Delicious Reads

Planning Your Military Reunion? Don’t forget the cake!

There are many things to consider in planning a successful military reunion.  What location is ideal?  How many will attend?  What travel & lodging plans are needed?  What will the length of the reunion be? How will communication and media be managed?

The foundation of a successful reunion is providing attendees with memorable experiences that are easy to enjoy and to share.  Jacksonville boasts attractions on and off MCB Camp Lejeune including the Lejeune Memorial Garden, the Montford Point Marine Museum, and beautiful waterways to explore.

The capstone of a great reunion is often the Gala Banquet Dinner.  For venues, menus and entertainment, working with professionals who know the local market is helpful.  When it comes to making a centerpiece statement that’s just as delicious as it is beautiful…  that’s where American Dream Cakes can help!

We’ve created USMC Birthday Ball Cakes, Parade Cakes, and more.  If your reunion adopts a theme, we can integrate your reunion theme into a military reunion cake that provides a striking centerpiece for your Gala Banquet Dinner.

From formal emblem and logo cakes to more fun-loving dimensional designs, we’ve got you and your Gala Banquet guests covered.  Contact our team for help planning your military reunion cake!

The American Dream Cakes Story

Video Transcript:

“People ask me why I got started? I started a long time ago.  My grandma and I… we used to do a weekly baking. Lots of cookies, cakes, rolls, etc. – for the traditional Swedish ‘fika.’  When I met my husband in ‘89, it was a blind date on Valentines. We met over in Yugoslavia and a couple of years later, we got married in his home town in Minnesota. One of his family friends made our wedding cake and that’s when I really kind of got the bug and wanted to learn how to do this.”

“About a year or so later, we moved to Germany and that’s when I had the first opportunity to actually try the cake decorating. Our son wanted a Ninja Turtle birthday cake but there were no American style bakeries to be found in Germany. So, I bought a cake decorating magazine and all the equipment that was needed and I read that magazine from cover to cover probably 3-4 times. I made the cake for him and it was such a success at the party that all the other parents were asking to see other photos, that they wanted to order cakes of their own. So, I started a small business over there to serve the military community”.

“Later, when we returned state side, which was in Atlanta, I had the opportunity to work for several great bakeries of mom and pops and some retail bakeries. A year later, we moved to Jacksonville, NC and I came to find out that there were no commercial bakeries, so I decided to start my own”.

“The importance of American Dream cakes came literally by looking through a dictionary. I knew I wanted the name cakes in there and I started from the beginning and when I came across the word American I said, well, I’m making American cakes. Specifically, American style cakes. I kept on looking and I came to the word Dream. And I said yes, I want to make people’s Dream cakes and I want to live the American Dream. American Dream Cakes, because I love making life delicious”.

“Being a business owner, I am able to give back. Our community has been so good to us over the years. Not only has it given me the opportunity to be a rotarian and support local, regional, and even international charities and give back but it has also given me the opportunity to take on culinary students, have them do their internship. I have had interns from Connecticut, New York, I have one from Montana, I have even mentored a wounded warrior in his process of leaving the Marine Corps so that he could go back home and start his own bakery. It also gives me the opportunity to support local and national charities, not just through Rotary, but through the bakery itself. We try to support as many people as we possibly can by making their Dream Cakes and support their functions.

All of this is possible because I was able to create the American Dream Cakes company. I am very proud of our team, proud of our work. Our mission is to make life delicious. To me, doing this, is living the American Dream. “

Graduation Cakes – Graduation Day is Coming!

Graduation Day. A day to signify the end of a season and the beginning of a new. 15 years in the making, and they are finally reaching that exciting day to celebrate all the hard work and dedication to education. Planning the perfect graduation party takes time and organization. Let us add the perfect, tasty piece to their special day. Much like party planning, planning for a cake takes time. If you are looking to partner with American Dream Cakes, please call ahead and make an appointment to discuss the many design options for your grad’s cake.

If you’re looking to order a sheet cake, a 2-4 week notice is recommended for ordering basic designs. 1/4-sheet cakes serve 16-24. 1/2-sheet cakes serve 32-48. Full-sheet cakes serve 64-96.American Dream Cakes can place high resolution photographs on sheet cakes to personalize for the special day. Please note, professional photographs require a signed release from the photographer to place on cakes.

Don’t Forget College Grads!

Graduating from college deserves a special cake! We’ve made many over the years and enjoy making something custom for each Grad. It’s important to start early in the process of making the decisions for design and style wanted. Many cakes require weeks, sometimes months of prep work and time to get written permission to use and create copyright protected University logos, mascots etc. We bake and decorate all of our cakes fresh which limits the amount of orders we can accept for each date. It’s never too late to inquire about availability, but we recommend placing orders 2-4 weeks in advance for Basic designs and 2-4 months for tiered and sculpted cakes.

Sheet Cakes are also a great option for College grads. Make it personal with 2 & 3D fondant work. Fondant work takes a minimum of 1 week to create. The sooner you can plan and order your custom cakes, the better!

Whether it’s for your High School or College grad, American Dream Cakes can make it delicious and memorable. To schedule your cake design consultation, please contact us today!

I Do, Round 2 For Military Couples

Many times, military couples marry far from home or on short notice before a deployment or overseas duty station.  When that happens, family may not be present for their vows and there may not be time to plan a big ceremony or reception.  A courthouse wedding or small ceremony with a few friends is conducted with plans to include family and more formal traditions for a “real wedding” at a later date.  Your wedding was as real as it gets, but some brides and grooms missed the feeling of celebrating their union with traditional elements and family present.  It’s time for “I Do, Round 2.”

A second ceremony can be planned shortly after a deployment or years later as a vow renewal.  No matter what brings you to the place you’re ready to celebrate your marriage with family and friends, it’s never too late to commemorate all your love has brought you through together.  What’s special about it this time, is that you and your spouse have some time invested in this relationship and are poised to make a ceremony even more personal and memorable because this time… it’s all about the two of you sharing your story with your world.

Enjoy a few tips below, then download the full version of our “I DO, ROUND 2” Guide.

  • Embrace the Round2 Factor: This is round 2. You’ve already “been there, done that” on some items.  Make it personal, and feel free to skip whatever fails to make your heart sing.
  • Guest List: You can trim it down or go hog-wild.  Your call.  Just be sure you include the folks you want to have present with you for the memory making.
  • Dress Code: Gown… yes.  It’s your last chance to wear that dress!  Check with regulations for your branch of service if your groom will be in uniform.
  • Vows that Wow: Decide together if you want to recite the same vows you originally made at your wedding or make it more personal by writing your own together.

What Goes into that Cake?

We’re often glad to receive compliments on the details of our cake designs and creations.  From custom event cakes to corporate cakes to gorgeous wedding cakes, we’ve had a lot of experience as cake artists.  What may surprise you is the level of engineering and time that are required to make the ornate flowers and detailed facades of the cakes we’ve had the privilege to create.

Here’s an inside peek at the process and the time it takes to construct a detailed custom cake.  This project was a recreation of the Fisher House, a facility that serves military families aboard Camp Lejeune during a medial crisis.  As a military family and milspouse-owned business, we were honored to complete this cake.  Here’s the low down on how long it took our team!

Every great project starts with a good consultation to determine the goals and vision for the cake, how many servings will be needed and any special requirements.

  1. Consultation with client at bakery. 1 hour.
  2. Site Visit:  Travel to the building and time to take 360-degree photos of the Fisher House including the architectural details like windows, doors, patios, landscape etc. 3-4 hours

3.  Diagram to scale: Now that we had photos of the building and its surroundings, we needed to convert that information to an accurate diagram at the size of cake that was desired. Drawing the diagram to accurate scale including the roof pitch.  1-2 hours

4. Edible printing: We downloaded and printed out all the photos of windows and doors on edible paper.  That paper is attached to fondant and then each piece is cut out individually.  2-3 hours.

5. Custom cake board: Because of the size, shape and weight of the cake, a custom cake board and templates were needed.  Creating those for the cake took about 2 hours.

6. Sculpt detail pieces: Our team made and formed all the details for the cake.  These included items like the patio trellis, wrap-around porch, brick walls, light posts, trees, etc.   4-5 hours

7. Bake cake layers that will be used to carve the final sculpted cake.  2 hours (not including clean up)


8. Carve the cake base: layers to the shape of the building template. 30 min.

9. Ice the cake in buttercream. 30 min.

10. Pattern and airbrush sides: Make brick pattern on sides of cake and airbrush colors. 30 min.

11. Stack and hand-carve the roof portion of the cake. Ice in buttercream. 2 hours.

12. Color and cover roof: Hand color fondant to match roof color. Roll out, texture and cover roof top potion of cake. 2 hours.

13. Assemble the Cake: Major components of the cake were assembled in the four steps below.  Items that were not attached to the base of the cake directly cannot be assembled until after the cake is moved to the location for the event.  These steps took about 5 hours

  • Secure roof portion to base
  • Attach all cut out windows, doors etc. to the cake.
  • Hand-cut fondant for roadway, walk way, grass etc. Attach to cake board.
  • Texture grass and other areas with buttercream.

14. Deliver cake at location 4 am and put final decorations in place. to avoid breakage during transport. – 4 hours

15. Inspect all details to ensure everything is in correct place. Take photos of finished cake. Move cake to display table. Clean up the area where we completed the final decoration steps.  1 hour.

The process to create the Fisher House cake took over 25 hours. It required 2-3 staff members working together to get it all complete, so all-in-all it took about 75-90 hours to complete.  Specialty carving skills, sculpting skills, and edible printing equipment were all required.  We also had to engineering proper supports, so the cake would not crack during transport and complete assembly at 4am on-site.

Custom created cakes take an investment of time, talent and materials.  Next time you see an amazing cake, remember it didn’t happen in an afternoon.  Many times, days of preparation go into the final results you see.  For our team, it’s worth the effort to get the details right.  Nothing compares to seeing the impact when we deliver a custom creation that our clients love.

7 Amazing Military Wedding Photos

If you live in Eastern NC, you may have seen a military wedding or two.  The Army, Air Force and Coast Guard have installations in North Carolina, but it’s the strong presence of the United States Marine Corps in Jacksonville and Cherry Point that have given rise to many Onslow County military weddings.

Couples can be transferred to our area right in the middle of planning their wedding, or be stationed to USMCB Camp Lejeune right after completing training, a tour of duty or a deployment.  These changes often set relationships in motion toward the altar. Couples often want to demonstrate pride in the Marine and heritage of the Corps.  Here are 7 military wedding photos that are our favorites to celebrate marriage and the military.

First, we look to Rey Benasfre of Life & Love Creative. Rey is currently an active duty member and an avid photographer.

We’re in love with these photos from Madeline Jane Photography.  Passing a love note before the wedding is reminiscent of letters from boot camp and special messages during deployments.  And inclusion of the dress blues cover and dog tags with her bouquet of red, white and blue pay tribute to the significance of the military marriage commitment.

This photo from Elise Abigail Photography captures the traditional moment of welcoming a bride to the Marine Corps family with the Arch of Swords.

And one of our favorite playful photographs comes from KatelynMann (Pinterest)

The military, particularly the Marine Corps, is a large part of life in Eastern North Carolina, so military weddings are a favorite way to celebrate the love that supports our service men and women.  There are great photographers that take help incorporate the pride of military service into the day that starts a military life together… and it can be beautiful.

Make Mother’s Day Extra Sweet

We love celebrating Mom on Mother’s Day! She’s always been there for us, so it just seems right to pause and give some extra love and attention to Mom.

Ever wondered how it all started?

The origins of Mother’s Day are found just before the Civil War.  In West Virginia, Ann Reeves Jarvis helped to organize “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to help women learn to care for their children.

After the war, these clubs helped unify a region still reeling from the conflict. In 1868 Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” where mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation.

In 1870, abolitionist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” uniting mothers to promote world peace. In 1873 Howe campaigned for a “Mother’s Peace Day” to be celebrated every June 2.

After Ann Reeves Jarvis died in 1905, her daughter Anna Jarvis began the work to create a holiday known as “Mother’s Day.” By 1914, she succeeded when President Woodrow Wilson signed the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.  Later in life she opposed the commercialization of the day, but the deed was done.  Mother’s Day is now famous for cards, flowers, phone calls home and more.

Make this Year Extra Sweet

If you’re looking for a special way to make Mother’s Day a little extra sweet, we have plenty of inspiration at the bakery.  Stop by or give us a call and we can help you brighten Mom’s day with a pretty cake, delicious cookies, a Raspberry Dee-light Torte or a number of other delicious treats.

Who knew love came with frosting or a chocolate drizzle?!  We did!  And we’re ready for you and Mom this year.

Whatever her favorite flavor, we can help you say “I love you, Mom” with just the right touch of sweetness.

 

Planning a Wedding? Plan for Emergencies.

A Free Planning Guide from American Dream Cakes Bakery

No one plans to fail… but without planning, failure is far more likely.  And who wants an epic fail on their wedding day?  Did you know that you can simply and affordably protect your wedding investment?  And your honeymoon trip.  This information is too important to skip.  Download it today and make sure you have safeguards in place for your wedding day.

 

 

 

 

I do, Round 1

Love is in the air and we can hear the wedding bells ringing; but this time, they are on the steps of the courthouse.  A courthouse wedding can be intimate and romantic without the lengthy planning and size of a traditional service.  And for many couples in Onslow County, a courthouse wedding is the perfect way to become husband and wife before – or between – military deployments.

Perhaps you’ll have a traditional ceremony later with your family, but for now, you want to make it official without hosting a big affair.  A courthouse wedding is a WEDDING!  So, with a little planning and a few special touches, your day can be just as celebratory and sharable as a church wedding.  Here are a few hints to help you pull off a simple celebration at the Justice of the Peace.

Love & License

In North Carolina, couples are required to obtain a marriage license before getting married.  Your marriage license can be from any county in North Carolina; it does not have to be from the county where you have your wedding.  In Onslow County, you can obtain your marriage license from the Register of Deeds Office at the Courthouse before your marriage date.  After you receive it, it’s valid for 60 days.  Both parties must be present, the license fee is $60 and you’ll need identification.  Don’t forget this one!  No license, no wedding.

A Dreamy Dress

Make your simple ceremony special by wearing a dress and having him wear a suit.  Just because you’ll be in the courthouse, doesn’t mean you have to skimp on the dress!  Encourage guests you bring to wear appropriate wedding attire as well.  A dreamy dress and wedding-worthy attire will make for better photographs and fun memories.

Go Pro Photography

We’re not talking about a camera strapped to your head! Schedule a professional photographer to capture photos of your day.  Having a courthouse wedding eliminates some of the traditional expenses of a church wedding, so budget in a talented photographer who can take amazing photos.  Onslow County’s courthouse is nestled in downtown near parks and historic buildings, so it’s only a short distance to a great photo shoot destination before or after your ceremony.

Tiny Guest List

When it comes to the actual ceremony in the judge’s or magistrate’s office, there may be a limit on the number of attendees.  Inquire with the office and verify limits.  You’ll want to have 2 witnesses to sign the marriage certificate.  If you wish, you can also invite close friends and family to witness your vows.  The guest list is much smaller, but this intimate group can celebrate with you.

Skip the Bridal Party

It’s not necessary to have bridal parties for a courthouse wedding.  Having a maid of honor and a best man as your witnesses are all you need.  Take advantage of the smaller setting and reduced company to save on expenses and formalities.  This day is about a commitment to love, so keep the focus on your marriage and each other.

Reception? or Not to Reception?

Short answer, yes… or no.  This one is completely up to what you and your fiancé desire. There is no big expectation for a traditional reception or party. Some couples want to celebrate privately – and that’s perfectly fine.  Some couples host a small cake-cutting only. Others skip the big wedding expense and invest in a party with friends with a few more traditional touches.

If you want to host a celebration after your ceremony, be creative in how you celebrate with your friends and family.  You can rent a beach house and have your friends and family join you there to celebrate.  Cut the cake, have some fun and the two of you can slip away to your own accommodations when you’re ready.  You are free to create your own style and size of celebration.  From picnic to beach party to fine dining… it’s completely up to you.

Enjoy the one you love and the day you are married.  You’ve got a lifetime to build more memories.  For this day, plan the little details that will make it special for the two of you and your courthouse wedding will be perfectly suited to you.

Wedding Cake Style Forecast

Your wedding date is approaching, the dress is being fitted, the rings have been ordered, and the floral arrangements are planned to perfection.  It is cake time.  While a traditional, white, 3-tiered cake with tiny columns holding every ounce will forever be a timeless tribute to romance, we have spotted gorgeous cake trends emerging in 2018!  We love to think outside the proverbial cake pan and bring to each bride and groom a delicious and awe-inspiring cake.  We’ve collected our favorite styles to hopefully excite your imagination.

Marbled Cake

The natural stone of marble has moved from the counter top to the cake!  A marble design can be dressed up for an elegant, formal feel or dressed down for an earthy, bohemian wedding.  You can trickle your main colors into the design.

In this cake, marbled finish is combined with the geode cake trend, that has been popular in recent seasons.

Naked Cake

 Naked cakes are divine.  This style of wedding cake really shows off the craftsmanship of the cake, filling, and has a very natural, “back-to-basics” feel.

Naked cakes feature the colors of the cake itself and are usually adorned with natural elements like fruit or flowers.  This trend is staying strong in 2018 and 2019.

 

 

 

Gold Foils and Metallic Finishes

Gold foil and metallic finishes add a sophisticated aspect to a wedding cake.  Metallic foils come in gold, silver, platinum and copper.  In this cake, metallic sequins cover the second tier and gold ribbons adorn the top and middle layers. Gold foil can be added in clean sections or streaked into a cake’s design with a modern, edgy flair.

 

 

Painted Cakes

 We are simply in love with hand painted cakes.  From painted textures like this watercolor tier to full panoramic landscapes and painted flowers, this custom-painted wedding cake trend is wildly popular for its originality.  White icing is your blank canvas, and your cake becomes your very own work of art.

 

 

No matter what trend or tradition you’re eyeing for your wedding cake, contact our cake design team for help with planning for size, servings, and style.  We’re here to help.