Muddy’s Journal

To Memphis, with Love: Cake Inscriptions!

To Memphis, with Love: Cake Inscriptions!
Our Custom Studio's signature double layered inscription

In terms of party planning, the cake is usually at the top of everyone’s must-have list. While some people choose to leave theirs message-free, others use it as a chance to let their celebration feel a little extra love. For every birthday in my family, my mom would cut our cakes so that the inscription was left untouched as long as possible, a small detail that meant a lot on a day that was already special. In the end, we would be left with a jaggedly cut cake, but a loving message of my mom's choosing remained. In our Muddy’s Kitchen, “Happy Birthday ______” or "Congrats _____" inscribed on a cake feels as common as breathing-- especially if you ask us during the holidays! That first inscribed cake sent out to the shops for a customer is a coveted right of passage reserved to our immensely talented cake team, celebrated by both the kitchen and retail gnomies alike. It is an exciting and somewhat feared occasion for our cake artists, knowing that somewhere in our beloved Memphis community (and even beyond!) someone is enjoying a cake that our bakers have left their mark on.

 

Becky and Carissa's cake station

While most people may only care to check if their cake’s inscription is spelled correctly and neatly, our Underground Kitchen houses a team of gnomies specifically tasked with guaranteeing those two things happen, with a little creative flair mixed in! Just like the treats that we bake, no two are alike when it comes to cake inscriptions. With real people wielding the piping bag, the “same” birthday cake that you get every year will always be a wee bit different thanks to the individual hands of that day’s cake finisher. Retail gnomies who see many cakes come and go through the shops are quickly able to pick up on the specific inscription nuances of each person, whether it be Becky’s swirly-twirly “H” in 'Happy', Carissa’s fun mixture of print and cursive, or our Custom Studio team’s signature double-layered messages. They each leave a piece of themselves with their cake creations, as their own style wiggles its way into celebrations all around Memphis.

Becky's whimsical mixed-style calligraphy

With the amount of cake inscriptions we do each week, it is easy to assume that our bakers are cranking them out in the most efficient way possible. Spoiler alert: they are! But I was even more delighted to see the time our bakers take to approach each cake with the individual recipient in mind. Our cake finisher extraordinaire Becky likes to use clues from the inscription's text to imagine who the cake belongs to and get creative! A young child’s birthday may get a bit more print so that even the tiniest reader can understand their cake’s message. A more refined occasion, like a wedding or graduation, will get a classic cursive. Cake boss Carissa (in a style she hilariously described as nothing like her own handwriting) will write “birthday” first so that she can guarantee the message is perfectly centered on its delicious base. But our cake team is human, and the little tricks they use to correct small mistakes left me dumbfounded, as I had always thought an added pizzaz of a heart-dotted exclamation point or swirly design on the bottom was purely for fun. While yes- it is mostly for fun!- it also serves the purpose of making things look centered when things get a bit out of place: an intentional sprinkling of festive flair that so seamlessly adds to the delightful decor of the cake. The person making the cake is just as unique as the person receiving it, and our cake team let’s their individuality seep out into the art they create.

 

Carissa's carefully crafted cake creation

I have always been in awe of the magic created by our cake team with the whimsical buttercream text they so effortlessly top our cakes with. It is a mystifying skill to me, and one that our cake team clearly does not take for granted.  In my time shadowing our cake artists, Becky made sure to show me one inscription that she thought was “especially primo,” taking great pride and excitement in her work. The whole kitchen team took a moment to celebrate Carissa when it was her first time tackling (and rocking!) a hectic cake day all by herself as the newest member of the cake team. The Custom Studio gnomies invite any person in the room over to marvel at a finished creation, always wanting to brag on their teammate's work. Whether they see the customer’s face or vice versa they keep it personal, constantly aiming to make you “wig out, but in a good way!” about your special day’s cake.

So for the next Muddy's-catered celebration you have, we hope you feel the love and detailed care our bakers put into your treats… and maybe even look to see if you can recognize who was wielding the piping bag!

Special thanks to Bridget, Becky, Carissa, and the Custom Studio team of Caolinn, Meg, and Monica for letting me watch the magic happen. And boy is it MAGIC!