Since I had never heard of this shop, earlier today, with an hour to kill between clients, I drove to North Seattle to check it out.
Home Cake Decorating Supply Co. is a family owned business, in operation since 1960. You won't find a posh location or building, clever merchandising or fancy displays à la Sur La Table, City Kitchens or Williams Sonoma.
This store's key to success seems to be keeping prices low by embracing a little mess and doing without frills in a quiet North Seattle neighborhood.
Upon first look, I must admit to being a little put off by the apparent disorganization--there is a method to their madness--and stacks and stacks of stuff in all directions.
However, soon enough I realized that the Easter season had only just ended a couple days earlier. And since the shop is closed on Sundays and Mondays, this was what Home Cake looked like after a holiday weekend and baking shopping frenzy.
Soon enough I got over the mess, embraced the madness and became mesmerized by the overwhelming selection. There were cupcake tins in all colors and sizes, beautiful ribbons, silicone molds, French cake, madeleine and tart pans, flavorings, sanding, coarse, colored and superfine sugars.
And talking about cupcakes, the cute and very colorful sprinkles selection alone--I especially loved the über tiny pink piggies, bunnies and hearts--will have you squealing and giggling out loud.
There were all kinds of chocolate and hard candy molds, the most fragrant almond paste, food coloring in a rainbow of shades, sugar flowers (the Johnny jump-ups and tiny pansies are gorgeous), icing tips galore and all sorts of baggies and boxes for packaging home made confections and baked goods.
The store is very popular among Seattle's caterers, chefs, professional and home bakers alike. I can see why this bulging at the seams shop in an otherwise nondescript part of the city (Maple Leaf neighborhood) has been in business this long.
It is baker's heaven, complete with stacks of Martha Stewart and In Style Wedding back issues dogeared for easy reference and quick inspiration.
For the hour or so that I was there wandering through the aisles business was brisk and I was amazed at the wealth of baking information Greil dispensed to her customers while assisting them with their shopping. She had answers--with a smile-- to every question and seemed to know most customers by name.
When I told Greil about how I had found out about the store through Megan's tiny cupcake post on her blog she nodded, saying she did remember Megan and the tiny foil cups, petite candy flowers and sprinkles.
She also said that she had no idea what a blog was and in fact did not even own a computer. Actually, she added with a giggle that only recently she had finally replaced their rotary phone--back from the years when her mother used to run the shop-- with a tone unit.
So I gave her a little 2 minute explainer on the web, Google, blogging, food blogs and told her I would love to put something out there for other Seattle area peeps who, like me, had no previous knowledge of her shop.
And of course she was game! Greil kindly took some time to even show me around the shop while sharing some family and shop history, generously offered some tips on making yummy buttercream icing, using luster dusts on handmade chocolates and mixing food color paste.
In the end, I walked out of there with plenty of ideas and supplies-- for chocolate making and more cupcake baking--to keep me busy for a while and a new bonne addresse that should come in very handy for all future Sugar High Fridays and cupcake extravaganzas. As for Greil, I think she'll be getting a computer very soon! :-)
Home Cake Decorating Supply Co
9514 Roosevelt Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115