CottonStem.com rustic glam wedding cake design

DIY, Misc, Recipes

My Favorite Cakes – A Peek Back at my life as a Cake Decorator!

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It’s fun to get little glimpses into the lives of our friends, so I wanted to give you one into mine!  Did you know I used to be a cake decorator?  I ran a small biz creating sugary confections, and I’d love to share a few with you and talk about what led me to that random blip in my career pursuits!  Long before I was “Cotton Stem,” I was all about cakes.  😉  Let me show ya some of my faves!


CottonStem.com rustic farmhouse wedding cake fresh flowers
Loved working with fresh flowers, and creating this wedding cake for my sister’s bestie was so fun!  

CottonStem.com birthday cake cubs fan fondant letters
Birthday cake made for a Cubs fan.  Did you know you can add shimmer to fondant icing by mixing edible shimmer powder with vodka, paint it onto your piece, and then the vodka dries leaving you with shimmer!  


When my husband and I were newlyweds, we had just moved to a new town where we knew not a soul, and he decided to go back to school at night to pursue a different career path.  I was all for it!  But…what did that mean for little ol’ me to do after work while he was in school?  Lots of evenings spent alone in a new town with no real solid friendships yet.  I was very bored and very lonely, so I signed up for cake decorating classes!  Random, but it beat being bored!  I had always loved school and learning (nerd alert….🤓), so I thought the cake classes would be a fun way to pass the time until my new husband returned from night school.  I spent my evenings elbow-deep in butter cream icing, and my classmates were all at least 70+.  It was awesome.  They were my little adopted grandmothers in a town of strangers, and I had such fun chatting away with them while we decorated our sad little beginner cakes.  😉


CottonStem.com rustic glam farmhouse style wedding cake decor

CottonStem.com rustic glam farmhouse style wedding cake decor
Loved using lots and lots of dragees (edible pearls) on this rustic glam farmhouse style wedding cake to mimic the style of the bride’s dress! 


As time went on, I decided I might actually not be too terrible at this skill, so I continued signing up for the next higher level class and the next and the next.  When I was finally finished, I had learned a whole new skill set, and I’d found a way to pass the time while getting involved in my new town.  Through word of mouth, I began selling cakes and cookies to friends and family, and the people in my life were so sweet to funnel business my way.  I blinked, and five years of decorating cakes and cookies went by!  I had built up quite a little business of sugary concoctions, and I found myself having to turn down clients because I was too busy.  Who would have thought?!  Looking back, however, I realize just what a blessing signing up for those rando cake classes had been to my family…..


CottonStem.com cowboy themed birthday cake decor
Cowboy themed birthday party calls for a cow hide/kerchief/blue jeans cake complete with edible ropes and cow bell!

CottonStem.com zebra stripe fondant birthday cake with pink
It’s a (fondant) jungle out there, guys. 😉


After I had my first daughter, I knew that I would finish up that year of teaching high school, and then I desired to stay home and raise my little baby.  It was QUITE a roller coaster of emotions as I tried to find my place in this new world of mine.  One day, I was a working woman, and the next, I was staying home with a baby. Identity crisis, anyone?!  😉  And, to tell you the truth, my little cake decorating business really helped bridge that transition.  I still had something to do that wasn’t “just” about being a Mom 24/7, not to mention it really did help us pay the bills and have some money to use for guilt-free fun.  Having a husband seeking his doctorate degree while the wife pops out babies and quits her job was not cheap, folks! 😳😂  Also, decorating cakes helped me continue to flex my creative muscle.  Every single cake was different, and every single client wanted something new, original, and creative.  It was stressful at times, but it was oh so very fun.  Y’all know how I always say, “I must create or burst!!!”  That was me, only with buttercream instead of nailing books on a wall….😂


CottonStem.com boho farmhouse wedding decor cake style
One of the most out-of-the-box cakes I created for a bride who was a little bit boho-farmhouse before that was a thing! 😉  Rolled up sheets of fondant until they were dried firm, and I used varying heights to create a super-textured wedding cake topped with fresh flowers coordinating with her bouquet!

CottonStem.com braided pastel fondant pinwheels birthday cake design
Braided pastel fondant pinwheels for my daughter’s bestie for her birthday.


Once baby daughter #2 arrived, it was time to pack up the spatulas and buttercream as it became too much to manage with two daughters under two years old.  Creating and designing cakes was such a pleasant and encouraging endeavor, and I really do believe God used it for good in my life during that five year season.  Earning an income while being creative and meeting new clients helped bridge the gap between full-time working woman with no kids to full-time Mommy of two.  😊  Now that I have four daughters 7 years old and under and run an interior decorating biz/blog/IG….you better BELIEVE that I pick up my cakes pre-decorated from the local bakery.  Ain’t no body got time for that no more.  😂  But you know…it sure was fun while it lasted and provided for my family and my creative soul in just the right ways. ❤️


CottonStem.com romantic black and white glam wedding cake with red roses
Simple elegance for this black and white wedding cake, accented with fresh red roses.

CottonStem.com farmhouse rustic glam wedding cake design style
On the job doing last touches before the bride and groom came in.  SO STRESSFUL transporting someone’s wedding cake, let me just TELL YOU. 😳  But so fun, too.


Anyway, there ya go!  A little glimpse into my past and the seemingly random (but so perfectly timed from Him) way to get to know people in a brand new town, to express myself creatively and challenge my goals and to provide for my little family financially just when we needed it.  Designing cakes was certainly a sweet season of my life…pun intended. 😉

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  1. Teri says:

    I love when you glance back you see His fingerprints. Everything in our lives is for today! Glad you took those cake decorating classes.

  2. Ashleigh says:

    Wow! Amazing cakes 🎂😮 your so talented!

  3. Teresa says:

    Wow!! Is there no end to your talent? You were born to create… 😍

  4. Teresa Fenwick says:

    Wow! Is there no end to your talents… you were born to create ..

  5. Sandee says:

    We share that in common Erin. I did cake decorating too. Fell into it by accident really. A neighbor taught a Wilton cake class that I took for fun. At the end of beginning class she asked me to work for Wilton. I did, very part time. Ended up teaching at a big craft store.
    Mostly I did it for my 2 little girls who loved all the fun cakes for birthdays and holidays. I have very fond memories of it all.
    I definitely did not like transporting those big cakes. Weddings were way to stressful. LOL

  6. Meredith says:

    Wow so awesome I had no idea!!! would love to know some of your tricks!

  7. Lori Crockett says:

    I remember Caked! And I also remember how beautiful and delish your cakes were. You’ve always been great at creating gorgeous things!

  8. Stephanie says:

    Wow!! So talented!!!

  9. Lindzie says:

    It’s fun to look bag on the road that led us to where we are now! And I agree that people, careers, houses etc. come into our lives when we need them!

  10. Pat says:

    Your talent and creativity are endless! Such beautiful cakes…I can’t even imagine trying to transport the wedding cakes! Thanks so much for sharing this glimpse into the life of our now Cotton Stem! 😊

    If you ever have time and the desire, would you share some tips with us? I love to bake!


  11. Lorrie says:

    Our stories are so similar. I too was a stay at home mom with three tiny boys and trying to help support family and that started my cake decorating. Has now turned into a catering business and at times a cake. Been doing it now along with a full time job at a school for almost 30 years. We moms do what we need to do. Oh and delivering the cakes is still the most stressful part.

  12. Dana says:

    Wow, Erin. These glimpses into your life make me want to go back in time, take the bull by the horns and do things differently (well….Partly! lol). You are so extremely talented and driven and seem so fearless in being so, that you make it look so easy! However, if I had done things differently, then most likely I would not be where I am now, and I have ALWAYS looked back to see where God’s hand was on me during the entire journey, and still IS on me. Your posts inspire me, and your sweet, gentle spirit shines through, always. May God continue to do exceedingly abundantly more than you could ever ask or imagine according to His power at work through you! (Eph. 3:20)

  13. Corrie says:

    You did that lovely black and white cake for our wedding!!!!! I love that we got to be a part of your sweet cake time! 🙂

  14. Nelly says:

    Amazing Erin! You are so incredibly talented. Culinary school was one of the things I was so happy I decided to do later in my life. While I have a corporate job, I still take some cake orders from time to time. You are an inspiration. Your cakes are gorgeous!

  15. Emily Christine says:

    oh that amazing feeling of wiping down the last bit of powdered sugar off a countertop, and flipping off the kitchen light after pulling a near all nighter on a cake…things only a baker would understand. Your talent is endless❤️

  16. Whitney says:

    Holy cow!! How cool is this! Love finding out more about the faces behind Instagram and this is such a fun fact! All the cakes are beautiful!

  17. Jana Culbreth says:

    Ok are you sure your not like in your 70’s and you just look really young for your age??? Lol!! I honestly don’t know of anyone at your age that has done and accomplished so much all while having 4 children. Next you’ll be telling us while showing us a capsule wardrobe. Oh this shirt reminds me of one I wore while playing the harp after I delivered a baby.. Oh did I tell you guys I was a midwife back in the day. 😉 I’m waiting for it!! Your talent is limitless!

  18. Pam says:

    I loved reading your Blog post about your baking I love to bake as well. But always felt funny charging people. Because one I didn’t know what would be a fair price and I was always afraid if I baked for someone that I didn’t know very well. What if they said something was wrong with it? How do you deal with that?

  19. Betsy McDonald says:

    Oh my god these are amazing! You are amazing!! If you still do this and want to travel to Omaha Ne in august it would be a dream for you to make my wedding cake 😍

  20. Casey says:

    Such Wonderful decorated cakes. I Greatly Enjoy Following you On Instagram. Such An Inspiration.

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