Interview with Carolyn Lawrence
Carolyn Lawrence recently won our Facebook page, fall cake contest. Even more impressive yet, she's celebrating 50 years of decorating cakes. Featured below is her winning cake, a 3 tier white, buttercream cake decorated with fondant leaves.
Here she shares her story:
How long have you been decorating cakes?
50 years - my oldest son will be 51 in January and that is how I've kept track of how long as I took a real basic beginner class when he was going to be one year old so I could do his birthday cakes. I never planned on a business, but eventually, it just evolved after people saw and tasted my cakes.
What are your favorite types of cakes to design?
I like all types of cakes, but I really do enjoy sheet cakes (most don't) because they give you a whole canvas area to work out a design. I also love doing wedding cakes and in my earlier years I did a lot of cookies that were decorated which I loved. However, as time took over, the cakes were faster and I could make more for my time.
What would you consider to be your area of expertise?
Buttercream since I mainly only use fondant for accents and most of my customers come in saying "I do NOT want that fondant stuff on my cake". I say "Good as I'm more comfortable doing buttercream".
What would you still like to accomplish?
When we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary a couple of years ago, I said that I also wanted to accomplish my goal of 50 years doing cakes. I now have done that and my plans are to do cakes until God wants another cake angel in Heaven!
Who has influenced your style?
Probably all the wonderful decorators who are in ICES (International Cake Exploration Societe') as I am a charter member of ICES and I began in 1977, missed 1978 because we were building a new home, and then until this year, I had not missed an ICES convention since 1979 (I think that is pretty awesome!). I credit them (ICES members) with teaching me so much and empowering me to be a stronger person in so many ways.
What has been the most difficult challenge for you to overcome?
Thinking I can't do something when I usually can if I just put my mind to it, I can do it.
What are your favorite cakes you have made?
I have made several cakes for people in our Kansas City television community and it makes me proud that I was well known enough to have been asked. BUT, my customers all are very special to me!
What tips would you like to share with other cake decorators?
If you love what you do, let that love shine through your cakes. People ask me all the time what I put in cakes that makes them taste better than theirs and I just say that I put "LOVE" in my cakes. If you don't love what you do (no matter what the job), then you don't give of yourself 100% and that is what I have always done because I didn't do this to begin a business, it just evolved into a business and one that I have loved as it allowed me to stay home with my kids and raise them and yet have extra money to help out my family. I had the best of both worlds.
What would you like to share about yourself that people don’t know about you?
I've had 107 surgeries and most of them for an ongoing throat problem that I've had since I was 20 months old. Mayo Clinic is my 2nd home for all my surgeries and just 1 1/2 years ago I had 3/4ths of my right lung removed which has slowed me down a lot and I'm on oxygen 24/7 now, but still I refuse to give up what I love and the Drs. tell me to do what I love as long as I can.
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