Wedding Vendor Q&A: Kakes By Karen
I love to blog and with such a busy travel and work schedule, it is quite hard to do so. Recently I have purchased a new Sony Vaio 13 ultrabook which allows me to edit, answer emails, and blog on the go. This has definitely freed up my schedule a bit to blog more. In this industry, the majority of horror stories that we hear are from brides who did not do the adequate research on their wedding vendors. Price is not the only important factor when deciding on who to hire and who to avoid. With that in mind, I am going to set out and start to interview various wedding professionals in different fields of the industry offering services in either Pittsburgh, PA or Southwest Florida.
This week, I have interviewed Karen Vasquez from Kakes by Karen. Karen has been featured as a cake designing contestant on Food Network’s Cake Challenge and has taught and worked beside some of the best sugar artists and cake designers in the country. You would never know it though from speaking with her as Karen is quite humble and down to earth. It took us snooping and scouring the internet to see the numerous awards, publications, and television appearances. With accolade aside, you must at least try her cake! Karen uses a secret, self created, cake recipe. It took dozens of visits and devoured cake scraps for me to have the opportunity to watch her perfect this amazing recipe. I have never had cake that is as good five days old as it was the first day it was baked to perfection.
So without further ado, please enjoy the following recent interview with Karen Vasquez, owner of Kakes by Karen.
Kakes By Karen
Photos by Jeff Herron
Maria: How did you start in the cake industry?
Karen: Cakes started as a hobby for me in 1994. I have done cakes full time for 9 years. Wow, writing that makes me feel old.
Maria: Out of all the different styles you have done for clients in the past, from birthdays to weddings, what is your favorite?
Karen: My favorite style of cakes are Wedding Cakes. It always brings me back to my wedding day and all the preparation, such great memories. Wedding cakes are beautiful, even if they aren’t necessarily my favorite design; they are delicate in style & can really bring out the true beauty in cakes.
Maria: When should a bride schedule a cake tasting?
Karen: The perfect time would be 6 months ahead of your wedding. This allows for us to meet, style, & design their custom cake. We have seen that brides that come in any sooner often change their mind in regards to cake design. It’s like your wedding dress, you buy your dress because you fell in love with it, but after a couple months at the seamstress you forget what it looks like (even though you have a picture on your phone of you in it) and have doubts, so you think maybe I should get a whole new dress. The minimum time we find appropriate to schedule your cake tasting is 4 months prior to your wedding.
Maria: What should they bring to the cake tasting?
Karen: In the perfect world : color swatches, cake images, inspiration/pinterest boards of wedding decor, invitation, and an image of their wedding dress. This is so incredibly helpful in designing custom cakes for our brides.
Need to see more cakes? Visit our Pinterest page for more delicious wedding inspiration!
Maria: Any particular trends coming into view in the cake world?
Karen: As far as the design of the cake we are seeing quite a few brides going for traditional piping & textured cakes. I think we all may be surprised with how beautiful “old school” piping is and really how modern and chic we can make it look! We are seeing a large amount of square cakes coming up on our calendar, and we are very excited!
Maria: Is there a particular skill or technique that is becoming popular among various brides?
Karen: The quickest answer yet! Piping! This style really has come from a word that brides never wanted to use to every image we receive from our brides has a different technique of piping. Piping can take a 3-D cherry blossom branch to a beautiful delicate piece of art. Can you tell we love piping?
Maria: Your cakes do not need to be refrigerated, is that true even in the hottest of months here in Florida?
Karen: You are absolutely right, even the hottest months of the year! Our cakes are 100% non perishable at room temperature! We never freeze or refrigerate any of our cakes. Each cake is freshly baked per order, that way we know our customer will never have a stale cake. And this is something that most people do not know, but even after our cakes are baked, filled, covered, and decorated we still do not refrigerate them! Actually if you place a fondant cake into a fridge or a walk-in cooler the fondant will start to have condensation and change the consistency of the fondant which will equal bad news. So trust us when we say: never refrigerated.