Cake decorating feeds creative spark for Lebanon woman
LEBANON — When her kids grew up and left home four years ago, Sandy Lanning found herself with time to spare and a lot of opportunities to try new things.
Included in her ventures were classes in cake decorating something that provided an outlet for her artistic nature.
She took that creative spark to the next level when she opened Ladybug Blue Cake Design two years ago.
“I took the classes and found out that, golly, I am pretty good,” said Lanning, who turns 50 this week. “Art is a passion for me and this has been a great outlet.”
Ladybug Blue has been getting its feet on the ground for two years. Specializing in wedding cakes but offering a variety of cakes and cupcakes for almost any event, the business is heading into its peak season.
Lanning is a one-woman show, for the most part. She occasionally gets help with delivery and set-up for big events, but all the baking and decorating is done in her own kitchen in Lebanon.
“I do it right here in my little kitchen,” she said.
She said the typical wedding cake is three-tiered, with the biggest section 10 inches, so she bakes each tier one at a time and assembles the cake at the actual event.
Most of her goods are baked and packaged at home and delivered personally. Her kitchen is a certified domestic kitchen, which basically means that she can sell at home what she bakes.
The certification process included an inspection and series of specific sanitary items that were checked off during the visit.
The kitchen puts out a pretty impressive array of cakes. Lanning said she has had many interesting requests for designs.
“I think the one that stands out the most is one I did for a couple of 4X4 enthusiasts,” she said.
Lanning said the design included a simulated dirt road up the side of the cake in chocolate icing. It ended with a pair of his and her trucks at the top.
Lanning meets with each customers personally to go over the type of cake and the design they are looking for.
“Weddings are my specialty, but we do birthday cakes, baby showers and other events,” Lanning said.
She said weddings are the time-consumers, and some can take up to two working days to complete from baking to decorating to delivery and set-up.
Her deliveries have taken her all over the mid-valley. She has also put together cakes for clients in McMinnville, Sheridan and Waldport.
Orders generally come in by phone at 541-409-6019, or through her website at www.ladybugbluecakedesign.com. She also has a Facebook presence, which she says is vital these days.
“It’s a young clientele, mostly, and you have to be in tune with the Internet,” she said.
Lanning also books a table at local wedding shows. She just completed a show that has resulted in five bookings coming in over just a couple of weeks.
Lanning grew up in the mid-valley has lived in Albany and Corvallis before settling in Lebanon 14 years ago. She spent 35 years as a clerical worker.
Baking skills began when she was little, helping her mom with various goodies. She also baked for her own kids when they were younger.
She said the wedding season is directly ahead and she already has 20 events booked. Last year Lanning said she delivered 30 cakes.
“You need to get booked about six to eight months in advance for weddings,” she said.
Eventually Lanning said she would like to expand at least a little. Having someone to handle the baking which would leave the decorating to her would be just fine.
“The decorating is the aspect I enjoy the most,” she said. “I’m a creative soul.”