North Iowa Neighbor: Cake designer gets national recognition

GARNER – What started as a gift basket business has turned into a booming cake decorating business and national recognition for a Garner woman….

GARNER – What started as a gift basket business has turned into a booming cake decorating business and national recognition for a Garner woman.

Janet Hall opened Granny’s Corner in a little shop out of her home three years ago and was featured in the November/December issue of American Cake Decorating.

“I was so flattered,” she said about being featured in the magazine. “Really flattered because they really have a lot of fantastic artists in the magazine.”

Hall was included in the magazine for a cake she designed in April to look like the Avery Theatre in Garner. She made it for a theater fundraising auction.

The magazine decided to feature the Avery Theatre cake of all of the cakes on her website, The two-page spread included photos of the cake and a little bit about how Hall made it.

The approximately 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide cake took Hall about two weeks to make and included different techniques and a lot of planning.

Some of the techniques included different types of frosting, airbrushing for color, edible ink, poppy seeds for the roof and different types of cake. In the end 99 percent of the cake was edible.

“It’s a long process when you do them like that,” Hall said.

It’s one of the more elaborate cakes she has made, but she has made others, too. An ear of corn, football helmet, a purse and fire engine are just a few of the other sculpted cakes she’s made.

“You kind of give her an idea and she goes with it,” said Cheryl Hanna, Garner, who’s had Hall make cakes for her grandchildren. “She’s so creative.”

Other friends agree.

“I think she found her talent with cake baking,” said Mary Clark of Garner.

Hall learned how to sculpt and decorate cakes about three years ago after opening Granny’s Corner.

Originally she opened the business to sell gift baskets, but around the time it opened the Garner bakery closed. It was then that she began to get calls asking her to make cakes.

“I decided, ‘OK, there is a need here, and I need to pay attention to it,'” she said.

Hall began taking a series of Wilton cake classes to learn the tricks of the trade. Her creative and artistic background, including painting, allowed her to catch on quickly.

“I just love it,” Hall said about cake decorating. “It gets those creative juices flowing.”

She also loves the challenge of it all.

“Anything they see on ‘Cake Boss’ I could probably do,” Hall said.

While she enjoys the creativeness and challenges of cake decorating, her favorite part is the story each cake brings and the people involved.

“I think the most fun is seeing the joy on people’s faces when we deliver them,” she said. “It’s fun.”

Hall also shares her talents with others by teaching Wilton classes twice a week at Hobby Lobby in Mason City.

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