|One of Kristen’s beautiful cakes!
Dear Engaged Couple—What I like so much about being an officiant is all the people you meet as I go about the business of marrying people. I have met wedding planners, photographers, jewelers, florists, dj’s, musicians, the list goes on. Several months ago I met a baker and then this past week, I ran into her again. Yes, Kristin Ondishko bakes and decorates luscious, whimsical, fantastical desserts. Cake baking/decorating is what floats her boat, I guess. I asked Kristen if she would mind being interviewed for this blogsite and she agreed. Below is what she had to say about her business.
Me: Loved, loved your website: www.takesthecakeva.com. Who’s the man you are so chummy with on your home page? Is he a baker, too, or perhaps, your emotional support?
Kristen: This is not the first time I have heard this question. The other day my aunt, who does not watch a lot of television, asked if he was my boyfriend! He’s actually baker Buddy Valastro, who has a TV show on TLC called “Cake Boss”. I met him when I was at the Retail Bakers of America Convention in Charlotte, NC. He and his crew were constructing a life size Nascar out of cake(see photo at right)! It was pretty awesome to watch him in action. He is a super sweet and genuine person. Nice to know all of the fame has not gone to his head!
Me: What makes you so popular with engaged couples?
Kristen: The wedding experience is so much more than just the wedding day! I try to make every moment memorable from the initial cake tasting to the cake cutting at the ceremony! I put my heart into each and every cake I make, baking every cake from scratch and paying attention to every detail of the design from the piping to the flowers and everything in between!
Me: How do couples generally find you?
Kristen: A lot of my business is referral based. I get calls from friends of friends, but I also have a lot of wedding vendors who have worked with me in the past, have tried my delicious cakes and are nice enough to refer me to their brides. My advice to brides is: get recommendations regarding vendors from other people who have used them.
Me: I know that you work out of Louisa. That’s halfway between Richmond and Charlottesville. Do most of your clients come from Richmond or Charlottesville?
Kristen: I am originally from Richmond so I do have a large client base there, however I am starting to get more and more weddings from the Louisa and Charlottesville areas. I am lucky to be so close to Charlottesville, Richmond and even Fredericksburg. I stack and deliver each wedding cake myself, and have delivered cakes as far as 2 + hours away.
Me: How does a bride choose you? Do they generally come to Louisa? Do you offer tastings?
Kristen: I definitely offer cake tastings! You cannot choose a wedding cake without knowing it will be beautiful and delicious! I give my couples an assortment of standard cake flavors as well as fillings, and if they have a special request I am happy to bake up a sample of that too. While Louisa is centrally located, couples may not want to drive an hour from Richmond or Charlottesville for a tasting. I try to meet brides at a location closer to them to make things easier. Often I meet them at Panera or at a hotel meeting space.
Me: Can you relate a funny/interesting experience regarding the work that you do? One question I’m often asked is “ will the top of layer of cake do well frozen and then thawed and eaten at the couple’s first year anniversary? A bride told me the other day that she and her husband weren’t sure her frozen wedding cake would hold up an entire year so they ordered another small anniversary cake. The day of their anniversary she blindfolded her husband and he tasted the once –frozen-year-old-wedding-cake and the fresh anniversary cake…guess which one he preferred? The year old frozen anniversary cake! I have never conducted this test myself but I thought it was too funny!
|Some wedding treats
Kristen: What kind of lead time do you need from an engaged couple that wants you to bake their wedding cake? I would usually suggest 6-9 months. I am only able to do one cake per day, so once someone puts their deposit down I reserve that date for them. I know that once couples get engaged, they are hit with a very long list of “to-do’s” that needed to be done 2 weeks ago, such as reception site and church. I tell my brides that nothing has to be set in stone, the most important thing is trying the cakes to make sure they like the flavors and then putting the deposit down (1/3 of the cake total) to reserve the date. Then after the other more pressing issues have been tended to we can decide on the design of the cake.
Me: Is there anything else you would like to tell readers about your business?
Kristen: I ice 99% of my cakes in buttercream! There is a special technique to get it to look smooth, without having to use fondant! I use fondant for certain decorations, but nothing compares to good old fashioned buttercream! Yum!
Also, whether you are looking for me to replicate a design you have seen in a magazine, come up with something unique using inspiration from the dress and invitations, do something different such as cupcakes or cake pops or design a budget friendly cake that won’t break the bank….I have you covered! My goal is to make the process fun and stress-free and deliver a beautiful, delicious cake that will be remembered for years to come