Mandy Mills Rappe, 29, of Concord had been making cakes for family members at no charge for several years. Soon, people started approaching her about making cakes for money so she decided to open Pure Confections in July 2010 as a way to supplement the familys income. Over the past year, Mandy has almost doubled her business and often finds herself booked for several months in advance! So if you want a cake - book now!
Q. How long have you been baking?
A. I have always been interested in food in general, but after taking a home economics class my freshman year of high school I was intrigued by the science of baking. We baked and decorated one cake with the grocery store style icing roses and I was hooked!
Q. What type of fondant do you use and how is it different from traditional fondant?
Most bakers use a traditional store bought fondant which tends to be harder when it dries and is pumped full of chemical. For example, one of the most commonly purchased fondant brands is Wilton. Wilton fondant contains sugar, glucose syrup, hydrogenated vegetable oil (palm and rape seed), water, glycerine, tapioca starch, gum tragacanth (emulisifer), carboxymethyl cellulose (thickening agent), artificial flavor (vanillin), sodium acetate (preservative), and acetic acid (preservative). That is a whole lot of chemical and preservative. It has an artificial taste and doesnt taste very appetizing.
My fondant is a homemade Marshmallow Fondant that contains only marshmallow, powdered sugar, and water. It is much softer in texture when it dries and literally tastes just like a marshmallow. I have yet to not be able to convert a fondant hater into a fondant lover after they taste mine.
Q. What has been the most challenging fondant figure to make?
A. Hands down, Olivia the pig was the hardest to do. Typically animals are fairly easy, but Olivia isnt your typical animal. She is very animated looking and wears a tiny little pear bracelet with her fancy dress!
Q. How long does it usually take you to design a cake?
A. I usually spend two to four hours doing research and working with a client on design and cake specifics. The actual time spent on each cake varies greatly based on design, but most take two to six hours of decorating time.
Q. What has been your favorite cake?
A. Thats a hard question because there are so many that I love! I think I have to go with a cake designed for a little girls first birthday. It was an owl theme and the cake was just so much fun! The owl is made out of rice krispy covered in fondant hearts to look like feathers. The egg is made out of gumpaste as is completely edible.
Q. Who have you made cakes for?
A. Primrose Academy, Southgate Masonry, Time Warner Cable, Ronald McDonald House, Harrisburg UMC, The Mommies Network, Carrigan Farms, and Snookysmiles Photography are a few of the businesses that frequently request work.
Q. What else do you bake?
A. Specialty cupcakes (ex: Tagalong Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Honey icing vanilla cupcake with a whole Tagalong cookie baked inside!), decorated cupcakes, and decorated cookies is typically what I do along with my cakes.
Q. Do you allow your children to help in the kitchen when you aren't working?
A. My daughter is just over one so she hasnt really been in the kitchen with me yet other than making cookies some, but my son absolutely loves to help in the kitchen. We bake and decorate cookies all the time. He likes a little cookie with his icing and sprinkles! He loves helping with pancakes, mashed potatoes, homemade pizza, etc. Anything that I will let him do he is all for it! Hes a mini-me in the kitchen..
Q. How are you able to manage running Pure Confection with family life?
A. Life if very hectic between my full time day job of property management for nearly 1000 Wells Fargo branches and managing my baking business. Throw in two kids, two dogs, a house, and a husband into the mix and things can get a little crazy sometimes. The saving grace for me is that my husband and family are all very supportive of my business and pitch in double time when my clients need me.