Ines Aranguren, 52, of Charlotte, decided to open Skys the Limit Cake the day of her second daughter's first birthday. She had been baking since she was 12 years old but when she made Luisa's circus cake, something clicked and she decided to go for it. Since its opening in 2009, Skys the Limit Cakes have been serving up cakes, cupcakes, cookies and other sweet treats for weddings, birthdays, business events and celebrations.
Q. What drew you to designing cakes?
A. My first daughter's first birthday! I wanted everything to be just right for Maya's celebration. I had trouble having a baby. Her first birthday was a 90- person bash with friends and family coming in from out of town. We had a great time despite an early Noreaster in October 2005!
Q. What do you make?
A. Cakes, cupcakes, cake pops and balls, cookies and custom decorated cheesecakes and tarts.
Q. What makes up a majority of your business?
A. Birthdays or weddings
Q. What is your favorite type of event to bake for?
A. Birthdays are loads of fun because they are always a new creative challenge.
Weddings are not only creatively fun, but they are part of such a special day filled with love, joy and hope of a life filled with unlimited possibilities. The cutting of the wedding cake is the first project performed as a married couple!
Q. What is the hardest, best and most unique cake you've ever designed?
Hardest. Little Einsteins birthday cake. I made Saturn rings out of melted sugar and had to figure out a way to suspend them so that they looked like they were floating in midair! Best. Pink French Lace Wedding Cake Unique. Right now Im working a wedding dummy cake for a photo shoot based on the court of Marie Antoinette!
Q. What is your favorite flavor?
A. Italian Wedding Delight.
Q. How long does it usually take to design a cake?
A. Anywhere from three to 15-plus hours. It all depends on the complexity. Some things need time to dry from a few hours to several days. Other things take time to be made like complex flowers, etc.
Q. What is involved in the design process?
A. Consultation, sketches, confirmation, baking, frosting, decoration, photography and delivery. The decoration process may be started prior to baking based on the complexity and amount of work involved.
Q. What are your prices?
A. I have a $75 minimum which very quickly shoots up depending on the complexity of a design with most birthday cakes averaging between $150-$200. Wedding cakes and celebration cakes over 50 people are priced differently. Those cakes are priced on a per serving price. STL prices begin at $4 for a frosting only decoration and $5 for fondant covered cakes. Again, these prices quickly rise depending on complexity and difficulty.
Q. How are you able to bake with the kids at home?
A. They have become used to me baking constantly, so some of that allure has happily worn off. It is the decorating part that still fascinates them. I do as much as I can while they are at school or SLEEPING!
Q. Do they ever help? If so, any tips for parents baking with their children? A. No. They are NOT allowed to help with my client cakes. I respect a client and their expectation that a responsible adult will be handling their order. Despite being home based, I run a responsible and conscientious business. The girls have come to understand that clients are not paying for children to be handling their cake or cookies, etc.
Personal cakes - YES! They like to help. We wash hands and I give them tasks that they can handle. They also are allowed to pour in ingredients, roll dough, press cookie cutters or cut out fondant shapes. I allow them to have some of the material I am using - usually fondant - and then they make an addition to the cake or their own miniature version or creation. It ends up being quite fun.