By Ellen Braunstein
The bride-to-be once said she would never go to a Taco Bell unless she was getting married there. So, the couple’s wedding cake stayed true to their humor with a custom design by Love and Confection bakery.
Owner/chef Robin Frazier Anderson of Gaithersburg crafted a replica of the mission-style fast food restaurant with its familiar ringing bell. It became her most unusual cake to date, she said.
“Some people are really whimsical and others want traditional or elegant,” she said. “I really try to find out what their theme is or what is it that they want this cake to say about them.”
Anderson designs all types of celebration cakes, dessert tables, alcohol-infused cupcakes, chocolate-dipped confections and other custom treats. Though there are many weddings and events to prepare for, some of her regular customers just want to satisfy a sweet tooth.
Anderson’s cooking talent evolved as a child, helping her mother prepare cakes, breads, pies and doughnuts. The goodies were highly anticipated by all the locals from church members to neighbors, friends and family.
When Anderson became an empty nester, she found herself vegging on the couch way too often. She needed a challenge apart from her over 30-year career as a nuclear medicine imaging technologist. So, when her two girls went off to college, she began baking and taking online courses in dessert decorating.
Five years ago, she turned a hobby that delighted family and friends into a sideline business, Love and Confection. “I found it relaxing and enjoyable that I got to tap into my creative side.”
She said that anyone can bake by following a recipe, but with decorating “you have to be willing to take the time and practice and learn to use your imagination.”
She prepares about eight cakes a week. Prices can vary from $150 to $2,000 depending on how many guests are served and the complexity of the design. A couple should start planning for their wedding cake four to six months in advance.
Baking preparations start two weeks out for Anderson. “We begin with sourcing the ingredients and preparing anything that might go on the cake.”
Proper timing is the most challenging aspect of cake decorations. “You have to really make sure that each aspect of the decorating process is happening on time. I don’t bake and freeze weeks in advance. Everything is made to order.”
Decorated cakes for any occasion are so popular because “It says something specifically about them. They could go to the store and buy any cake, but ours are custom and they’re made around that person. I can come up with a design that actually fits their occasion that they are planning.”
Anderson’s business stalled when the pandemic hit, but eventually people – though stuck at home – wanted to celebrate occasions. “Because things looked so dim I believe that people just wanted to take the time to celebrate and enjoy each other. So, at that point, my business picked up.”
Her future plans are to relocate from her home kitchen to a studio in the area. She also wants to teach local youth the skill of baking and decorating. “It’s not taught in the homes so much anymore.”
Creating a three tier round with a smooth white butter cream finish or rolling over fondant icing to cover a cake is just the beginning of job satisfaction for Anderson. “I love interacting with customers and am delighted to help make their life event special,” she said. “It just really makes me happy that I’ve made people happy.”