Local artisans breathe new life into outdated projects.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: Since this is my hobby, I haven’t come up with a catchy name yet. I would probably go with something related to “Cake Girl.”
How long have you been decorating cakes? I got started making my own kids’ cakes when my oldest turned 1. I really got to be interested in the “fancier” decorating five to six years ago.
What initially sparked your interest in cake decorating? I always liked to have my kids pick a theme for their birthdays and thought it was fun to make them a cake of their choice. I love to bake and make pretty things, so I took on the challenge. Growing up, one of my aunts made me cakes for special occasions, and I really appreciated and remembered them the most.
What’s your specialty? I love to do birthday cakes the most. I can do both fondant and buttercream.
What’s your favorite part of the job? The kids’ reactions to the seeing the cake for the first time. I wish I had a camera ready to get their first expression when they see their cakes.
What is something that people probably don’t know about cake decorating? I have found that baking the cakes to a “just done” level makes for a moister cake. Then I freeze it until I’m ready to use it. I also like to frost the cake partially frozen to get less crumbs in my first layer of icing.
How many hours did you spend decorating the cake we photographed at the COMO Living studio? Now that’s funny. I started with a design I had never done, and after and hour and 45 minutes, I tore it all off and started over. Sometimes that happens, and I have to start over if I don’t like it. Not counting that time, it probably took two hours of decorating plus an hour of baking.
What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened when working on one of your cakes? Recently, I made a fondant NASCAR cake. I was just finishing up by writing “Happy Birthday,” and I spelled birthday wrong. I couldn’t believe I did it, and it was not with icing. It was with the edible marker. There was no starting over, so I quickly decided I could pipe icing over the marker. It all worked out, but now it is the running joke with my kids whether or not I spell things right. I always double-check names and ages before I put them on the cakes!
When is your busiest season? All year. I have built a lot of friendships through the years, so I am busy all year.
What brings you joy? The smiles on the faces of those getting the cakes and knowing I helped make their special day a little bit sweeter. Sometimes, it comes when I surprise my friends with a cake they had no idea they were getting.
Do you listen to music when you’re working? If so, what kind? Music not so much, but I turn on the Today Show and Rachel Ray. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I like to watch it when I’m decorating cakes. If I start a project after lunch, I might turn on KLOVE. As crazy as it seems, I like silence since I have lots of noise with four kiddos.
Greatest accomplishment? Every cake is an accomplishment. I try to do something special and different each time.