I have been obsessed with Amy Cakes for a long time because I like to eat cake, duh! The first time I ever tasted one of Amy’s cakes I was working in the city at a law firm and it had to have been someone’s birthday. It was a chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling and vanilla butter cream icing. I am not trying to say anything bad about the cake’s that my mom had been making out of Duncan Hines boxes for the last 20 something years, but THIS was different. This cake had personality; ooey gooey, moist, fluffy personality. So naturally, now that I work in the wedding industry and eat no less than 20 wedding cake’s a year, I have refined my cake tasting palette, but let me tell you, I still melt into a cake from Amy’s. These cake’s hit you all the way down into your toes.
When lacy and I decided we wanted to bring this preferred vendor series to our blog readers, I knew that two things: first, I wanted to start with wedding cakes, and second, that wedding cake baker would be Amy! I called up to the shop and spoke with Scottie! He is the younger brother of Olive, who used to do all of Amy’s correspondence. Scotty was quick to set up the interview for me on a day that the shop would be bustling with wedding cake decorating and coordinating delivery logistics for the weekend. When I walked into the shop I was surprised that it was Amy herself who greeted me. I thought for sure she would be tucked away doing only the most skilled and precise sugar work. Instead she was happily working at a huge stainless steel table with the rest of her team!
Amy looked absolutely fabulous. Her hair was pulled back to reveal the most electrifying green eyes and a bright smile to match. Her apron was covered in flour and icing and she looked exactly as a baker should. We immediately sat down to do the interview portion of my visit. As I asked my questions, Amy was thoughtful about the way that she answered them.
· How long have you worked in your field? “25 years! I have been baking professionally since I was just 19 years old.” (Later Amy said that she didn’t pick baking, baking picked her, and I think that is so telling of a truly creative person.)
· What would you have done for a living if you had not been a cake baker? “Well, if you asked me when I was in the second grade, I would have said, an interior designer, but now that I am grown, I would love to have been a stay at home mom. I would have been the BEST stay at home mom.” She beams that million dollar smile at me as she says this. Her boys are 14 and 16 and it is clear that they are her world.
· What is your favorite thing about working with brides? “Working with brides on their wedding cakes allows me to interact with my clients more than on any other type of cake! I get to go through that design process with them and really get to know them. It’s much more fun than cakes for other occasions.
· Knowing everything that you know now after having worked in the wedding industry for so long, what would you have done differently at your own wedding? “I would not have made my own cake!” I was so surprised by this answer! I don’t know what I was expecting Amy to say, but I am in awe that she found the time to make her own wedding cake! “I wish I would have taken a break and let someone else do the work.” Ahhh, now she sounds normal. I hope all of our brides will take that advice to heart. It’s totally ok to take a break and let someone else do the work.
· Would you rather have someone who knows exactly what they want, or someone who gives you creative freedom? “I like a little of both! Sometimes it’s nice to be given a general direction that a bride wants you to go in and then see where that vision takes you. It someone has a very clear cut idea without any wiggle room it can be hard because the design can’t evolve.” This makes so much sense to me. We always want our clients to be true to their aesthetic, but at the end of the day, it’s the marriage of that aesthetic to our own personal style that creates beautiful work.
· What is your favorite wedding cake trend? “Well, my personal style is very organic and natural. I love texture, I love to keep it simple. So I am really loving this kind of vintage, rustic natural trend right now.”
· What about your least favorite wedding cake trend? “On your wedding day, there shouldn’t be any rules, you can have whatever you want on your wedding day, but I don’t really like topsy turvey cakes” At this point I realized that I had a ton of cake related questions in my brain and I had to get some of them out! Rest assured folks, Amy has made LOTS of armadillo cakes, and red velvet is really just chocolate (sort of)!
· Who has been your most memorable client? This questions was hard for Amy to answer at first, but then her eyes got a little bit misty and she told me the story of her favorite bride. “I am going to cry while I talk about it, I am sorry. There was a girl whose wedding was in Clinton. She had a huge outdoor wedding and it was the very first time anyone had asked me to roll the cake out in front of the guests, normally I just set it up and leave. So right before it I roll it out it starts pouring down rain out of nowhere and all of the tables are flying and the caterers and guests start running to make sure things don’t fly away and I am standing in the garage horrified! All of the guests and the bride and groom end up in the garage with us and this bride is just standing there in her soaking wet wedding gown and she said ‘it’s ok! Let’s just get married anyway!’ She stood there with a ruined wedding and handled it with more grace and beauty than I had ever seen before.”
· What is the most important thing for potential clients to consider when they are checking out wedding cake bakers? “As obvious as it may sound, it’s best to go with a professional. You want someone who will be on time, who has lots of experience, and who will make sure the cake isn’t going to fall down. I always encourage my clients to meet with other bakers if they want to just to make sure that we are a good fit. It’s important to find a good fit”
· After 18 years of marriage what is the best piece of marriage advice that you could give to newlyweds? “I mean, definitely communication, but everyone always says that. You know, my husband has really supported my passion. He encourages me, he challenges me, but he really believes in me and in my passion!”
· What is your favorite thing to eat besides cake? “I am such a foodie! I love to eat. Right now I am on a ramen kick, so I have been eating at a lot of Asian restaurants. Lots of sushi. I try to eat my way through my vacations too, we just ate our way through San Francisco. We waited in line an hour at Waffle Champion the other day and that was fantastic!”
After the interview was over, Amy took me back into the kitchen to meet her team and watch her in action! As soon as we crossed the threshold Amy’s sweet demeanor took a backseat and it was all business. Like a well-oiled machine the whole team snapped into high gear! This is a wedding weekend after all. The first thing Amy does is grab a little yellow cake out of the refrigerator and starts painting it gold.
The whole time Amy paints, Marissa is busy making a two tiered birthday cake split right down the middle! Disney princesses on one side, and super heroes on the other. This is a birthday cake for a lucky little set of twins!! As Amy takes the next cake out of the refrigerator she says, “Oh by the way, we made you a little cake to take with you! I actually felt my heart skip a beat and I tried not to seem too excited. I finished up my visit with a group shot of the whole gang! It is so clear to me that Amy loves her business and her team. She beams with pride and passion when she talks about this amazing career that picked her and I am truly glad that it did.