Saturday, March 5, 2011

Crushing on pics

Since its been so long since I blogged, just thought I'd share a few more pics of my life or the shop in other words :)

More to Come . . . .

Friday, March 4, 2011

Crushing on a year and a day

Well, I guess its been a little more than a year but what a year -
Things are fantastic and we are actually moving into an additional space in May - The little Sugar Pine Bake Shop in the Village - I will keep you posted - I promise, I'm not just kidding.
So lets see - Big Events Lately
  • Supposed to go to Paris last April but the Ash cloud got in the way so we are going one month from TODAY! Ooh La La

  • Doing desserts for Big Bear Lake's Man About Town next Saturday, March 12th at Northwoods - we'll be featuring mini cupcakes and loads of goodies - don't miss this chance to Taste your way around Big Bear and support a good cause

  • We were asked to submit and audition video to Cupcake Wars - we had 48 hours to do it (and the video shows that - OUCH) but we threw a cupcake and champagne party to celebrate the filming so it was totally worth it! Want to see the video - search YouTube for Sugar Pine Bake Shop. I'm too embarrassed to post it here :)

We've been having lots of fun playing with recipes and trying new things - some of the hits:

  • Hoosier Pie (we pronounce it "Who's Your Pie" with attitude) - kind of a cross between a creme brulee and a bread pudding - its latest incarnation has it on a snickerdoodle crust - YUM
  • Black Forest Brownie - Tart Sweet Cherries combined with Creamy Almond Cheesiness and surrounded by Fudgey Brownie
  • Cupcakes - Oh Yaeh, we've embraced them - we've had caramel apple, cherry cordial, chocolate covered strawberry, as well as the usual suspects - red velvet, vanilla and chocolate and our house favorite - pink champagne - its pink, its made with champagne- need we say more?

  • Brioche Bear Claws - Home made almond paste, orange scented brioche dough and an almond confectioners glaze - is your mouth watering yet?

  • Giant Chocolate Chip and M&M cookies - these we are working on for the shop in the Village.

So that's the quick update - I'm going to be better from now with telling you how it is. I'm also posting some fun pics just to get your mouth watering!

Celebrating our First Anniversary with My CREW - couldn't do it without them!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Crushing on Business Ownership - is the Honeymoon Over?

The short answer - NO!!

When I was a part of the dating pool, there was this unspoken rule that if you dated someone for three months and then kept dating - it meant that the relationship had legs. After three months, you saw how things really were with another person - you can only keep smiling for so long :) Well, we've been in business three months as of this weekend and Sugar Pine Bake Shop is going strong. The holidays were definitely a test, as they are on any new relationship but even though we are still a little tired, we have come through with flying colors. No disasters and lots of wonderful people who enjoyed our baked treats - plus we learned just how busy we can be and how many consecutive mornings we can get up at 5am.

All kidding aside, what a learning experience this fall and early winter has been. As you can probably see from the lack of postings (which I am not good at in the best of circumstances), there's been alot to get used to. Getting up is definitely difficult for this not a morning person but with a wonderful team in place, one of whom is Angel who gets up even earlier so I don't have to, some of the burden is shared. I actually feel really fortunate with the people I have working with me - all ladies, aside from Angel and my best unpaid worker Jim (my husband - he gets paid in "favors"). I keep adding new items to our menu - keeps it interesting and I hope keeps our regulars happy because they get to try new things all the time. And I've learned that I can process numbers, as long as a calculator isn't far away and that I am a business person - dare I say business woman. I like having my own business, as challenging as it might be. When Jim asked me what I wanted for Christmas I couldn't come up with a single thing because I have everything I want.

So that's that and more posts about cakes and stuff later but I just wanted to comment on where I am in the business and how it feels - which is fabulous!!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sugar Pine Bake Shop

What a Summer! I can't believe its been almost four months and to be honest, it flew by! Lots of cakes, lots of summer nights out on the lake and finally, a decision to go "brick and mortar". For those of you who didn't know, I've spent the last three years creating my edible art in a very small "studio" kitchen (its also where I cook Jim dinner each night :) So in August, with my wonderful husband's assistance, we decided to take the plunge and lease a building in Big Bear Lake that coincidentially has been a bakery for the last 30 years, the past three unsuccessfully. But we are going to change that and bring my particular brand of fresh baked goodness to Big Bear Lake. Announcing the Sugar Pine Bake Shop, opening in October. I'll post updates as the progress continues and let you in on the process of giving the bakery a much needed retail makeover. To see a full size version of the flyer - go to the shops website:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Crushing on Fake Cakes

I have been a reluctant maker of fake cakes up until now but in my quest to always put a positive spin on things, I've decided to embrace them as an artistic medium. Why, you may say am I anti fake - after all this is Southern California- well it has to do with longevity. I like making a cake and then it getting eaten - my artists medium doesn't have to sit there and be examined for perfection because the goal it that its edible. In other words, I am too much of a perfectionist. But then I found an outlet in a local florist - Little Greenhouse - and my first cake was made. I've done a bunch now and with the most recent one, really allowed myself to make a cake that I probably wouldn't get called upon to make too often. My weddings tend to be rather simple, couples coming to the mountains to marry usually aren't looking for an ornate cake. So now I have fake cakes in two of the shops in Big Bear Lake Village: ReJoyce and United Wood Craftsmen and I am making a goal of keeping the fake cakes coming. This spring, I've done a couple of wedding shows and created new fake cakes for both of them. What's more fun is the edible treats that surround the fake cake - I just love a good display, it speaks to the type A personality in me.

The cakes that started it all at ReJoyce and Little Greenhouse

Embracing the medium - its weird to work with fake cakes because they are so LIGHT- real cakes are much heavier and as much as that might sound strange, the heft makes it easier to work with real cakes in a way. You can apply pressure on a real cake (like when attaching fondant or pressing a pattern) and it won't move but a fake cake could go flying! I love the button cake - hundreds of handmade fondant buttons - actually kind of fun -

Time to eat - the fake cake is surrounded by tasty samples of my treats: red velvet cake and vanilla orange spice cake truffles and a selection of yummy cupcakes!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Crushing on Bread, Glorious Bread

Me with My Baby - I mean my Baguette

I can't believe its been a whole month since I blogged - well, a little more than so its time to play catch up. April totally got away from me but in a good way, with lots of cakes & small parties and then a week long getaway to San Francisco to the San Francisco Baking Institute to take a baking class about Baguettes. Baguettes you may say - what's the mystery about baguettes. Well, let me tell you. I thought I might be bored (!) because I've done some home bread baking and thought I knew what was going on but it turns out, I knew NOTHING. Well, almost nothing. The baguette is bread in its simplest, artisan form: flour, water, yeast & salt (and sometimes a little malt) so it makes a great canvas to illustrate the way bread works and how you can effect the result. More importantly, how you can adjust your recipe/mixing in order to get the result you would like consistently. Before you fall asleep let me just add that the end of every class, we got to eat the baguettes we made - and they were GOOD. Okay, and let me now admit that I am such a brown noser that the couple of times the teacher complimented me on my baguette, I blushed with pride. The class gave me insight into how different ingredients in baking work and as someone who does a pinch of this, a handful of that,
I now realize what a science baking truly is (DUH!!)

Our finished baguettes, waiting to be critiqued

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Look at those air holes - now that's a Baguette, oh and did I mention its MINE?!!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Crushing on Cupcakes

I have a love hate relationship with cookbooks. The pictures show such promise but you never know if the recipes will really work. That's why most of the time, I do my recipe shopping online because you can read reviews.One of my favorite things to do is shop the book sections in TJ Maxx and those kinds of stores and while in HomeGoods last week, I found a cupcake book by a former baking editor of Martha Stewart and it was LOVE. Simply called cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunski, the simple recipes and gorgeous pictures suggested ooey gooey cupcakes, the kinds we all remember from childhood - so I thought, YUMMY and bought.

Cupcakes might be the most perfect little treat you can eat. Even done up in the most elegant of styles, they are still cute and accessible - there's nothing arrogant about a cupcake in the way some giant confection covered in chocolate and surrounded by a sugar cage might intimidate. I've done them a few times for weddings, but my favorite presentation is in combination with a cake for a small event - usually for a mixed group of adults and children so I get to decorate a cute cake and cupcakes. But most often I make cupcakes as gifts for people - so I can give all the special people in the my life a little bit of sweetness for their day.

I've now tried three of the recipes in the book and they're pretty good: the banana caramel cupcakes, easter nests and strawberry. I've had to make some modifications for altitude but other than that they are delish! And making the banana cupcakes got me to make caramel, which I've always been afraid to try - liquids boil at a lower point at altitude and all I could picture was a steaming, sticky sugar mess but it WORKED! Spurred on by my success, I'm going to keep trying the recipes -what I really like about the book is there is enough variety to come up with some of my own combinations - Chocolate covered banana cupcakes, anyone?