Thursday, April 18, 2013

Transition for Firecracker!

If you are looking for Firecracker Bakery updates, please refer to my facebook page and "like it" to stay on top of my newest creations!

I believe a good business has ever-changing needs and it's important to continuously reassess processes and marketing strategies.  This blog had an enormously positive impact on my business and I have enjoyed writing here for the past 4 years.  It has been a fun informal way to build my credibility, build my brand, sell my product and express who I am.

In my last overview of my business, I have decided to make a change in how I market my business.  I'm always trying to grow with my business, making changes as I see fit to meet the needs of my customers and my family.

My business facebook page is up and running and will have more day to day information, along with photos of new cakes, cupcakes or cookies and allow for communication and comments.   

I'm keeping my blog open, not sure if I will return to blogging one day or leave it as a great memory.  For now, check out Firecracker on Facebook!

Thank you for all of your support!


Monday, April 1, 2013

Engagement Cake...


Brittany and Chase we wish you the very best engagement and many happy years to come!  This cake is orange cream with orange cream cheese frosting.  The flower is a magnolia gumpaste flower sprayed with a hint of silver pearl edible air.  The gumpaste flower became non.edible when I added some light pink jewels to the center!  Brittany's colors are grey and blush, I couldn't resist adding a little bling in blush.  The sides of the cake were lightly sprayed with silver pearl as well.  Thanks so much for the order Mike and Christy!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Easter!


I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend!  Thank you to everyone who ordered Easter bursts and platters this week!  Love my Firecracker customers!  You all are so sweet and good to me.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Ivory and Champagne Wedding Cake


Thank you so much Mary for introducing me to your daughter-in-law Whitney!  What a pleasure it was planning this cake!  A few weeks ago I was at the gym when a sweet friend (Mary) told me her son Robby was getting married and needed a THREE WEEKS.  Wow, that was quick planning, I was thrilled I was able to do it.  Robby is heading to Afghanistan for 9 months and the happy couple decided to get married before he left.  Although it was short notice, how could I possibly turn down a cake for someone who is serving our country.  What a lovely couple, meeting the bride and her family was such a pleasure.  I feel so lucky to be a small part of such big fantastic celebrations!  .  Love my job!

Flavors... bottom tier is chocolate with buttercream frosting and top tier is white with strawberry filling and cream cheese frosting.  Two amazing flavors!

The border around the tiers is vanilla fondant with baby's breath under the top tier and fresh champagne roses provided by Oberer's Florist here in West Chester.  They are my preferred florist for any fresh flowers I need, I am always blown away by the beauty of their flowers and the absolute great service I receive!

Whitney and Robby

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Cookie Cakes...


Cookie cakes for Katelyn, 13, and Adam, 12.  So glad the cookie cakes were enjoyed, thanks so much for the order!

These cookie cakes are huge.  They are 16 inches!!  Absolutely delicious, lightly crisp on the outside with a soft moist center.  A big hit at parties!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How to make a cut-out cookie without a cookie cutter...

Asha requested her daughter's cake match the invite, so I simply cut out the bunny on her invitation and then placed it on my cookie dough.  I traced around it with a knife and then added baking sticks through the middle of the cookie.  After baking it I decorated it to match the bunny and stuck it in the top of the cake!  It's easy to make one custom cookie without a cutter, but I sure wouldn't want to make that would be time consuming!
Lola's cake was white with cream cheese frosting.  The frosting in the center was pink, to match the bunny.  I'm going to ask Asha if she has a photo of the cut cake, I bet it was cute surprise!  Hope you enjoyed the cake and burst cookies!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Petal Effect

I made this birthday cake for Christy, she and her husband are the owners of Book Bums. Book Bums is that really cool coffee shop and literacy center that I make burst cookies for. I met Mike and Christy about 3 years ago and I'm so glad I introduced myself to them. They are absolutely fabulous people, I have learned so much from just being around them. Christy, I hope you enjoyed your orange cream cake, I had fun trying out the petal effect I learned from My Cake School Blog.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Seeing this truck pull up...

was an absolute delight.  We had this delivery scheduled for about a month and the night before the truck was expected, snow...snow...and ice.  I practically held my breath until they arrived.  I'm so thankful they made the 4 hour drive safely from the Cleveland area.  

Our renovation project is coming to a close.  I absolutely love my kitchen and cannot wait to show you pictures!  The cabinets are installed and look beautiful, new flooring is outstanding and now we wait on the countertop.  One more week.  I can't wait to share!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Kitchen Remodel...

Most of you know that I work out of my home, I am considered a cottage foods industry.  Thanks to all of you, I have outgrown my single oven you see over by the number 1.  I can't keep up with the demand, but still want to keep this little bakery running out of my home.  Flexibility and the feeling that I'm doing something meaningful and purposeful are very important to me.  Opening a store-front bakery and making Firecracker much bigger has crossed my mind many times, but it's just not a priority at this time.  My husband and I have decided that making some changes to the kitchen will help with efficiency and allow me to continue doing what I love...inside my home, on my own time.  I feel super lucky to have this opportunity!

I've labeled the kitchen in the order of priority and need.  I'll explain each number below:
1. Oven...I really needed a double oven after the first year in this business, but we believe firmly in taking our time with big decisions and I wanted to make sure this business was something I wasn't going to get tired of.  Going from one oven to two isn't an easy or cheap decision.  It is a snowball effect of a lot of renovation, so it took some time and a lot of thought.

Are you questioning turning a hobby into a money-generating business?  If you aren't sure, just get started, "Clarity comes from engagement, not thought."  Four years ago, that was my business approach.  I couldn't stop thinking about having an in-home bakery.  I had a lot of supplies already, so I just got started.  Starting a blog, finding coffee shops, getting a designer for my logo, building a customer base, setting prices...endless hours of work, consistency and a passionate approach.  If you're willing to work hard and willing to serve a need greater than your own, your business will thrive.    

2. The cabinets...although they don't have all the nice features of the newer cabinets, we didn't feel replacing them was totally necessary. Unfortunately, once we got into all the planning we realized that the cabinets would have to go. We needed to have the oven built in and it just wasn't going to be practical to try to make these work. I got over it pretty quick once I saw all the features new kraftmaid cabinets had!
3. I love my enormous fridge, but since the snowball is roll'in we might as well move the fridge to the corner and get it out of the way.  I seriously almost got stuck in that corner a few times trying to make coffee or use the microwave.  So #3 is moving to #1 spot.

4.  This island *must* love me.  I have a confession to make...I've pretty much done everything wrong to this granite and it refuses to have any imperfections.  It has been my rock (literally!), I'm keeping this baby.  It has been moved to the basement for a platter wrapping station.  The only problem with this island is the size.  My new island will be just a bit longer and will have more functional storage/garbage system in it.

5. The microwave...well, what can I say, I just prefer a microwave OFF the counter.  

6. Deep breath, the lighting situation, it's just not our style.  Once you get into redoing a kitchen, it is definitely a snowball effect.  I would love can lights and pendant lights over my island.

7. The tile back splash...sigh.  It just reminds me of Nascar Racing or a 1950's style kitchen.  I just really don't like it.  It did come in handy for this photo as a backdrop...

8. Floor is gorgeous granite tile, but it needs to go.  If it flowed with the rest of the house we would've kept it, but here's the situation on floors in our house:
When standing on my gorgeous granite tile in my kitchen I was able to see ALL of these wonderful floors.  I do respect the previous owners, and feel everyone is entitled to their own style, BUT I will never figure out why they had so many different floors in one house.

9. Last but not least, new counter tops!!  I can barely sleep at night, I'm so excited!!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Do you need custom invitations or stationary?

If you're looking for the perfect custom invitation for that party you've been dreaming of, contact 
Erin Loftus with Sweet Viola Designs!  She will exceed your expectations!!

I just loved the invite she made for my daughter Kate's 7th Birthday Party!  She knew exactly what I had in mind!  Give her a call today, 513.314.3072

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bridal Shower Cake...


Thank you so much Alison for ordering a bridal shower cake with Firecracker!  Alison wanted me to match the cake to her invitation.  This cake is white with strawberry filling and cream cheese frosting.  Great choices Alison, thanks so much for your order, it was a pleasure meeting you.

Pea pod cake for twins...

Tiffany ordered a cake for her friend who is having twins!  After trying to add to their family for years the couple is finally expecting!  They have a 12 year old daughter (represented by the pink pea pod in the middle) who has been waiting a very long time to be a big sister.
The cake topper is a cookie on a stick with fondant half circles and leaves.  The word "welcome" was hand written with an edible marker.  All the dots and pea pods were made out of fondant as well.  The bottom tier was chocolate cake with buttercream and the top was white with strawberry and cream cheese frosting.
The soon-to-be big sister smiling here in the middle with her two great friends!

Thanks so much Tiffany!  Before you know it we'll be back to summer swim team!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pendant Flag Cake...

Happy Birthday Nancy!  Nancy is my friend JC's Mom.  Remember her from a couple posts back, she just had a birthday recently and we wore matching colors to her cake.  Well, one of the weirdo things we have in common is both of our mom's names are Nancy.  Funny, huh?  Well, I've gotten to know Nancy and she's super sweet.  Now for the cake...

I adore this cake!!  I love the rosettes mixed with stars and pearls!  I think the adding the pendant flags gave it more of a care-free fun look rather than sophisticated and formal.  I also love the sugar crystals I put on the top, I LOVE sugar crystals!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Love these Boys...


My son's last game of the season was this afternoon.  One of my favorite things to do is watch my kids play sports.  I couldn't be more proud of my husband Marc and Coach Doug for leading this team in such a passionate way.  Every weekend we saw so much energy and excitement, I looked forward to each game.  Watching John grow, learn new plays and gain confidence as a basketball player was awesome.  What a great group of kids!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Happy 40th JC!!

Everyone keeps asking if we planned the outfits to match the cake...nope!  Obviously I knew the cake was pink, however I didn't pick my sweater based on the cake.  Maybe I had hot pink on the brain, but considering it was a surprise party, JC had no way of knowing what to wear.  I thought it turned out pretty fantastic, heh?

We had a great night, Todd did an amazing job planning the entire evening.  JC is one of my very great friends, we have so much in common, sometimes it scares us both.  HA!  I'm truly lucky to have met her at Fitworks!!  She is now leading me in exercise as a spin instructor...I make the cake, she helps us burn it off.  We're a fabulous team.

The cake was all frosted in cream cheese frosting.  The bottom tier was chocolate cake with fondant zebra stripes.  The middle tier was orange cream with fondant JC letters.  The top tier was chocolate with fondant circles...cut with my burst cookie cutter!

The "40" cake topper were two big cookies!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Some February Firecracker Goodies...

I've been REALLY busy making goodies and preparing for my NEW KITCHEN.  I'm so excited, but it has been a bit stressful managing this business in a construction zone.  Thank you for all of your patience, I've been doing my best getting back to customers in a timely manner.  Firecracker had to move to Grandma Nancy's house temporarily while my kitchen and family room are being torn up.  My 'system' is a bit off, if you can imagine.  It will be more than worth it in about 6 weeks.  I'm going to post photos as soon as possible, my work crew has been more than awesome.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ladybug themed cake and cupcakes!

Valentine Ladybug Cupcakes and Ladybug cake with heart shaped saying,
I hope one of my most awesome brides from 2012 had a wonderful birthday.  I truly enjoyed your family in the planning process and still enjoy them today.  Your mom was super sweet when ordering your surprise cake!  Carrie's cake was red velvet with chocolate ganache filling and cream cheese filling and frosting!  YUM!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Chocolate Cupcakes...

Ahhhh, these are a Firecracker Favorite!  Moist chocolate cupcakes with big bittersweet chocolate chips, topped with buttercream.  Available at Book Bums later this afternoon while supplies last!

While in Book Bums check out their literacy programs for early childhood!  It's also a great place to hang out, have lunch and enjoy a hot coffee!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Orange Cream...oh so fun!

It's funny how a certain flavor can bring back so many memories of our childhood.  The orange push-up pop was something that mom only bought if she had a triple coupon and it was a holiday of some sort.  We didn't have them around all the time, but when we did it was a TREAT!  I grew up with four siblings, so being the smart shopper that my mom is, she normally went for the family size jumbo pack of Jello Pudding Pops.  I did *love* those too.  My friend Becky and I would sneak the key to the big laundry room freezer and tip-toe out of the house double fisted with pure joy in our hands.  YUM!  And when we saw the push ups come out of the brown bag, they were history in about 30 seconds.  The taste of the original push up pop was pretty amazing, so many great memories of summer fun surrounding this flavor, we just had to make it a cupcake!

I encourage you to stop in Book Bums and try out the nostalgic orange cream cupcakes!  You may want to call first and check on supply and flavor available!  Book Bums also serves super delicious coffee, lunch and dinner!  Cozy up with your kindle and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tie Dye Cake

 When Diana asked me to do a tie dye cake for her daughter's 8th birthday, I knew exactly how I was going to do it, thanks to Bird on a Cake!  If you haven't been to Robin's blog, you will have to check her out.  She's amazing!!  I love her blog and her work!!  I pretty much followed her lead on this cake, except I did a white cake inside with rainbow layers of red, orange, green and blue.  

My piping gel is in plastic zip lock bags because it was easier for me to just make the gel because I already had all the ingredients handy.  The gel is what you make the circles with on top of the cake.  It spreads super easy!  If you prefer, you can simply  purchase Betty Crocker decorating gel at the grocery.

After adding the gel to the plastic bags, I cut the one corner off the bags and squeezed out circles around the cake.  Then I used a food safe paint brush and dragged the colors from the center to the edge of the cake.  Like Robin suggested on her blog, I cleaned off my brush on a paper towel after each complete stroke through all the colors to avoid the darker colors overpowering the lighter colors at the center of the cake.

Thank you so much Diana!  I was so happy to hear that the cake was a hit!  Thanks so much for sending over pictures! The cut cake looks AwEsOmE!!  You did an amazing job on the table theme and your daughter is gorgeous!  So nice to meet you!

Sarah's party was held at Paint by Glass here in West Chester!  I heard only wonderful things about this place.  You should check it out!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Julie's HAPPY cake...

Simple cake topper!  Using a hot glue gun simply glue ribbon pieces folded over onto a cardboard circle. 
Then attach another cardboard circle over it, with a glue gun to cover up the mess!
Using regular printer paper I typed up a message on word and printed it off.  I used a glue stick to attach the final message to the cardboard round.
Happy Birthday Julie! Hope you had a wonderful birthday, we had a great time celebrating with you.  The cake is orange cream with orange cream cheese frosting, topped with a million mini-flower confetti sprinkles!  The sides of the cake are ruffled.
I met Julie through our swim club, it's been so much fun getting to know her and her boys! If you're familiar with swim team, you know how many hours you spend with team members and their families! It's been such a wonderful experience getting to know the families!

When thinking about Julie's cake, I just wanted something bright, cheery and fun, that's how I would describe her. She's sunshine all the way around! This year she needed a happy cake more than ever. 

We've had a rough past couple months, feeling heartbroken when we learned that our friend Krista was losing her battle to cancer.  Julie was a close friend to Krista, so I just felt like making her cake that much happier.

I often get asked, "What is it that you love about baking?" The thing I love the most is being able to bring joy to others with something homemade and heartfelt. I love being able to make people feel special and worth celebrating. When I feel helpless, like I can't do anything to help cheer someone up, I always turn to baking. I feel so grateful for living in such a awesome community with so many supportive friends, I'm glad I'm able to create smiles with my baking.