Hi and Welcome to the Information Center provided by Harriet's Creations.
Within these pages you can familiarize yourself with terms and definitions of cake related items which you may find useful in your search for a Cake Artist. Many of you have already done your "homework" and feel you understand this. Others of you watch hours upon hours of cakes shows to see fabulous cakes happen in one hour..and even with staff members, cakes don't take an hour from start to finish. Some of you have not had the time to do this kind of research, and others of you may understand but without someone explaining you are kind of fuzzy about the whole thing. This is understandable, that is why I encourage you to read, understand and ask questions at the consultation.
Just to get you off to a knowledgeable start about me, Harriet Cobb. I have been doing cakes since 1993.
Harriet Cobb – Harriet Cobb is a cake artist and the owner of Harriet’s Creations, a bespoke cake business in Memphis, TN., since 1999. She has lived and worked in England and the Middle East before moving to Memphis. She has traveled Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and many of the States. Alaska is on the Bucket list for 2018.
She has been a Wilton Cake Decorating Instructor, offering all their coursework classes, some of which are no longer offered. Harriet has studied under a number of accomplished sugar, chocolate, and cake artists. She has been in classes with Carol Ambrosetti, Keith Ryder, Carol Ambrosetti, Chef Laurie Braddach, Keith Ryder, Chef Julie Bashore (Master Confectioner), Chef Nicholas Lodge, Chef Bronwen Weber, Chef Laure’l Silverberg, and Jay Qualls. She has completed the Master Course in Cake Decorating at the Wilton School of Cake Decorating, where she also took instruction on Isomalt, and Pulled Sugar Artistry.
Harriet lives with her husband, Byron, of 40 years who is a Commercial Jet pilot with Federal Express. They have 3 grown sons, a daughter-in-law, a granddaughter and grandson who live locally.
Harriet joined the International Cake Exploration Society (ICES) in 1995 and has enjoyed learning techniques from all over the world through associations with them at conventions.
Harriet's Creations was incorporated in 1999. She is also a current member of the Retail Bakers of America, and Better Business Bureau, and member of the West Tennessee Sugar Artists.
She is a resident of the area for 33 years.
Ok, now for the Info.
There are any numbers of toppings which go on the surface of a cake, as I'm sure you've seen. Some look abundantly smooth; others are textures, much like a craft technique. So first, let's talk about top surface icing.
Butter cream icing:
This is the most commonly used in the USA. Butter cream can be made with solid shortening, or a combination of both shortening and butter, or just butter. Butter cream icings are soft, sweet, and sensitive to heat and humidity. Butter creams can sag, melt and slide off the cake. If fresh ingredients such as real butter, eggs, or fresh egg whites are used, this icing can be prone to spoilage. Limited exposure to heat and humidity is recommended.
Italian Meringue and Swiss Meringue are also types of icings, however, not offered here using the current pricing.
Marzipan is oily dough made from very finely crushed almonds. It is used in England to cover the tops of fruit cakes, which is the traditional wedding cake there.
Marzipan is ivory in color and quite expensive to use. It can be colored.
We use it most exclusively here in America for making edible fruits in all shapes, sizes ,colors, and varieties. Most times the English cakes are then covered in Royal Icing or a Fondant Icing Covering to complete the cake.
Rolled Butter cream:
Rolled Butter cream has a smooth look like Fondant, but shines, and is not matte in it's final appearance. Rolled Butter cream is a bit more to add to the cost of a cake here, as it's made from scratch. So if you like the very shiny, smooth look, you could go with Rolled Butter cream. This product is very soft and not good for outdoors.
Rolled Fondant is a sweet, silky smooth icing that has a dough or clay-like consistency. Most often it is rolled out with a rolling pin, draped over a cake, and then smoothed to conform to the cake shape. Rolled Fondant can be modeled, formed, twisted, imprinted, embossed, and cut out to form lace panels which are then placed as decorations on the cake. In other parts of the world it is commonly known as "Sugarpaste".
Fondant products used by cake decorators vary as widely as the experience of the decorators’ you might interview. When people come to me and tell me they have "heard” that Fondant tastes bad, I ask them if they have personally tried it. Most say, "No", and once having tasted a good product, there is no objection to using it. Try my White Chocolate Fondant. It is , in my opinion, excellent in flavor and the finest quality Harriet’s Creations can offer. I offer two levels of pricing on the fondant, a non-chocolate product (marshmallow flavored) and the White chocolate product.
We also have a Chocolate Fondant that is dark brown in coloring we use for men’s cakes. This Dark Chocolate fondant is very chocolaty and my customers love it!
The only thing distinctive about Fondant is that it is: "chewy on your palate". I coined this phrase originally, as it is not like the Butter cream creaminess you are probably used to. Rolled Fondant properly used should not be brittle hard when cutting. It is kept soft by a covering of butter cream which is on the cake as the "glue" which holds the fondant on the cake.Then the cake is chilled. Hours before serving, the cake is taken from the cooler, kept at room temperature so the sweat has time to evaporate, and keeps your edible, yummy fondant soft!! My opinion on why some people tear off the fondant when serving or eating is that; they either have never tried properly prepared fondant, don't like the chewiness, or they simply haven't tried a good tasting, chocolate fondant. Don't peel it off, your guests will follow your lead when you serve cake to your new hubby.
As for fillings, some people opt for a simple fruit filling, instead of butter cream over the top of the cake which acts as the glue for the fondant. I don't recommend that. If you like fruit filling, I recommend using it between layers.
Rolled Fondant can be used to make bows, flowers,and swags. It can be painted on, imprinted,crimped and left smooth. Its’ versatility makes it a very good medium for most designers with years of experience in hand manipulation and not entirely using pre-made molds, thus creating more one of a kind cakes. Although for saving labor you can't beat using the molds on the design work of your cake. It comes down to which you prefer, hand crafted, or molded to look like others cakes. At Harriet's Creations, we can do both. Fondant costs a bit more, but the look is worth it. Ours comes in three varieties, Vanilla(Marshmallow flavor), White Chocolate, and the Dark Brown Chocolate, as mentioned above. All varieties can be flavored or colored to match your preferences.
Sugar Veil Icing:
This is a relative newcomer to the decorating of cakes. If you know of Royal icing, think of Sugar Veil as bendable Royal Icing. Oh yeah! Way cool stuff. This is used to make real life bows, which have a bit more of a natural look, in that sometimes they will sag like a real ribbon bow. It is like royal icing in that it IS affected by humidity, so using it in the Summer for a bow might not be too wise. However, it makes beautiful lace pieces, lightweight stripes, and beautiful hand cut border work. Cake Lace is another product used with a silicone mold which is a beautiful finish to a cake. It is best used in the summer months. Lace panels are made from Sugar Veil icing or a similar product.
Chocolate Ganache is quite a versatile icing as well. It can be poured as a smooth glaze over the cake surface. It can be whipped to make a fluffy frosting, or it can be used to fill the layers between cakes. It can be used to make truffles. If you're a chocoholic- this is for you!
Fillings are used between layers of a cake of the same size. Imagine yourself baking a two (2) layer cake for practice. When you need to put those two layers together, you will need some sort of “glue”. You can use either icing only or icing and a filling. This is what holds the two layers together. If you want lots of “stripes” of filling and icing when you cut a slice, then that is called a “torte” and requires a bit more work on our part, but is well worth the presentation issue.
There are pre-made fillings which can have fresh fruit added, or there are fresh fruit fillings. The varieties are as unlimited as the availability and pricing of the product.
Mousse is a filling as well which generally requires refrigeration; however, there are some pre-mix products available to us which do not require refrigeration. They are excellent choices if your heart is set on a Mousse filling.
After your filling, you will need to frost your cake with an icing. We discussed that earlier. So after frosting your cake most of you will be ready to serve it!
At Harriet’s Creations, I am very picky about my cakes. I bake them the week of the wedding or event, and do not freeze them, nor do I purchase pre-manufactured cakes from a supplier to allow me to do more cakes. This is why I don’t take many bridal cake orders, no more than 1/2 per weekend which can add up to 500-800 servings with a bridal and grooms cake for each wedding. I don’t compromise quality in any aspect for your cake. I am personally involved in the creation of your order from start to finish. Take a look at our flavors, fillings and icings. I think you will find something to suit your fancy on your special day. At the consultation, you will be served a variety of standard cake flavors and one specialty flavor of my choice. If you require more than one specialty cake flavor, just ask about having your particular flavor on hand at the tasting, there is a $15 fee for special request tasters. I ask for a 8 month lead time on Bridal cakes and on Novelty cakes 10 days to 2 weeks ahead of the date needed, depending on the season.
We also offer a full line of cookies for you to add to your occasions, whatever they may be. We do ask for a 3 week lead time on cookies, as these do freeze nicely and keep us from going insane on last minute orders. All cookies are iced and decorated right before pickup. You can get them individually bagged for an additional cost as well. Brownies iced with your new last name initial and served from a tiered cake stand is a good alternative as a favor or used as a groom’s cake.
Square cookies with last name initial on them are great as bridal favors whether it's for a luncheon, or at the reception. I also offer Christmas cookies.
Harriet's Creations offers a variety of cupcakes in the Standard flavors and Specialty flavors listed on the website. All cupcakes must be ordered in dozens of one flavor. So if you need 3 dozen, you can get 3 flavors. My icing of choice is my Blue Ribbon Winning Buttercream icing. My cupcakes are not piled high with icing, they are as grandma would have iced them with a swirling tip...just enough for balance of flavors. Sprinkles and toppers of all kinds can be added to your cupcake order. Don't miss seeing the combo pak of the Large Cupcake and 1 dozen standard size cupcakes. Great for an office gathering. Prices vary based on flavor and toppers.
Mints/Chocolates as Grooms cake toppers:
Harriet’s Creations also enjoys making chocolates. I can use any grade of chocolate for you. I use molds for most of the work, but hand molded roses can be made from a chocolate which makes them edible and very good! Mints too can be bagged for your convenience for an additional fee. Rectangular mints with the couple’s new initial, are very popular as servings on the grooms table, and are offered at an affordable price for your reception table. Razorback chocolates are available at Harriet's Creations as well.
Click here to see an assortment of Petite Fours available for Bridal showers. Scroll to the bottom of their page to see them all. Don't forget cupcakes from Harriet's Creations! These along with any miniature dessert are very well received and quite trendy at the moment.
Cookies, Cupcakes, Brownies, 3 and 4 inch cakes, be sure and check out all I have to offer. Maybe a small cake per table for your guests is how you'd like to go instead of a large bridal cake, or in addition to the bridal cake.
I guess that about does it, please feel free to call, or e-mail me to set up an appointment for pricing and tasting of your specialty items. You can reach me by clicking on the ContactUs page. Please read through it as well. Hope to see you soon!