“A party without cake is just a meeting” – Julia Child
Cake is awesome, many would agree that a cake at a party is the main reason why most people show up to the event in the first place. I had a chance to interview Emmie Luong of U Had Me At Cake. In this email interview, she tells us how she started, how she makes her cakes and about a unique creation she created for those who want a different kind of sweetness.
First off, tell us about yourself.
My name is Emmie and I am the owner of U Had Me At Cake. I make all sorts of yummy desserts but specialize in custom cake pops and pie pops, as well as dessert table set ups. The very first time I created a cake pop was back in early 2012. I didn’t always make cake pops but I was always baking ever since I was a little girl. I loved the smell of freshly baked goods, and I also had a major sweet tooth (and still do!). A lot of people always ask me which culinary school did I attend and where I was taught everything, my answer always shock them. I never went to a culinary school, nor did I take a class to get me started. I am self taught. Cake pops were introduced to me by a friend but after one attempt, she didn’t like making them and I was still curious. Since I was always baking, as I got older, baking came second hand to me and it was just a matter of time that I did something with it.
My story of why I started isn’t anything crazy or too special like many businesses. I would say it’s more like any small business. I was always baking, creating beautiful art, and making yummy treats for family and friends. One day, my very supporting boyfriend encouraged me to start doing this as a business. I was scared and nervous because I didn’t even know where to start or how to start, but with my passion and his encouraging words, I was able to build my empire with one cake pop at a time. I believe because of how much effort and love I put into my work, it shows and that’s what makes me stand out from many people who make cake pops.
Based on the photos you have on facebook, you seem to have a talent for creating different designs for different customers; Tell us where the inspiration for those ideas come from. Does the customer usually make a suggestion or do they typically place that job in your hands completely?
I like to think my cake pops to be custom and personal. About 80% of cake pop orders I receive are things that I have never created before, but that’s what I like. I love a good challenge to see how far I could push my boundaries. I like to not only make things that are custom, but I try to almost replicate images of characters, items, etc. such as R2D2 from Star Wars, a Thanksgiving turkey, or even a tiny purse. My customers will give me theme of what they are looking for but they are the ones that trust me enough to create something magnificent on my own.
My “team” actually consist of me, myself, and my boyfriend. In the beginning when I was starting out, it was only me that would do everything from baking, to rolling cake balls, to decorating and delivering. Now that I am a lot busier and receiving a lot more orders, my boyfriend will help me bake and make cake balls (pre-dipped cake pops). I am the one that creates all of the character and intricate cake pops with all of the details. He isn’t comfortable with any decorating unless it is a very basic design, but I am working on that. 😉
So, how do you make a cake pop?
A lot of people are still unsure of how or what a cake pop is but that’s okay. I am here to introduce cake pops and pie pops to everyone more and more- to show that there is more than just a round cake pop with sprinkles. A traditional cake pop ultimately starts off with a fully baked cake. We then crumble the cake to fine pieces and icing or chocolate is added to the crumbles and we mix until we have a “cake dough”. The cake balls are then rolled and put on sticks to be dipped into chocolate.
Just like any dessert or food item, there’s always someone who prefers something else. For those who don’t care too much for cake, we offer pie pops! Pie pops are, to simply put it, pie on a stick- pie that is in lollipop form, hence the name pie pops! I want to introduce pie pops as “the new thing” because it is different yet fun. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like pie anyways! My pie pops are also easy to do custom designs and we offer many different flavors. A lot of people who has ordered pie pops elsewhere, come and tell me how it may have looked nice but there was no filling. I’ve done many trials and errors to figure out the best way to make a satisfying pie pop with a balance of pie filling to crust, and of course, that’s exactly what I did! When you take a bite into my pie pops, you won’t get a mouthful of crust but you’ll be able to taste the filling as if you were eating a regular slice of pie!
Walk us through the customer experience, from start to finish, give us an idea of what you’d like to see and hear from your customers
Each of my customers are different, as to their order, and that is why each customer is treated differently from another- just like any custom order! I still provide everyone with the same great customer service but each order is special and deserves special custom attention. The customer would contact me either via phone or email and from there I would get as much information as I could. I try to get an understanding of the vision my customers are looking for and who they are. I believe you cannot truly satisfy a customer unless you put in effort of knowing something about them, anything really.
Once I get a good understanding of what they are hoping for, everything is then left in my hands to create. From that point, I not only try to make what the customer is looking for but try to go beyond that; that’s the fine line between good and great customer service. Depending if the customer decided to have me deliver the order or pick up, I give the finished product in a box with a looking window to see the pops and it typically comes with a stand they could use and recycle afterwards. I love seeing the reaction of all my client’s faces because it makes me feel and remind myself why I love doing what I do. It makes me even happier when my clients send me photos of their set up or their kids,family and friends enjoying them! My customers always thank me when they receive the final products but the biggest thank you I could possibly get from them is a sweet review or even spreading the word of my business to their friends and family. It shows me that they were truly satisfied enough to keep talking about my products even after all the sweets are eaten!