Celebrating our 5th Year Anniversary

August 8th, 2014

A Letter From Eileen

 

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 5 years since we first opened our doors at Sweet and Saucy Shop. This has definitely been an amazing journey and quite the wild ride. The direction of your life can certainly change in a short period of time, and my life has done a complete 180 degree turn since my daughter Melody first approached me to partner with her to open a dessert shop! The first question I was asked when people learned of my new adventure was “You’re starting a business in this economy?” The recession had hit California, and stores were closing doors, not opening new ones. Both Melody and I have a deep and abiding faith that if God leads you in a certain direction, He will provide for you, so we decided to step out in faith. Our Heavenly Father has certainly been faithful, and we thank Him for His Hand of provision and blessing in this endeavor.

They say “A picture is worth a thousand words” so I thought a quick pictorial tour of the past five years would be the best way to tell our story. If you know Melody, you know she loves to take pictures, so it was no easy task choosing a few photos from her collection of 7,000 to tell the story. But I’ll try!

 

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Construction begins…I don’t think we really knew what we were getting ourselves into!

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Our front counter looks pretty sparse compared to our display now. Throughout the 5 years we have added dozens of different mini desserts and goodies to our menu.

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OPENING DAY! Melody’s husband Tim even helped behind the counter that first day! Tim is the technological wizard and is responsible for creating our beautiful website.

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Originally, we started with five of us and slowly began to add more employees. It’s hard to believe that we now have a staff of 25!

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We decorated our back office to be able to conduct tastings for our clients, but after four years….

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It was wall-to-wall consultants, and we knew it was time to move!

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Melody’s first wedding cake made it into The Knot Magazine, and things began to explode!

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We got a call from the Oprah Show for sugar cookies with edible images of the”O” Magazine with Ellen Degeneres on the front cover. The cookies were delivered to The Ellen Show and given to the studio audience. We made one huge cookie which Ellen showcased on television. My sister Rosie is shown here displaying the cookie. Family is so important to us and being able to work with my sister is part of the fun! Some people may not realize that my older daughter Sara makes almost all of our gorgeous sugar flowers for the cakes so it really is a family business!

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TLC asked us to be a part of their new show Fabulous Cakes, and they filmed us for 3 LONG days! Kyong, our head cake decorator, worked on the groomsmen cake with Melody, and the bride surprised the groom with a replica of his dog. The wedding cake and dessert table were quite a spectacular sight!

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It’s always fun to see our creations in magazines! Melody and I set up the display for Miley Cyrus’s 18th birthday party, but we had offers from a lot of the gals to deliver to the birthday party for John Stamos!

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I’m not sure what we were thinking when we decided to open a second shop while Melody was pregnant! Blake Eileen arrived in the midst of construction, and she became a familiar face on the job site.  It was a crazy time, but we love our Newport Beach location!

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A shop party at our new location before the Grand Opening!  In the midst of our party, one of the OC Housewives walked in! Gotta love this location because you’re never sure who’s going to walk through the door!

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After months of work and endless decisions, we really appreciate how beautiful it turned out.

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Definitely the most valuable aspect to our business is our fabulous staff! Melody and I feel we have some of the most talented employees in the world of desserts and our success is largely due to these gals!

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People often ask if there is a lot of drama at our shops with this many women! Absolutely not! These gals work together well…and play together too! We do have the occasional fella working at Sweet and Saucy! My nephew Luke helped at our front counter and is pictured here at our Christmas party several years ago.

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And who could forget Graham! What guy wouldn’t want to work at Sweet and Saucy and be surrounded by these bevy of beauties!

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An important aspect of our business is handled by our very competent consultants. It’s their friendly voices you’ll hear when you call our shop. The list of their duties is endless with emails, phone calls, tastings, and on and on!  Our team had a blast at The Cream Event this past year!

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Our current cake decorating staff led by Kyong Bell (pictured far left.) I have witnessed hundreds of their creations, and I am still amazed at their talent!

 

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Our kitchen staff is capably managed by Jennifer Meek (pictured third from the right). We have hundreds and hundreds of orders pass through our kitchen, and I always marvel how efficiently and smoothly it all goes! And the aromas that come out of this room are unbelievable!

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Lisa was gone for the group photo, but we couldn’t leave her out!

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Cortney Pritchard (pictured left) is our office manager.  A big portion of our business is weddings where every detail is important. These gals do an amazing job of getting it right!!

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Katherine Jimenez and Samantha Gastelum are the gals who keep our Newport shop running smoothly.

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My husband Gregg has supervised the construction of all three of our shops. Fortunately for us, he has boundless energy because 3 shops in 4 years is quite an undertaking. It became apparent that we were rapidly outgrowing our original shop in Long Beach after only four years in business, so construction began in March, 2013 for our shop in the Bixby Knolls area of Long Beach.

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The calm before the storm…getting ready to open the doors for our Grand Opening!

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We were thrilled at the response to our new location! From the moment we opened the doors at 11:00 until we closed at 5:00, people were lined up out the door!

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Without a doubt, the best part about these last 5 years is getting to work with my daughter! This is one of the first dessert bars we set up. In the beginning, we took the orders, Melody made the cakes, and we delivered them too!  And trust me, I washed my share of dishes those first few months! It was exhausting, but we loved doing it together. I have always recognized that Melody was very capable and talented even as a young girl, but to watch her flourish in a business that she is passionate about has been a joy!

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And who knows…we may be grooming another generation to work with us!

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Both Melody and I recognize that we would not have achieved this success without our wonderful customers. Our best form of advertisement has always been satisfied customers sharing Sweet and Saucy with others. We want to thank you for making our business what it is today, and we look forward to many more years of yummy desserts!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Behind the Scenes @ Sweet & Saucy: Pirate Cake

August 8th, 2014

Hey there! This post, we’ll be discussing this cute pirate themed cake. It’s a pretty simple design, with some semi-complicated accents, that altogether give a totally fun and professional look!

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So here’s how we do it!

As you might remember from our previous posts, we like to make our decorations beforehand, so as to allow them time to dry.

Kaytee starts with the treasure chest: she uses Rice Krispies and white chocolate. She doesn’t worry about it being perfectly straight or flat, as it is supposed to be an ancient chest, after all.

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Then, she takes the brown fondant and rolls it over the wood grain impression mat, then places it on the rice krispie, adhering it with shortening. She takes gold colored fondant and attaches it to the brown fondant using water.

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Then to make the coins, she uses the back of a piping tip to make the shape, then impresses them with the inside of a big piping tip. She then paints them with copper color.

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The finishing touches are to add the coins to the chest, and the top of the chest, using white chocolate and freeze spray. She props up the top using toothpicks.

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For the skull, she cuts white fondant out in the desired shape, adheres black fondant to it, then wraps it and puts it in the fridge, so that it will still be malleable a few days later, when the cake will be assembled.

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The final decoration is the map. She rolls out tan colored fondant, curls up the edges, then paints on it using gel colors. This also gets put in the fridge to await assembly day. However, in order not to have saran wrap glued to the sticky surface, this gets put inside a cake pan, then wrapped.

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We’re going to go through the buttercreaming process as well. Emily is our buttercreamer for this cake, and she shows us how we buttercream our cakes here at Sweet & Saucy. We fill our cakes, using Swiss meringue buttercream as a dam around the edges. Then when the cake is filled and set up, we use piping bags to frost. We fill the bag with Swiss, cut the tip, then hold it in place while squeezing out the buttercream and turning the cake on her turntable. Once the cake is covered, she uses her offset spatula to flatten the top, then uses a flat edged scraper to smooth the side. Once the sides are smooth, the tops will require pushing in with her offset again.

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Then the cake gets put in the fridge, allowing it to set, usually overnight.

 

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Kasey takes over the next steps. She rolls out red fondant super thin, as they will become stripes on the bottom tier. She uses the metal pasta strip cutter to get even stripes.

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Then she attaches the remaining decorations to the cake, using water and white chocolate with freeze spray as adherents.

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pirate (15)And voila!

 

Behind the Scenes @ Sweet & Saucy Shop: Ratatouille Cake

August 4th, 2014

Hello! This post we’re going over a cake inspired by the movie Ratatouille! Kyong, our head decorator, put this cake together, and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!

Here it is in final form:

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First off, our very helpful decorator, Natalie, carved, filled and buttercreamed this cake, so serious thanks go out to her. This cake was made up of smaller layers on the bottom and wider ones on the top, and she did an excellent job of carving them to be even, as seen in this excellently-photobombed picture.

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Kyong’s first move is to make the wooden spoon and set it aside to dry for a few days. All of us are fooled by how realistic it looks, even to the point of complaining that someone has been leaving their tools around. She air dries it in a pile of flour, allowing it to maintain its bowled shape at the top.

The bottom tier is to resemble a chef’s hat, so Kyong rolls out white fondant and cuts it into even strips using our amazing metal pasta strip cutter, placing the strips onto the cake as shown.

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She uses the extruder to get perfectly round lines to border the edges of the strips, adding them with water. Then, because this is a two-tier cake, she places dowels into the bottom tier.

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She then covers the second tier in blue fondant, and stacks it onto the chef’s hat, adhering it with glucose. She makes sure to have carved out an indent from the buttercream on the top tier, as this will become a soup pot.

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Then, she places soup colored fondant into the indent, filling it with fondant vegetables, adheres the handles to the pot with white chocolate and freeze spray, then adds the remaining details, such as the client-provided figurines and the fondant letters she cut out with an X-Acto knife. She gives it a little steaming, and voila! Soup’s on!

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Thanks and see you next time!

Behind the Scenes @ Sweet & Saucy Shop: Mike Wazowski Cake

July 30th, 2014

Hey there!

This post, we’re discussing a carved cake of one of the best Pixar characters to date, Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc.! Our cake decorator, Kasey, made this little guy, and what a great job she did! Kasey’s a big fan of carved cakes – especially when they’re characters she loves. Just the other month, she made an awesome Dragons Love Tacos carved cake! Anyway, here’s the how-to. Enjoy!

Here’s the final product:

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Now let’s get started!

At Sweet & Saucy, we like to make our decorations before working on the actual cake, so as to have them be dry and movable without fear of breaking them when it comes to attaching them to the cake. For this, Kasey makes the birthday hat and present out of rice krispie squares and white chocolate, covering them in fondant afterwards. How Kasey gets the perfect square edges on the present, is she takes a metal surface and heats it up, then places the white chocolated box onto it, so that the surface evenly. For the pompom and frill of the hat, she uses extruded fondant pieces.

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So the first – and some might argue, most important – thing about carved cakes, is carving your cake accurately to be a great base. Seen here, Kasey’s carving the cake layers into Mike’s shape, before filling it.

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Then, she transfers the cake onto a Masonite board (for stability), and frosts it with Swiss meringue buttercream.

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Next, Kasey carves out the eye and mouth area from the buttercream.

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She then fills in an area for the cheeks, mouth and surrounding the eyelid with fresh buttercream, so as to allow her flexibility when the cake is fondanted. Then she covers the cake with a mixture of fondant and modeling chocolate. If you’ll recall from our previous Behind the Scenes post, modeling chocolate is useful for its flexibility and ability to hide seams. So when you’re working with odd shaped designs, mixing it with your fondant allows it more time before drying out, and better chances of hiding your seams.

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The arms – pictured above – are made of the same mixture of modeling chocolate and fondant, draped over flower wire, dowel supports and rice krispie for the hands. The eye ball is white fondant. The present is attached with white chocolate and freeze spray.

Next, she paints the iris. She makes a circle of turquoise fondant, glues it onto the eyeball with water, then uses gel colors diluted with vodka. Vodka is also useful for removing painted color from fondant, simply by using a clean brush and dabbing at the unwanted spot.

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Then she fills in the mouth area with black fondant, adding teeth with white fondant.

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Then she covers the board with purple fondant, using shortening to adhere it to the board (some cake decorators use piping gel – Kasey prefers shortening, as it allow flexibility, whereas with piping gel, once the fondant touches it, it is stuck). Finally, the accessories and legs are added (using white chocolate and freeze spray as adhesive), the cake is steamed, and voila! Mike Wazowski, everybody!!

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Thanks and see you next time!

 

Behind the Scenes @ Sweet & Saucy Shop: Pororo Cake How-to

July 28th, 2014

Hey there, welcome to a new series we’re starting up, where our cake decorators share with you the ins and outs of one of their favorite cakes of the week. We’re really excited to show you what goes on behind the scenes!

This post, Kaytee shares with you the makings of a cute little cake featuring Pororo the Little Penguin, a South Korean cartoon character. She chose to feature this cake because we Sweet & Saucy decorators love cute animal toppers (especially when they’re wearing aviator caps! What?! Ahh!), and any excuse to highlight them is definitely welcome. So here goes. Enjoy!

Here’s the final product:

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Now let’s see how we get there!

To begin, here’s a trade secret: when we make those toppers you folks love, a lot of the time, they’re made of Rice Krispie squares. Fondant is really quite heavy, so this allows us to have elaborate toppers without damaging the cake supporting them. So first, we mash the squares into the shape we want:

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Then, we cover the shape with melted white chocolate:

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After this, we’ll shave off the extra bumps. Sometimes – if we’re feeling particular about the shape being very smooth – we’ll cover it in modelling chocolate.

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Then I cover the ball in red modelling chocolate. I choose modeling chocolate for this particular topper because of its flexibility and ability to cover seams using your own body heat through your fingers.

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Then I do the same with the remaining shapes.

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You’ll notice that there is a skewer going through all the parts in the picture above; this ensures that the topper is secure. The skewer also goes through the styrofoam, much like it will in the cake, in order to hold the topper up, in its place.

Then, I add the details, using water to adhere them to each other.

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Another neat thing about modeling chocolate is that it hardens when cold. So I make the wings out of modeling chocolate, then freeze spray them to keep them in the desired position. I use chocolate brown petal dust to fill in the creases on the cap.

Then for the rainbow, I roll out pretty thin red fondant. Since it’s the top of the rainbow color, I want to use it as the base. I roll out thicker bands of each color, then cut them uniformly, using a metal pasta strip cutter that has been a lifesaver back here. Each band is adhered to the base using water.

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Once the cake has been buttercreamed and is sufficiently hardened, it’s time to put the decorations on, and voila! You now have a Pororo cake! Look at that cute little guy!

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New Photo Shoot dates at Sweet & Saucy Shop

July 7th, 2014

I am excited to announce that we have partnered with Annie Vovan Photography and Delilah Beauty again to offer more amazing chances to get yourself all dolled up and photographed with your cute little ones!  You can email or call her to sign up!


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