June Cake Decorator Spotlight
I am so excited to be featuring lovely Karen from Buttery Baby Bakery (@butterybabybakery) located in Houston, TX, for the June spotlight! I love supporting fellow bakers in my city. Read more about this baker with the most fabulous & creative cake designs incorporating lots of gold, glitter, and wafer paper!
How did your cake decorating journey begin?
The first place to ever give me a chance in decorating cakes was a bakery in Austin called Quack’s. I originally accepted the job to sheet, bake, and decorate cookies with the addition of mixing buttercreams. They allowed me to work in the cake department from time to time, but I was slow and was not as skilled. They still proceeded to help push me to get better. It was from here that I found my style and started to make cakes at home from time to time.
I fell in love with the feeling of spreading buttercream, creating sharp edges, and perfecting my piping. I aimed for perfection, and speed. Since, I wanted to learn speed, I accepted a job at Whole Foods, and quickly learned how to be more efficient while still providing the same quality. It was also here that I learned so many tips and tricks from people who have been in the industry for over 20+ years. I learned how to ice cakes faster, assemble cakes quickly, and decorate more efficiently.
From here, I was offered an opportunity to assist in creating the entire cake program for Common Bond from the ground up alongside the former Common Bond president. I assisted in developing recipes, cake flavor combinations, designing, and creating the style and flavor combinations that is still known as their signature cakes.
This entire journey has help mold me and has helped me find exactly what I wanted for myself. The beginning was because someone gave me a chance, and the most recent was because someone believed I had more potential than I realized. If it were not for this, I would not have decided to leave my job as a Sous Chef at Common Bond to create Butter Baby Bakery.
Did you get formal baking education or are you self taught?
I moved from California to Austin to live with a family member and went to The Art Institute of Austin. I completed my 2-years and graduated with an associate degree in baking & pastry.
What is your favorite process of cake decorating?
My favorite process of cake decorating is the icing/frosting part! I could literally do this all day because I absolutely love smoothing buttercream and creating sharp edges. I can honestly say this relaxes me during the process.
What are your must haves cake tools?
My absolutely must have is my cake scraper, there is one with a white handle that I’ve used for years. There are plenty of cake scrapers out there, but for some reason I love the weight of the handle because it gives me more control. Also, a torch! I love using a torch to heat my bench scraper. This allows me to knock out some air bubbles and smooth out any imperfections with a light touch from the heat.
Is there a baking/cake decorating technique that you would like to try soon?
I would love to try my hand at sculpted buttercream! I love the texture and dimension it gives to a completely all buttercream cake.
What are your favorite cake trends?
I love the marbled buttercream, and I will always love a good drip cake.
What do you love the most about your job?
What I love most is being able to create my own schedule, it has been so very freeing creating something from nothing and watching it grow each day. It is not exactly where I want to be at the end of the day, but it is always rewarding realizing this job is entirely for me because it’s completely mine.
Where do you find your inspiration from?
I tend to find my inspiration when I am eating different kinds of foods. Sometimes what will happen is I will try a dessert or even a new dish and I will sometimes really like a component in there and it’ll spark and idea to make it into a cake or something else sweet. From there, I just get excited and get inspired by going to different bakeries.
What do you enjoy doing besides making cakes?
I love going to the beach or swimming! I love being in the sun and being in the water, it is definitely my favorite thing to do outside of creating cakes.
What is your favorite buttercream flavor?
I would have to say my favorite buttercream flavor is brown sugar swiss meringue buttercream! I love that caramelized flavor you get when you use brown sugar instead of regular granulated sugar for swiss buttercream.
My Favorite Cakes
Texas & Oranges Cake
This cake has me thinking about the Texas summers! How cute are those orange slices?
Tall & Fabulous Cake
This cake has an additional layer added to our normal four layers. That’s an additional 2” added, which is a whopping 9” tall!⠀I’m loving these additional layer beauties.
Glitzy Crystal Cake
Painted crystals and ombré blush buttercream are what my dreams are made of. Oh, can’t forget the gold too! I’ve been gravitating towards wafer paper as of late. Painting them with Poppy Paints to get a pretty water colored effect and shaping them lends for a more delicate look that I’ve been loving.
Gorgeous Floral Tiered Cake
This top tier was our signature chocolate lovers and the bottom tier was our signature strawberry shortcake. Talk about the perfect combo. ⠀
Magnificent Pink & Black Cake
This cake is a customized raspberry love that was done for a customer’s daughter’s photoshoot and it was inspired by her dress.
Glitter Ice Cream Cake
When a client said she wanted to order an ice cream themed cake for her event, I was super excited!⠀All I knew was I wanted glittered cherries, texture with piping and pretty pastel colors. I was super excited to make this baby! For more fun ice cream inspiration cakes, click here.
Beautiful Mermaid Cake
These are what buttercream dreams are made of. I was super excited to design this mermaid themed baby for a little girl’s birthday! This partial marble base has got to be my favorite one I’ve done by far. I love it when my clients allow me to create to my heart’s content, it truly does make my heart happy.⠀Check out more mermaid cake inspiration here.
Stunning Wedding Cake & Groom Cake
Creating this beauty was everything to me, but adding the final touches of florals from the bride & groom brought this wedding cake together beautifully.⠀For more wedding cake inspiration, click here.
Amazing Mini Popsicle Cake
This cake had our signature strawberry shortcake flavor with our vanilla cake batter pre-design. I’m loving this design as a mini because the cakesicles just make me scream for joy. ⠀
Unicorn Magic Cake
Unicorns will forever be magical. I still love making my custom unicorn magic cake design, especially as a mini cake!⠀For more unicorn cake inspiration, click here.
Special thanks to Karen for doing this interview! Make sure you all visit her Instagram for more beautiful cakes!