Hi everyone! I am back with January’s Cake Decorator Spotlight on Wahida from CRAVE ’ems. She is located in Southern California, USA. I love her unique take on cakes and desserts ranging from cakesicles to treatboxes. Read on to learn more about the baker!
Can you share some about yourself?
My name is Wahida Liapis, baker, and owner of CRAVE ‘ems. I’m a stay-at-home wife and mother of two, precious cupcakes, aged 9 and 4. My family and I share special moments in the kitchen, cooking and baking together – memories we will cherish forever. I show my love and appreciation for people through food. When others enjoy my creations, I get a sense of genuine happiness and fulfillment. I bring that same, lifelong passion to my business and the customers I serve.
How did your cake decorating journey begin?
CRAVE ‘ems was born in 2012 as a simple hobby in my kitchen. I started with banana bread because my young daughter loved it. I soon started experimenting with several different flavors for my mini loaves. I began sharing with friends and neighbors and it kept growing from there. I spent a period of time creating different kinds of cake pops and gradually moved into celebration cakes, cupcakes, wedding cakes, etc. My background is in business, culinary arts, nutrition, and restaurant management. I’ve spent several years in the kitchen experimenting, developing my recipes, and honing my skills. I’ve enjoyed taking classes and watching some great “how-to” videos through social media. I even had the wonderful opportunity to visit with and learn from world-renowned baker and cake decorator, Sylvia Weinstock. Today, with the encouragement of family, friends, and loyal customers, CRAVE ‘ems is entering its 4th year as a licensed business with several offerings for the public to enjoy.
What is your favorite process of baking/cake decorating?
My favorite part of the process is the actual decorating of the cake once I’ve had the chance to learn about my client and the person(s) being celebrated. I want my customers to share their ideas and their vision for the cake they want so I can incorporate their uniqueness into my creation. I do research and try to learn as much as I can about them to capture their vision.
What are your must haves cake tools?
I must have my acrylic cake scraper. I have tried metal scrapers but really enjoy using the acrylic one that I found on Amazon.com for a reasonable price. Having a sturdy, well-balanced turntable is also a must-have. I found mine at my local cake store. It’s made from aluminum and has a non-slipping silicone bottom which I like very much. Recently, I became aware of Sweet Stamp and I am in love with their products. Their stamping system is awesome, so many sayings and quotes that you can put on cakes and cupcakes to personalize them.
What are your favorite cake trends?
My favorite cake trend is probably floral drip cakes. Those are very popular. I love putting fresh florals, macaroons, and a drip on a cake. It’s classy, fun and so beautiful. Another cake trend I would like to try more of is the use of a palette knife to create florals and textures on the cake. I find that style so whimsical and unique.
What is your preferred buttercream to work with?
I love American buttercream. After several attempts, I have come up with a recipe that is air bubble-free and will give you clean and smooth sides.
Where do you find your inspiration from?
My customers give me inspiration! They often come to me with their “wish list” of ideas, colors, characters, styles, etc., and it helps me get my creative juices flowing. I also enjoy sharing ideas with other bakers through social media. There are so many wonderfully talented artists out there and I love learning new techniques from them.
For 2021, what do you hope to accomplish for your cake business/content?
This year, I plan to experiment with shipping some of my products around the country and developing the proper packaging for mail order. I also hope to develop my interest and skills in photography. Over the last couple of years, having taken countless photos of my cakes and other goodies with my phone’s camera, I’ve discovered that I really enjoy photography! I want to feed that newly discovered passion, take even better pictures of my work, and who knows what else!
Share a fun fact about you!
A few years ago, I took my daughter to see the animated movie, Leap, a wonderful story about a young girl from an orphanage who overcomes obstacles and chases her dreams of becoming a ballerina. My daughter and I were both so inspired by this story that I decided to turn Crave ‘ems from a hobby into an official business. My family was so proud of me, and I’m proud of myself for making that decision.
I was born in Tanzania (home of the Lion King!) and my uncle who lives there has a line of colorful African tour busses named after me, “Wahida’s Coach.”
What is your favorite dessert?
Tuxedo Cake, which is a combination of vanilla and chocolate cake layered with chocolate and vanilla mousse! Delicious!!
My Favorite Creations
Vibrant Mermaid Cake
I love this mermaid cake. The vibrant colors and the waves make this cake come alive.
Striped Ice Cream Cake
This is a popular cake of mine. The ice cream, macarons, and drip make this such a fun cake.
I love making cakesicles. This blend of sprinkles inspired this design. They are filled w/ delicious chocolate cake.
Colorful Candy Cake
I hosted my first collaboration with a good friend of mine. The theme was candy and this cake is the perfect way to showcase all kinds of candy!
Gorgeous Black & Red Wedding Cake
This 5-inch cake was for a Halloween themed wedding. I love that gorgeous red rose. The black macaroons and gold leaf really make the cake stand out.
Pastel Mermaid Cake
This whimsical mermaid cake was for a sweet little girl’s birthday. The soft colors and the gold shells/mermaid tails really bring out the beauty in this cake.
Ombre 40th Birthday Cake
The perfect cake to ring in your 40th birthday. An ombre effect with the colors, florals, and macarons really bring this cake together.
Wild One First Birthday Cake
Probably one of my favorite cakes. I love the 3D effect of the bear! The perfect cake for a wild one theme.
Rainbow cakesicles! How fun are these?! The marbling effect really is fun but also messy. The inside of these cakesicles were Funfetti (vanilla cake with sprinkles).
Simple Heart Cake
This cake is simple but elegant. I piped the buttercream on a popsicle stick and let it freeze. I love how the heart makes a statement all by itself.
Blue & Green Treatbox
Treat boxes are becoming very popular for me. This box was made for a little man who turned 12 and loves green and blue. The box contains cakesicles, macarons, cupcakes and filled with other candies.
Thank you so much, Wahida, for doing this feature! Make sure you follow her on her Instagram to stay updated on her future creations.