Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Jewelry Box Cake

8" Icing & Gum Paste Jewelry Box Cake
(Available in multiple flavors, also available in fondant)

My beautiful child, how fast do you grow
Once content with toys and the stories in your head
Now with eyes opened
To the treasures of cave and seabed

Yet a reminder for a princess, who, someday, will be queen.
While these jewels shine bright, while they glimmer and gleam
Set your heart on the unseen
Let Him guide you to your dream

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Alex Van Hagen Camera Cake

8" Fondant Camera Cake for respected photographer, Mr. Alex Van Hagen
(Available in multiple flavors)

Nikon D700 cake

Happy Birthday my dear friend
Our prayers and blessings we send
May each year that follows be better
As in you, He becomes greater!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Why You Should Do What You Love

This is a long one. I'm warning you. But I hope you take the time. For Part 1 please read Why I Bake.

"Flying is not what you think up here, (pointing to the brain), it's what you feel in here (pointing to Blu's heart). And when you feel the rhythm of your heart, you fly. (Takes off flying.)
-Rafael (the Toucan, RIO the movie)

For many people, doing what you love is a luxury. Not many people have the privilege of finding their passions and living them out. I recently watched the movie RIO with my boys and what I thought was going to be a funny, relaxing movie turned out to be an emotion packed, tearful one. Maybe it's just me, but many times I find myself relating to the characters in movies intensely. And for this movie, I was BLU, the macaw for the full two hours.

I saw a few parallels between my life and Blu's character. Blu, a rare macaw, is domesticated and flight-challenged. He is perfectly content being Linda's pet. He lives in a cage in a small town in Minnesota, does his own chores, has a daily routine, and is totally ok with not being able to fly. I was like that once, content in my insignificant routine, but not realizing my life was full of lies.

I don't want to ruin the movie for those of you who haven't seen it, but there's a part where Blu realizes his passion, what he really loves, when he learns to fly. He never needed or wanted to fly. He was completely satisfied in his tiny, little cage. But something inside of him was unleashed when he experienced flying. I was bawling behind my 3D glasses when the scene of Blu flying came out. What a sight! My son was looking at me like I was a martian. It was a kiddie, happy movie and there I was crying my eyes out. To me it wasn't simply about a blue bird flying, it was about discovering who you're meant to be in the process of doing something you love.

That's what Coco Cakes has been for me. Like I said in my About Me page, it's more than just mixing flour and putting it an oven, it's more than just a way to support my family. By working on Coco Cakes, I found my passion (aside from my children, who are my absolute priority), and that passion is to make things more beautiful for people. Every cake is an effort to make the moments sweet and memorable. Every cake is an effort to make something beautiful.

I've always loved prettifying (is that even a word?) things. It brings me a lot of joy to be able to create something pretty out of ordinary ingredients. I love the feeling of turning simple things into works of art that people can enjoy. I've always had that in me. With all the hobbies or businesses I've gotten myself into, the common denominator has always been this desire to make something beautiful. I guess the reason why I like that so much is because that's how I feel God is with me. Somehow, despite all my mistakes, he's been taking my ordinary life with all its imperfections and making it beautiful more and more. It reminds me of a verse I in Ecclesiastes 3:11 (I had to google that one up, hehe):

"He has made everything beautiful in its time."

I believe that everyone was made beautiful by God, but many of us, like Blu and I were, are ok with living in a cage. The problem with that is, no matter how comfortable our cage is, it's still a cage, and we're still missing the joy of soaring while doing something we love.

I don't have a lot of the comforts my cage used to have. In fact, in many ways, my life is more challenging now. It's not easy being a single mom to three beautiful but hyper kids while running a growing cake business. But at least I'm flying now, I'm really flying, and it feels great! I can really feel God making my life more beautiful.

Baking and decorating cakes for me is not a job. It's my way of expressing my passion for making things beautiful. And I'm very grateful I get to do what I love. I hope you find your passion. I hope you escape the cages people put on you. I hope you find that life does get more beautiful. And as you soar, I hope, you take a Coco Cake with you.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Coco Cakes in the City

First of all, I'd like to thank all my followers and customers for continuing to believe in Coco Cakes. I've been baking for while now, but it's only been a few months, after a lot of encouragement from friends, since I started doing this for others. This has been such an encouraging experience for me and I really wish all of you are as fortunate as I am to be making a living from something you love.

I've been asked a few times, "How did you start? Is it difficult? How did you know it would succeed?"

To answer the first question: I've been baking for my kids and some friends, but late last year my friend encouraged me, more liked pushed me, to start showcasing my work on a blog and accept orders. I didn't know people would welcome my cakes so enthusiastically!

The last question is the easiest to answer: I didn't. I had no idea if it would work out. Sometimes you just have to step out.

The second question has the longest answer but it is also why I'm writing this post.

Is it difficult?
Sometimes it does get difficult, especially since I have to balance this with being a single mom of three beautiful and active kids. I enjoy baking and I enjoy being a mom even more, but sometimes it feels like I never have enough time or energy or money to do everything. I'm sure many of you moms know how I feel. But knowing that every cake goes to making someone's celebration memorable and knowing that my work provides for my family is amazing motivation.

This is why I bake: to create baked goodies infused with imagination to turn every moment into a sweet one. I've made a simple acrostic on what goes into every Coco Cake:

Creative - I want every cake to capture the imagination of the one it’s for.

Intricate - I love details! It takes a lot of time but I like seeing tiny features add up for an amazing piece.

Thoughtful - Every person is special and different, so why celebrate with a common cake? I have a lot of fun tailoring my cakes to the ideas and insights my customers give me. I want you to forever remember your moment with a cake prepared with you in mind.

Yummy! - Everyone seems to think so!

So now you know why I bake, but I'd like to encourage you to step out and do what you love. I'll write more about that.
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