We spent the afternoon at Grace’s home with delicious bottles of Orangina learning about her and Sweet Gems cakes.
how did you start with cakes?
There were 4 kids in our family. As a kid, my dad’s policy was NO sweets. During special occasions, my mom only bought these gross ones. So baking became my only excuse for good sweets. I loved it. By 10, I was baking brownies, cookies, hiding sugar, and even sold my first cake. I went to culinary school in 2002. Then, I went from a restaurant business, catering, a restaurant bakery ’til I started my own cake designing business.
what makes you different from other cake designers?
My service. I’m friendly. I explain everything. I follow up and answer questions. Reliability is key to me, being punctual and dependable. Brides need a cake but they also need a friend and that’s what has brought me repeat customers.
what’s your ideal style?
I love the whimsical, elegant, out of the ordinary, BRIGHT colors, bold designs.
what was it like to win the Food Network Cake Challenge?
It was a dream come true! Holding that check in front of the camera, the country, and have other people see and validate what I did was a great feeling.
(winning cakes shown below!)
how’d you get the name Sweet Gems?
Well, one, it’s easy to remember. I was making cast sugar diamonds and thought the name fit perfectly. I didn’t want the name cakes in it.
what common mistakes would you like to warn brides about when selecting their perfect cake?
- Don’t underestimate the size of the cake you need because you think not everyone will eat it. You’ll be surprised how much gets eaten. People are not on a diet at the wedding if there’s good food. Plus, the cake will look dwarfed in comparison to the centerpiece/ballroom.
- Consider the size of the reception.
- Don’t pick TOO many colors. It’ll look like a circus. Keep it to 3 colors max.
- A great cake stand is like having a great pair of shoes!
- If you’re saving the cake for a year, don’t leave it in your car overnight after the wedding.
what makes the BIGGEST impression from your point of view with the wedding cake?
TASTE! A bad taste can leave such a low last note to your wedding. Right now, the most popular flavor by the way is red velvet. The favorite flavor I have for Sweet Gems is coconut mango.
Grace, thank you so much for all your wonderful tips! It was so much fun spending the afternoon with you, my dear.
Check out Sweet Gems here.
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