Thursday, September 18, 2008

cakelava Interviews: Rebecca Sutterby of Sugar Creations, Pt. 2

Things get even sweeter. Part 2 of my interview with Rebecca. Click here for Pt. 1.

SR: What are the top three favorite cakes you have made?

RS: Oh man, that’s like asking me to choose a favorite child! Normally, my answer is “the cake I’m working on right now!” LOL – but if you’re going to make me pick . . . .

I made this one for a birthday this Summer. It made the favorites list because it was really fun to look at in-person. I didn’t want to give it away:

Then I have to pick this one from the 2006 National Wedding Cake competition. It’s the one that placed “first runner up”:

And I really liked this one that I made this Spring. I’ve been getting a bunch of e-mails from people asking what cutters I used to make the flowers. I used pieces from the JEM Jacobean cutter set:

SR: Both Sugar Creations and cakelava were selected for People Magazine’s “A Cake in Every State” wedding feature. Your cake was beautiful, by the way! We noticed when the magazine was released, our all-bamboo design was even more requested than before. Did you find the same to be true with your winning cake and do you still have people asking for that design?

RS: Actually, I’ve only made a similar swag design once since then. LOL – see, I told ya I don’t like to make the same cake twice! Actually, I think the photo they chose for me was just sort of a generic design and nowhere near as memorable and unique as the one they chose for you.

SR: Rick and I love that Sugar Creations offers a clothing line for cake enthusiasts, and brides and grooms, all designed by you. What are some of the pieces you offer in the line and how can people place an order?

RS: That little project started out as an outlet for my repressed graphic design background. The “Eat Cake!” T’s were the first designs and then I sort of kept branching out to other subjects. Birthdays, weddings, graduations . . several occasions where you would want cake, you can also have a t-shirt to celebrate! The address to go there directly is:

SR: What are your best sellers in the line?

RS: Actually, the “flower girl” t-shirts are by far the most popular which sort of surprised me. Next, the stuff for bakers and cake decorators sells best.

SR: We like that you are active in the cake community, writing instructional articles in American Cake Decorating magazine, giving classes and promoting other bakers all over the country on your website. What drives you to want to teach others and connect within the community?

RS: I mentioned before that a lot of what I learned came from things people where willing to share on the internet. So now, I sort of feel obligated to share as well. You know what I mean? I feel like it would be wrong to sponge up all that free information and run. Plus, I’m not finished learning, so if I share what I know, hopefully others will let me in on their tips and secrets as well!

SR: How long have you been teaching classes for? Are the attendees mostly professional decorators or people learning for more recreational purposes?

RS: In 2004, I taught a series of beginning cake decorating classes at a local community college. Those students were mostly recreational decorators. I’m not all that comfortable speaking in front of groups, though, and didn’t really think teaching in a class format was much fun. Last year, people started e-mailing asking about classes on a regular basis, and one day after 2 e-mails and a phone call within just a few hours, I gave in and said, “okay, I’ll schedule one for pete’s sake!” LOL – anyhow, I worked out the date and the details and posted the info and had 30 people signed up within a week. YIKES! This was more of a professional level class and I hosted it here in my tiny little hometown. We rented a log cabin reception hall overlooking a pond just outside of “town” and people came from 15 different states to attend. I think a good time was had by all (including me) even though nobody’s cell phones had a signal out there. I still plan to keep the classes to a minimum because I just don’t want to be traveling a whole lot, but I am teaching one in Georgia at the end of October, and in South Texas next April.

SR: I asked Beryl (Byrd, of Just Fabulous Pastries) this as well. I know it’s a difficult question. Who are your top five cake designers, or people you draw inspiration from in your field?

RS: Ron Ben for his style, Colette for her creativity, Alan Dunn and Nic Lodge for their flowers, Kerry Vincent for her precision, and Mike McCarey for his 3D work. Okay, that was 6, but who’s counting.

SR: They are all wonderful designers and some of our favorites are in your list as well. What do you like to do when you aren’t making cakes?

RS: Well, we live out in the country on a few acres and have 3 sons ages 11, 9, and 6. Between the livestock, the boys’ activities, and daily chores like laundry there’s not a much chance I’ll ever get bored. Once upon a time I liked to cross-stitch and sew, but I think the last time I touched my sewing machine was to make my tablecloth for last year’s National Wedding Cake entry.

SR: What’s next for Sugar Creations?

RS: Hmmm . . . good question. I wish I had a crystal ball and knew the answer to that! For now, I’ll keep plugging along just baking. When the boys are a little older and less demanding of my time, I would like to travel more to teach and eventually write a book. That’s a ways down the road, though . . . . my main focus for now is just putting out a quality product and letting the chips fall where they may.

SR: It sounds like the present is keeping you plenty satisfied and busy, and the future certainly looks bright for Sugar Creations. We hope you knock ‘em dead in Tulsa!

END, Pt. 2

** For our next interview, we are getting in touch with our inner geek and who better to show us the way than the snarky caped crusader of geek entertainment, cakes and curiosities, our friend, Great White Snark. Join us back here on October 1st as secrets will be revealed, hilarity will ensue, and geeky cake curiosities will be discussed. In the meantime, indulge yourself in one of our favorite intelligent humor blogs, Great White Snark, and prepare to bust a gut laughing! **

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