Greetings, all the way from the City of Wind! Or, as I like to call it, "The City of Sin..." - sinfully delicious desserts, that is. While Chicago has been known for many things, from our beautiful architecture and unpredictable weather to the longstanding Sox versus Cubs rivalry, in a string of years we’ve managed to make a name for ourselves in the world of sweets, as well.
It’s not too uncommon to walk through the city and run into several store-front cupcake shops. The options are almost endless: Sprinkles, Molly’s, Crumbs Bake Shop, Sweet Mandy B’s and the list goes on. What was once a very niche market here is now becoming oversaturated with competition.
Generally speaking, the price to indulge in these little bites of heaven will cost you anywhere between an arm and a leg - $2-$4 per cupcake, if you want to get technical. It seems like a high price to pay for something so short-lived, but when you factor in variety of flavours, appearance and size you’re left feeling like a kid in a candy, er, cupcake store.
"It looks so good that I don’t want to eat it." That’s a phrase I hear a lot when I am either searching through galleries of cake designs or mumbling to myself after slaving over a hot oven for a few hours.
Cake decorating, or just baking itself, is such a bittersweet hobby/profession. You get the chance to make something delicate and beautiful, something that people will "Oooh" and "Aaahhh" at for days, perhaps even years, to come. But ultimately, after the cameras are put away and the grumbling of stomachs starts to drown out the ambient noise in the background, your precious piece of art has to be poked and prodded until - hopefully - there isn’t a bite left. Sigh.
But I can’t complain. Anything to take my mind off our temperamental weather is much appreciated and needed!
‘Tis the double-edged sword of the life of a cake decorator: bringing joy to clients, yet watching hours of concentration and precision get devoured in a matter of minutes. It’s a love-hate relationship of sorts. You come to live with it because nothing pushes you to want to do better than the mere thought of a client uttering those coveted words: "Remember that cake that [insert name] made?" It’s like music to my ears.
TK‘s love for cake decorating came by accident when she bought a YouSwoop (local deal promotion) for a cake decorating class in Chicago. She learned how to make sugar flowers and was soon taking Wilton (cake shop and school) classes, reading every cake design book she could get her hands on, and trying every recipe she could.