What began as a hobby blossomed into one of the most
in-demand wedding cake businesses in Middle Tennessee.
Classic Cakes was begun in the Spring of 1983, by entrepreneur owner and Wedding Cake Specialist Leslie Pippin, from her home kitchen in Brentwood, Tennessee. After taking a Wilton cake decorating course at a local JC Penney store "..just for the fun of it," Leslie's artistic side just sort of took over, and she began to create sculpted cakes, specialty cakes, theme cakes, and cakes with fun shapes and flavors.
Within weeks, requests poured in from friends and family for one of her unique birthday or baby shower cakes. The cakes were a tremendous hit! Word spread like wildfire, and the phone started ringing off the hook. The demand became great. Then, early that Summer of '83, a friend asked Leslie to create a wedding cake for her. Leslie says she was admittedly nervous, but thrilled to finally get the chance to test her wedding cake skills.
"It was more than a test," says Leslie, "It was a personal challenge. I had seen so many wedding cakes in my life that were nice to look at, but practically inedible. I laughingly called it the '..cardboard and Crisco syndrome'. I always wondered why the visual and culinary aspects of a wedding cake could not co-exist. So for me, it became a priority to create a wedding cake that not only was a feast for the eyes, but the palate too."
"Leslie was already an incredible cook", says husband Steve, Nashville songwriter / producer / actor. "She was determined to create a wedding cake that would taste as good as it looked. She already knew how to make one visually appealing, but was completely unsatisfied with the standard commercial approach to cake batters and icings. So she made it her mission to create original cake and icing recipes; experimenting with flavors, textures, and ingredients until the perfect combinations were achieved."
The rest is confectionery history. Over 20 years, and still going strong!
Classic Cakes Owner Leslie Pippin at Union Station's Bridal Fair
THE PERFECT CAKE
County official bakes to make wedding days perfect
By Karen Emerson-McPeak / Staff Writer
To be sure that your wedding guests will enjoy your bridal cake and to be completely satisfied yourself, it's very beneficial to select a baker that is as concerned about your wedding as you are. Leslie Pippin, the owner of Classic Cakes, is one of those people who want to ensure that you're happy.
"I like to work with people when they're at their happiest," Pippin said, "and their wedding is usually one of the happiest."
Over her many years of baking wedding cakes, Pippin has learned a lot by trial and error. Her training and certification by Wilton didn't include every real-life situation that could occur, such as keeping a generator handy in case the electricity goes out. Pippin recalls icing a cake by candlelight because of that very thing.
Her reputation is mostly by word of mouth, and she wants to ensure that guests who sample her cakes think they are the best-tasting and most delectable looking. To ensure her customers' happiness with her work, she only uses fresh ingredients - baking the layers of the cake only days before the actual wedding and freezing for only the time necessary to be able to decorate without getting crumbs into the icing. Even when icing, she takes great pains to ensure that each tier has ample time to set up before adding the next step.
Stacks of notes from the preview with the bride are nearby while Pippin is preparing the cake. She keeps a portfolio of her cakes for previews, but she also encourages the bride to bring pictures from a magazine or a photo from another wedding if she has something she likes. Sample cupcakes for tasting flavors are also usually provided. (I can attest to the butter fudge she had ready for my tasting. It was sooooooo good.)
Pippin started baking cakes just after her daughter Lindsay's birth, providing her with the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom while earning an income. This summer, Lindsay is working for her mom as an assistant, which gives her the chance to learn time management in addition to money management.
Over the years, a bevy of baking pans, utensils, decorating products plus two freezers and a generator have accumulated at their home, where Leslie does her baking. She usually limits herself to only two cakes each week. Because she actually does some of the setup and finishing decorations at the reception site, she also makes sure the wedding times are varied. Husband Steve often lends a helping hand to transport the layers to the wedding site.
Decorations on the cake can vary according to the bride's preference, but because the top decoration is so personal, Leslie suggests that the couple pick out their own and gives them several stores that carry them. If the couple chooses fresh flowers, Leslie says she's very careful about how she uses them, only using ones that are edible and don't shed their petals. And she never pushes the stems into the cake.
Heartily agreeing with the suggestion to call a bakery as soon as you know about the wedding plans, Leslie says she recommends reserving your cake at least two months ahead, as she has already booked cakes for the coming year.
© The Review Appeal
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