Who, what, when, where, & why?

I wanted to jump into a little bit of my back ground.  What made me fall in love with making cakes, how did I get started, and all things related.  My love of baking starting in childhood.  I always had an interest in the kitchen, and started to really bake a lot in high school.  I was dating a guy that would frequently stand me up.  A little bitter, I turned my attention to baking to keep myself busy.  Concentrating on recipes got my mind off of the fact that I was all dolled up and covered in flour. 

It wasn’t just a bad relationship that turned me onto baking.  My true love of the art comes from my Grandparents.  My mother’s mom lived during the great depression and often went hungry as a child.  As an adult, wife, and mother, my Grandma basically showed her love through baking.  Every time we would visit, we were showered by her famous zucchini bread, banana bread, and nut cups.  We called them bricks, and everyone got one with some “coffee” money on the side.  I am not kidding when I tell you that after a seven course breakfast at 8 in the morning, she would quickly clean up and start rack of lamb for lunch.   One of the greatest gifts I received from her, as a dying wish, was her Slovak cookbook from when she was first married.    I can’t tell you the feeling  that comes over me when I open that book.  It’s a well loved, and extremely worn book.  On every page she has notes about each recipe, often with other recipes taped on top of them.  Each recipe  with a rating system.  If you see “very good  – XXX” writen next to the recipe, you know that it was  her holy grail.  The book is literally falling apart, but is still to this day where I start for any recipe. 

 It’s not just my Mom’s mom that has shaped me into the sugar slinging woman I am today.  My Dad’s dad was also an amazing baker.  Grampy was in industrial sales for the Gas Company, Mr. Charles Lubin, the founder of Sara Lee, taught Grandpa how to make coffee cakes, after he helped Mr. Lubin get the permits and installation of his new gas oven.  I was very fortunate to be able to pick a few of my Uncle’s brains not too long ago, to find out what the secret ingredients were for such coffee cakes.  I found out, it’s not only the ingredients, but the secret was also in how it’s prepared.  Beyond coffee cake, my Grampy was known for his doughnuts, which is what I based by Iron Cupcake Milwaukee Beer Challenge off of.  Each of my cupcakes were topped with a mini doughnut dipped in chocolate and sprinkles, recreating a Homer Simpson themed  cupcakes.   It was also a special treat and heavenly delight to get his peanut butter fudge.  Each piece individually meticulously wrapped in foil.  Rumor has it that I’ve inherited his attention to fine detail.  I often hear people say that I must have a lot of patience to do the detailed work when it comes to figure molding and miniatures.  You can rest assure that I fact, do not have much patience at all.  Honestly, ask my husband!  Somehow I love to get lost in details, so much that I often miss the bigger picture.  I like to fuss, what can I say?

I guess you can say baking is in my blood.  It was an instrumental part of my heritage and childhood, and beyond that….I’m completely, totally, and helpless right brained.  Seriously, I’m horrible at math and you never want me on your dart team.  Other than that, I’ve got you covered.  Growing up I was always doing some art project, painting, drawing, writing, you name it.  My sister, Jen, used to call me “Becky Homecky!”  And the other part of my passion of what makes me tick is music.  I’ve been playing the piano as long as I can remember.  I also went to college for music performance in flute and piccolo.  I’ve had the pleasure and amazing experiences of traveling to England, Norway, Sweeden, Demark, Germany, and Belguim performing concerts. 

But how did I get into making cakes you ask?  It was about 3 years ago.  My daughter was 4 months old, and I sat down to watch Ace of Cakes on TV.  I was hooked.  I nearly foamed at the mouth watching the details, and extraordinary art before my eyes.  I turned to my husband and said, “I want to do that!”  He basically laughed it off…kinda like, “okay honey, whatever.”  But something was ignited deep inside.  A burning passion that I had to find a way to do.  I knew that I couldn’t afford to go to pastry school, and I just had baby and had a  two year-old.  How was I supposed to make this work?  I logged onto Craigslistfor the first time in my life, and found and unpaid internship at Elizabeth’s Cakes.  I applied, armed with nothing more than a few sketches, and some fondant cakes I made for practice.  Elizabeth offered me the internship, and after the 3rd day, she asked if I would just work for her instead.  We created an amazing relationship.  I learned so much from her, and she gave me every platform to begin my experience as a cake designer and baker.  I’m so grateful to her for taking that chance on me.  For giving me that further push, and instruments to let it become what it has today.  


So my life is about to come full circle.  In just a few weeks on February 13th, Duff Goldman from Ace of Cakes in coming to judge the Iron Cupcake Milwaukee Pro event.  I’ll detail that in my next post, but for now, I need to practice my non-creepy fan girl composure so I don’t make a complete fool of myself and drool all over him!

4 Responses to “Who, what, when, where, & why?”
  1. Melanie says:

    I had so much fun reading your story… cant wait till your next post! (Found you from Amandalynn Jones.)

  2. Judy Gosz says:

    Congratulations!!! Your site is fantastic! Your cakes are far too pretty to eat. . .They’re drool-fully scrumptious!
    Love, love, love your work!

    • Erin Salerno says:

      Thank you Judy! I don’t think my work would look half as good without your daughter’s personal touch 🙂 She is amazing!

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