Local artisans breathe new life into outdated projects. by Brandon Hoops, photos by Keith Borgmeyer CRUZ CHAVEZ At age 22, Cruz Chavez walked away...
Company Name: Edith Hall Cakes
Family: Husband, Larry; Daughter, Jenny; Son-In-Law, John; three step grandchildren, Izzy, Eli, Jonah and a new grandbaby on the way; daughter, Wendy, Son-In Law Nathan, and their son, Jesse.
What initially sparked your interest in cake decorating? My aunt got me interested in decorating cakes.
What’s your specialty? I especially like to do wedding cakes
What’s your favorite part of the job? Completing the cake and being pleased with how it all came together; the bride, dream and my designs make it come true. I like getting the feedback that the cake that I made was not only aesthetically beautiful, but it tasted good too!
What is something that people probably don’t know about cake decorating? The unbelievable amount of time that it takes — from little tiny flowers, fine details, sculptured cakes and handmade items such as the cars, train and pebbles on the cake pictured.
How many hours did you spend decorating the cake we photographed at the COMO Living studio? I spent about 12 hours on this cake.
What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened when working on one of your cakes? Several years ago I was asked to make a life-size, old-fashioned coffin cake. My husband, Larry, tells me we have a problem. We needed to have help loading up the cake, so he calls some of the neighbors to help with this task. Including us, we had six “cake bearers.” I finished the cake and at the same time people started showing up. We all met in the front lawn and while we were waiting for the last two guys, one of them said, “How many people is it going to take to load this cake? What do you have in there, a coffin or something?” I told him yes, but he did not believe me. The other two people showed up, I opened the doors and to his surprise he saw the wood grain coffin to serve 1,000 people complete with a mountain of 75 red roses on the top. “You weren’t kidding!” he said. We all had a good laugh. Off I went with my cake because after all, there was only one seat left in the car. I felt very odd delivering this cake. As I approached the party, an officer was directing traffic. I rolled down my window, and the wonderful smell of chocolate icing floated out. He saw the cake and couldn’t believe it. He yelled to another officer directing traffic, “You have got to come see this cake! You won’t believe it!” I parked, the horse-drawn glass hearse pulls up, and it takes six more guys to transfer the coffin cake to the hearse. I heard back from some that people thought the cake was a real coffin. Some people thought someone was going to jump out of it and were very surprised when they started cutting the cake. I like to have drama, suspense and feel good in the story. I always enjoy when I get great reactions and comments back from the client or those who got to experience.
When is your busiest season? May through October
What brings you joy? Being a part of cake world and having overly pleased customers. Outside of work, being with my grandson brings me joy and spending time with my family and friends.
Do you listen to music when you’re working? If so, what kind? I listen to audio books, anything from Christian literature to fantasy. Some of the authors I like are Karen Kingsbury, Beth Wise, Debbie Macomber, Nicholas Sparks, John Grisham and James Patterson. I check out my books online at the Boone County Library.
Greatest accomplishment? To this point, getting First Runner-Up at the Grand National Sugar Art Show in Tulsa, Oklahoma (oklahomasugarartists.com). I am pushing myself to win Grand someday. Another honor and accomplishment was being Kerry Vincent’s food stylist on Food Network’s “Save My Bakery” for nine out of the 10 episodes.