Happy Birthday to Me!



I got a nice little surprise for my birthday this year: a birthday cake!

As a cake decorator, I certainly don't mind making my own birthday cake. After all, it's what got me into cake decorating in the first place: I wanted to make awesome cakes for my birthday! But it's also a nice treat when someone else gets me a cake, whether they buy it or make me one. Even if they don't really know how to decorate! ;)

This year, my boyfriend make me a cake. Although it wasn't a total surprise, since he came over to grab some cake pans and a spatula and to ask me if gel icing or decorating icing was better for the cake (protip: go for the decorating icing. And don't forget to get that little plastic wheel with all the tips on it!) But I didn't get to see the cake until my birthday, so that part was a surprise!

And I was pretty impressed with his "cake wreck!" You should see this guy's handwriting; it's basically chicken scratch, but he did a pretty legible job with that icing bag! (I would've loved to watch him trying to fit all the words on there!) I've definitely had my name spelled wrong all my life (everybody wants to call me Kelsey) so it was a very fitting 'wreck. And I appreciate the homage to all the other literal wrecks out there.  I think the best part, though, was that he really did leave out a letter in my name and had to go back and re-write it!

Also, the cake was delicious. Sure it was a box mix, but you know what? Boxed cake mix is still delicious, and it was baked with love after all! Plus, it's funfetti cake, and you really can't go wrong with sprinkles. And the icing? Cream cheese. It was super tasty AND I didn't have to do any of the work: happy birthday to me!


About



Hi! My name is Kelsie. I’m a full-time cake decorator at a grocery store (It's kind of a big deal), and I make a lot of practice cakes for my friends and family at home, too. I've been decorating since I can remember, but seriously turned to the hobby when I was in high school. During college I went pro, and worked in a couple of small town bakeries. I'm a graduate of Saint Leo University and I have my bachelor's degree in Management. I plan on combining my education with my experience in order to open my own cake shop one day. My other big life goal is to become a Certified Master Sugar Artist. I joined ICES in 2013 and my only regret is that I did not join sooner! :)
I started young!
I started this blog in the fall of 2007 to create an informal portfolio and to document my progress and my journey into cake decorating. It was a path I headed down unknowingly when I was three years old and climbing up on chairs in my kitchen to help my mom bake cakes. I haven’t turned back since!

Blogging seemed like the perfect way for me to keep my family and friends up-to-date with my cakes, and give me incentive to practice more! Over the past few years, I’ve posted on and off, occasionally getting caught up in school and work and leaving this blog dusty on the shelf. Recently, I decided to get more serious with this whole blog shindig. Let's see where this journey takes us!



Resume

Kelsie Delisle
Kelsie.cakes@gmail.com

Profile
Creative and enterprising cake decorator with experience in the service and retail arena for assisting with customer needs and creating high quality and attractive products.

Education
Saint Leo University
Bachelor of Arts in Business Management
Date of Completion: April 25, 2012
Magna Cum Laude

Related Experience
Bliss
June 2010 – February 2013
Cake Decorator
  • Developing cake designs and decorations that correspond to customer wants
  • Managing inventory and point of sale computer system
  • Coordinating with coworkers efficient project completion
  • Assisting customers and handling complaints competently and promptly
Saint Leo University Campus Ministry
August 2011 – April 2012
Peer Minister
  • Planning and implementing on-campus community building activities and events
  • Creating and distributing marketing material for Campus Ministry department
  • Operating department telecommunication system and assisting in office tasks
Betty Cakes
August 2011 – April 2012
Cake Decorator
  • Designing, decorating and delivering custom cakes
  • Maintaining full supplies of fresh baked desserts
  • Cleaning and organizing work space and retail area
  • Participating in local community events to build loyal customer base
Ingles Markets
October 2012 – February 2013
Head Cake Decorator
  • Self-motivated, independent work to effectively control production output
  • Producing a daily output of twenty to thirty cakes in an efficient and fast-paced manner
  • Coordinating and prioritizing multiple tasks to prepare for projected sales
  • Responsive to changing circumstances
  • Proficiency in satisfying customer needs
Publix Bakery
June 2013 – Present
Cake Decorator
  • Providing excellent customer service and developing relationships with the outlying community
  • Responsible for assisting in daily operations of a regional grocery store chain bakery
  • Utilizing professional training and decorating talents to create outstanding customer experience
  • Managing internal inventory and responsible for supply requisitions
Awards and Recognition
  • 2nd Place, Wedding Cake Division, North Florida Cake Show 2015

Happy Birthday, Ryan!


It looks like a pretty boring and unassuming cake, right?

Well... You'd be wrong.

First of all, because it is delicious. So never assume my cakes are boring. Delicious things can't be boring, they just can't.

This cake happens to be red velvet with an Irish cream cream cheese frosting. A little awkward to say, but certainly not awkward to eat.

And also, I may be taking some liberties with the term "red" velvet. Because honestly, with a little food coloring, your "red" velvet cake can pretty much be any color ever.

Except maybe blue. Blue is apparently a really hard color to make, because the batter is yellow-ish already, and blue dye just kind of turns... green. Which is only a problem if you're trying to make a blue-and-orange Florida Gators cake, and end up with a green-and-orange Miami Hurricanes cake.


Right. It looks more blue in person, I promise! And while Ryan is definitely a ginormous Gators fan, and not so much a Hurricanes fan, he's kind of colorblind anyway, so I was able to convince him the cake was blue and orange! ;-)

Bittersweet Nostalgia

Let's take a moment to reflect on Where Kelsie Was two and half years ago...

So I wrote this in December 2012:
It's amazing how frustrating life can get, and even when you think you're doing the right thing with your life, you can get all turned around and confused about where you're actually headed.
I graduated college back in April (whoo hoo!) and while that was certainly an exciting time for me, and definitely the biggest accomplishment of my life, it all seems so far away now. I moved back home right after graduation and started a part-time job at a bakery I had worked at for the past two summers. The part-time job I had hoped would turn into a full-time job never materialized, so I got a second part-time job at a local grocery store.
I didn't think I would like working in a grocery store bakery, and sometimes I don't. Sometimes when I have to stand there and make 16 identical carrot cakes all in a row, it gets a little boring. After figuring out how to make the cake the first time, the challenge just disappears. Now, when I get to make the birthday cakes, those character sheet cakes with the crazy airbrushing all over it? There's a challenge. Sometimes the designs are a little bizarre, and I'm always conscious of Cake Wrecks when I'm working on them. My manager is an amazing person, she's very personable and sweet, but she will also be the first to let you know not to cross her. I really admire her and her leadership abilities. And when she says to me that I've got talent, I know that she means it and she's not just saying that to be nice, and that means a lot to me.
Even though I've got great managers and co-workers (seriously, they make me love going to work), and even though I was surprised at how much I enjoyed making grocery store cakes (and have I mentioned that I've practiced my buttercream roses so much that they actually look like buttercream roses?!), I know I'm not going to work there forever. Maybe I'm just scared of being in one place for too long, but I honestly cannot see myself working there forever. Which is probably a good thing, that I have my sights set on something higher.
The problem is, I just don't know what that is yet.
I do know that I need to keep on continuing my education. Like the Lambeth class I took back in August (how I wish I could've taken the second part of the class this month! Too bad I was working two jobs and couldn't take the time...

I never finished the post, and it's been sitting in my draft folder... But I think 2012 Kelsie was on to something that 2015 Kelsie needed to be reminded of. Sometimes your journey has some weird-o twists and turns, but I remain optimistic that it will all work out in the end. As long as I can keep taking Lambeth classes.

But in the meantime, here's a picture of some homemade cinnamon rolls!


Cocoa Butter Painting


I learned recently that cocoa butter makes an excellent medium to paint with: it dries really fast, and has a really nice finish to it, which definitely makes it better/easier to work with than alcohol. So I started playing around with it and mixing it with various dusts and colors...

The only problem is that cocoa butter is a lot harder to find. I thought going to the health food store would be an easy errand to run, but I searched that store high and low for cocoa butter. I found literally every other kind of butter: almond, peanut butter, fake-peanut-butter-but-really-some-kind-of-soy-product, coconut, cashew, kale... (ok, I didn't really find kale butter, but I'm sure it was there. Somewhere.)

I found cocoa nibs, and cocoa powder, and organic free-range non-genetically modified gluten free vegan cocoa, but still no cocoa butter.

Until I went to the beauty and cosmetics section. And nestled in between the essential oils and body scrubs, was a row of various lotions like jojoba butter and... cocoa butter. As a moisturizer?! Yep. But the bottle says it's food grade 100% cocoa butter, so I bought it. Here goes nothing, right?

It's a little tricky to work with, because you need to warm it up first, and it's all this giant solid block that you kind of have to scrape out with a spoon. But once you get it to the right consistency, it is a dream to work with. Like butter. ;)

I remember wanted to take a cocoa butter painting classes at the one of the ICES events, and I really hope I'm able to attend something like that one day, because I do think the applications of this particular technique are limitless....

Plus, my whole apartment smells like chocolate right now :)

Fun with Cupcakes


My friend Kat asked me to make some cupcakes, and since she gave me free range for the decorations, I got a little creative. Fondant red ribbon roses and damask no-fade cupcake liners really made these coconut rum cupcakes pop, don't you think?

Kat, by the way, is also a pretty rad piercer who pierced my ears. You should check out her Instagram of all her awesome work!


I wouldn't say "heats up," I'd maybe say "warmed up in the microwave"

The competition, that is.

Hello, old friends!

Inspired by the recent posts I've seen of cake shows in both Texas and Louisiana, I am again going to attempt my own competition piece.

There's a cake show coming up in Miami in April and one in Jacksonville in July.

All I know is that I've got some square cake dummies, some gumpaste hydrangea cutters, and an itching to practice stringwork.

Sounds like an Adventure to me!

We'll have to see where this goes, eh?

A Little Sketchy

I'm not the best sketch artist in the world, but sometimes you have to draw out your ideas before you can bring them to life.

In this cake, some friends ask me to design a cake for their grandmother's 80th birthday. Luckily, they trust my cake decorating skills more than my ability to draw a picture of a sheet of paper. I wanted the cake to be elegant but a little fun, so I drew up something like this:



...Maybe it's a little sketchy.

The Cake is a Lie (Revisited)



So I finally got around to playing Portal, which you may or may not know, I've been meaning to do for a few years. But I got an xbox a couple years ago and bought the orange box on ebay, and here we are today.

Well, not quite. Not only did I buy the game, but I also finished playing it in time for my boyfriend to get me Portal 2 for Christmas. We've been playing the the co-op version of the game, which we just got around to finishing (we are busy people, ok!) and now I'm working my through the single player version of it.

And yeah, I realize I'm light years behind everyone else when it comes to this stuff. I'll catch up eventually.

But now, for real this time, here we are today, because in order to celebrate Valentine's Day,* and because I wanted to give this cake another try now that I actually know the backstory (instead of looking it up on wikipedia), I made another Portal cake:

This one (inspired by this recipe) has ghirardelli chocolate shavings (don't shave chocolate with a potato peeler, for God's sake! A knife is a bajillion times faster!) and brandy-soaked cherries for the filling. There's more ghirardelli chocolate mixed into the whipped cream frosting as well.

And, no lie, it was delicious.



*I mean, what are you "supposed" to get your guy for Valentine's day? Flowers? A giant teddy bear? A box of chocolate? Or maybe a cake inspired by that video game that the two of you play together.

Tickled Pink Elmo



I had a lot of fun with this cake! First of all, the gumpaste Elmo was a challenge, but I was determined to make him adorable and accurate-looking. I think I did a pretty good job; what do y'all think? I still maintain that making him furry was the hardest part of this cake, but I did find a pretty cool tutorial on Pinterest.

The cake is made with Fondarific, which is probably of the easiest fondants that I've ever worked with. (I also like FondArt but they dont' sell that in the Tampa area.)

I also used a lot of cutters from Duff and my rolling pins and modeling tools came from The Cake Tool Company (I won the supplies at the last FL ICES day of sharing). I'm really glad Michael's offers such a larger selection of cake supplies now, but I do wish there was a local cake supply store that sold more of the specialty equipment and hard-to-find items (like FondArt!)

Overall, I'm pretty proud of this one, it's one cute cake! Not as cute as the birthday girl, Marlee, though! She was just adorable! I definitely enjoyed getting the opportunity to make the birthday cake for such a sweet little girl.  Makes all the long nights and busy weekends worth it! :-)

New Website Coming Soon!

I am very excited to announce that I'll be launching a new website and blog in short order!

Right now, you can preview the site at www.kelsiecakes.wix.com/kelsiecakes where you'll find new content like recipes, a gallery, and updated blog posts!

Chocolate Festival

Chocolate fashion show, anyone?
I had the opportunity this weekend to go to the Festival of Chocolate at MOSI in Tampa. I had never even heard of this festival before, until I saw it on a billboard a few weeks earlier! I'm glad I was able to pop in for a couple of hours, though, because this event was cool.

There were samples, live competitions, chocolate and wine tastings, vendors, nifty science-y facts... Lots going on. Unfortunately I had to work during most of the events, but I hope to be able to attend and get more involved next year.

The event seems like a sweet precursor to what will hopefully be a very sweet 2014. (Puns intended.) This weekend is the ICES mini classes in Orlando, and I am way too excited for my own good to be driving so far out of my way. :-) And I'm hoping to hit up one or two cake decorating competitions to get that experience under my belt. (Strawberry Festival? Central Florida Fair? Who knows! I'll do them all!)

But if you're in Tampa around the end of January next year, I'd recommend stopping by The Festival of Chocolate. Maybe I'll even see you there!

And shout out to Grant for getting me to the festival this year!

What's not to love?

One of the vendors brought some display cakes. So gorgeous!

I'm a sucker for cute aprons!

Nobody likes you when you're 23

I have not one, but three friends whose birthday fell on the same day. So I had to double up on the cake decorating! They're both French vanilla cakes with Italian Meringue Buttercream...

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but that IMBC has the potential to give me a heartattack. I always think I've ruined it! (and to be fair, I did ruin one batch by not mixing the egg whites long enough and overcooking the sugar...) But in the end, if you just walk away from the mixer, then 9 times out of 10 (or at least 2 times out of three this week), when you come back in 15 minutes, your icing will be perfect.

Also! Add lots of flavoring! That's the secret! I learned that this go-round. At least a tablespoon, maybe two, and definitely more than you think you need. :)

Anyway, here are some close ups!

An attempt at Lambeth. (with buttercream, not royal icing)

I might have butchered the lyrics, but you get the point!

ICES Classes

I've been wanted to attend another ICES event since I went to my first day of sharing my sophomore year of college. I woke up at 4 or 5 in the morning in order to drive to Jacksonville (which is pretty far from Tampa!) to attend, see the demos, and meet other cake aficionados like myself. And was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY. (And now I wake up that early almost every day to go to work!)

I remember my favorite demo was given by Geraldine Randlesome, and I met the girls of Simi Cakes, and I have to say, everyone there was amazing and talented and nice and wonderful. But unfortunately, that was the end of my experience with ICES.

Until now!

The FL ICES mini classes are just around the corner, and registration starts in October. I did a rough calculation, and if I'm going to take all of the classes I want to, it will run me roughly $800-$900 for all the fees. That's a lot of money for someone who only makes a couple bucks above minimum wage! But I've been trying to put money in savings every month, and I think this is a good thing to be saving towards. Cake decorating is still my passion, and how long have I wanted to get more involved with ICES? Too long! :) It's one of the reasons I wanted to move back to Florida, too, because the FL chapter always seems to have a lot going on!

Well, I know what I'll be asking everyone for Christmas!

There are so many great instructors that are going to be there, and I really hope I'll be able to finish up my Lambeth education with Kathleen Lange's bootcamps! Plus I want to get some more gumpaste and maybe even isomalt experience under my belt. My 10-year plan is to to become a Certified Master Sugar Artist, which is HUGE GOAL, but one I feel confident about if I can keep learning and practicing!

Ducks!



So in the town I used to live in for a couple months, there was a road called Duck Slough. I still don't know how to pronounce it. And that story has nothing to do with the duck cake I made, I just thought it was interesting.

Now, to the cakes!

My roommate loves rubber duckies! And why not? They're cute! And since I knew she loved duckies, they were the basis for the birthday cake I made for her. Birthday cake AND cupcakes. Because, well... why not?



The only problem is, I am a procrastinator. Surprise. I swear that's what gets me everytime I go to make a cake. This time it was because I couldn't find the candy molds I needed, and I didn't have time to order them online. So I called or visited 4 or 5 craft stores, and none of them had rubber ducky molds!

Then inspiration hit, and I remembered the cake decorating supply store in Tampa. So I called them up, and guess what? They had one mold left! So I had to book it there before they closed, and silly me, I had to drive there in rush hour traffic. (Terrible idea, by the way. Someone on 275 totally almost killed me.) Never again, I say, will I procrastinate! Oh, how I wish that were true...

I am really glad that I finally made it out to Cakes Plus. It. Was. Awesome. They had a ton of display cakes that were gorgeous, and sold all kinds of supplies that I'm sure I'll need/want some day. Gumpaste flower molds, fondant, cake pans, you name it! I was like a kid in a candy shop. (That's funny right? Because they sold candy... It's a little funny?) :)

And luckily traffic wasn't too bad on the way home, so I got back in time to make the little candies, and decorate the cupcakes to look like bubbles. The cake, of course, was decorated in the same theme. (I tried to "ombre" the cake, but the buttercream I used wasn't smooth enough. I can do it at work, no problem, but the buttercream there is a lot smoother and lighter. I bet IMBC would take to the ombre effect perfectly!)

And that's the story of how I once again procrastinated, but somehow pulled off another awesome cake.

Happy Birthday Danielle!

Mom & Dad's Cake




I'll preface this by saying that I'm really bad at surprises. Mostly because by the time I come up with an awesome idea, I never leave myself enough time execute the plan in secret. Like my dad's Father's Day cake. The whole cake was supposed to be a surprise, and I was going to create it while he was at work, but I didn't leave myself enough time, and I ended up having to tell him I was making a cake and that he couldn't see it yet so he wasn't allowed to go in the kitchen until I finished. So the design was still a surprise, just not the cake.

This time, I wanted to make a super special cake to celebrate my parents' 25th wedding anniversary. 25 years is kinda a big deal, ya know?

Though I think I pulled off the "surprise" aspect of it better than I expected.

I've got quite a few cake projects scattered throughout my house: gumpaste flowers, a competition cake I was unable to enter and still haven't finished, boxes of supplies I keep meaning to organize but haven't...
So I guess they thought this cake was just another one of my mini projects. (It probably helped that I baked, frosted, and covered the cake somewhere else.) I don't think they knew it was for them until I put the 25 topper on and told them I finished their cake! 


The cake had to be chocolate AND vanilla, because my dad basically only eats chocolate and my mom is not a big fan. As far as the icing goes, it's a vanilla butternut flavored IMBC with a chocolate cream cheese filling. (Don't judge me; I used canned cream cheese icing mixed with melted chocolate chips, that stuff was delicious)


Aren't they cute? Here's to another 25 years! I can't wait to see what last minute design I come up with for their 50th anniversary! ;)