Vendor spotlight: Annie’s Cakes
Continuing with my series spotlighting some of my favorite wedding vendors, here is my interview with Annie Pugmire — cake baker extraordinaire.
Business: Annie’s Cakes
Genre: Specialty wedding cakes
Location: Utah County
Why did you decide to become a cake artist? I have been making cakes since 2002 for fun and started my business in 2011 — specializing in wedding and editorial work. I also graduated with a degree in fine arts (painting/drawing). Several years ago I started an Instagram account with cakes and another one with watercolor portraits. Cakes was the account that took off. I never expected it to become my job.
What makes you stand out from your competitors, are all vendors in wedding cake industry equal? I spent the last year building a brand and it’s finally paying off. Clients can pick out my work or they come to me because they want the style that I am putting out there. I don’t get many requests for cakes that I don’t feel inspired by anymore. I think vendors in my industry are not equal because there are so many possible designs and skill levels.
How do brides find you?: Mostly Instagram and referrals.
What’s your favorite part about being in cake industry? I enjoy seeing my work at the wedding site and seeing how my part of the creative process combines with floral, photography and styling. It’s an outlet for me to create with other people.
What’s your least favorite part about making cakes? The baking part. It can be monotonous and it’s messy.
What are the benefits of hiring a professional to do your cake versus doing it yourself? It seems like everyone knows an aunt, a friend, or a neighbor that makes cakes. I think a lot of people assume that making a wedding cake is as easy as a boxed cake mix and some canned frosting. I would say that getting a professional looking cake takes skill that is only achieved by hours of practice or going to school and learning. Cakes are not something that most people can just whip up.
How far in advance should a bride book/inquire about their wedding cake and why? I prefer a few months in advance. Then I can make sure I’m not booked, get all the details needed for the big day, and I have time to think about the design.
What is the first questions brides usually ask when inquiring about your services? Q: How much do your cakes cost? A: Do you have a picture or an idea of what you would like? Do you know how many servings you will need? Happy to give you a price once we narrow down some details!
What is a consultation/first meeting typically like? Who/what do you recommend they bring? I do a lot of my consultations over email since I work from home and I have kids. If they decide they would like to meet in person or they want to do a taste test. I tell them to bring whoever they would like (fiancé and parents usually) and that we will go over some details about their big day if they have already decided to book me.
What are some things that brides don’t typically expect to happen during a consult/meeting? Sizing is hard to imagine based on numbers — so I’ll have cake dummies out and they are usually pleased to be able to have a visual in front of them.
Why do cakes cost so much? It requires a lot more effort than you would think to make a cake.
What goes into cake making? Quality ingredients, utilities, materials, time (baking, decorating, clean up), delivery.
Describe your dream bride/client: I love when my clients are open to me helping them design the cake. They have seen my portfolio and trust me. I enjoy an open dialogue and connecting.
What are some fun secrets about the wedding cake industry? I have gathered that most people have only tried store bought cake and they “don’t like cake”. It’s so fun when they come to a tasting or try their wedding cake and completely change their mind about hating cake.
What do you wish photographers and other professionals knew about wedding cakes? I wish they knew how many styles were out there. I get contacted for shoots where they attach a mood board with some very standard designs. I’ll send over some more innovative ideas and they are usually up for the change!