Owner finds life a piece of cake with new business

Laurie Petree, of Bunceton, has always had a creative streak stemming from childhood, with interests from oil painting and watercolor, to crocheting and woodworking, but it’s cake decorating that’s sprung to life with her new business, Creative Cakes.

Beginning in middle school, her interest in cake baking and decorating morphed from making cakes…

Laurie Petree, of Bunceton, has always had a creative streak stemming from childhood, with interests from oil painting and watercolor, to crocheting and woodworking, but it’s cake decorating that’s sprung to life with her new business, Creative Cakes.

Beginning in middle school, her interest in cake baking and decorating morphed from making cakes for her grandmother, to eventually having her own client list.

She credits not only the encouragement of her grandmother, Josephine Prill, of Warrensburg, but local cake maker Diane Cole.  

“She’s like the ultimate cake baker in Tipton,” Petree said. “I’ve always enjoyed her cakes, so I called her and she said, ‘Oh, yeah, we have a cake club in Columbia.’ She sends referrals to me. If it wasn’t for her, I probably wouldn’t have got the courage to do it.”

Other influences and a feel for old-fashioned values would lead her to a future in baking. Two friends, Megan Evans and Diane Withers, who together used to own A Spoonful of Sugar, have also affected Petree’s work.

Petree would often “hang out” with Evans, who made fudge, cookies and cakes. This camaraderie would eventually encourage her to start her own baking business.

She decided to leave her job, in advertising at Power 97 KDRO radio station, at the end of November so she could spend more time with her children, Chloe, 6, and Chance, 3.

After leaving the position she got to thinking, ‘What can I do to make a little money while I stay home?’

Her answer fell back to her creative side and cake making. She began making cakes for her husband Andy’s family and then for her daughter’s birthday. People saw the cakes and began to place orders — the rest is history.

“I had her do Sesame Street cupcakes for my kids for their class,” said Heather Montez, Petree’s best friend.

“The kids were in awe over them, they said, ‘Where did these come from?’ They were just the most amazing cupcakes I ever saw in my life. She’s always had a talent to put things together. We’ve been friends since we were 10.”

Now she’s making cakes, cupcakes and cookies for birthdays, weddings, secret pals and business functions such as a recent event at Bodyworks Day Spa.

LeMaire’s Cajun Catfish and Seafood House has requested she bring in cupcakes for them to give out as birthday treats. And the business is also thinking about setting up a display case with her cupcakes, for people to purchase.

“I’m also going to be donating cupcakes to (the Child Safe) egg hunt (Saturday), so if anyone wants to try them, they can,” Petree said.

In the future Petree, who is on the fundraising committee at Child Safe of Central Missouri Inc., has plans for a cupcake decorating workshop for children that will raise money for the organization.

She believes in keeping her knowledge current. She attends the Fancy Foods Arts Club in Columbia once a month and recently attended Mike Elder’s Cake Fest in Kansas City where she learned about air brushing.

“I knew I wanted one, but I’d never used one,” she said of the air brush system.

Last fall she took classes at The Cake Pan in Blue Springs and learned tips on making flowers and basket weaving patterns with butter cream icing and fondant.

Many of her decorations are hand produced and cut, and she makes every attempt to make all decor edible.

Her tractor cake has no-bake cookies for mud and doughnuts or fondant for tires. And sometimes cakes are made from cookie dough. A friend wanted a tractor-trailer cake, so Petree baked chocolate chip cookie dough in sheets and sliced and stacked it to create the piece.

Petree said her prices vary and depend on how intricately pieces are decorated. Usually wedding cakes cost $2 a slice, cookie cakes range from $15 to $35 and cupcakes are $15 a dozen.

She said she’s willing to work with all types of budgets.
“There’s always different options for people, they don’t have to spend a lot,” she said.

Peanut butter cupcakes

2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup peanut butter

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners, or grease and flour cups.

In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, shortening and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; stir into the batter alternately with the milk. Spoon into the prepared muffin cups.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top of the cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed. Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. This recipe works best for cupcakes instead of a whole cake.

Peanut butter icing

1/2 cup butter

1 cup creamy peanut butter

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup cream

In a large bowl, beat butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in half of the confectioner’s sugar. Mix in 1/4-cup of the cream. Beat in the remaining confectioners’ sugar. If necessary, add a little more cream or milk until the frosting reaches a good spreading consistency.

Makes enough to frost one two layer 9-inch cake or one 9-by-13-inch cake.

Recipes by Laurie Petree, Creative Cakes

Read more http://www.sedaliademocrat.com/articles/business-42124-streak-owner.html

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