can not even CUT a sugar cookie. My one exception is I can use a shortbread mold. I guess I don't have the patience to decorate loveingly...esp. when I know it will be gulped away! But I bet your family enjoys your own efforts.

Linda O'Connell said...

Hi Claudia,
I think it is an outlet for my creativity. Cookies ... you had to say that bad word, didn't you? Now I am going in the kitchen to dunk that last chocolate chip cookie in a cup of milk. happy 4th!

Pat Wahler said...

Cakes can truly be not only a labor of love, but a work of art. You are indeed talented!


Linda O'Connell said...

Hi Pat,
Thanks. I love doing it for fun, but if it were my job, I'd hate to HAVE to do it all day.

Tammy said...

The message is as beautiful as the cakes. Your love of family and sense of playfulness come out in writing AND cake decorating! You are a woman of many talents!

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Hi Linda - Your creativity shines in so many areas, enhanced by your determination to excel. Beautiful cakes!

Linda O'Connell said...

Thanks Tammy and Lisa. It allows me to be creative. Lynn, I've seen your puppy cupcakes and they are precious!

BECKY said...

Hey Linda! I can't believe I didn't know this about you!! You truly are an abundantly talented woman!!