Erin Gardner: Contributor

Hi! I’m Erin Gardner, mom to the sweetest little boy in the world and owner of Wild Orchid Baking Co. in New Hampshire. My shop is a cake studio where we create custom works of sugar art for clients all over New England.

While sweets are my passion now, my journey into the cake world was a somewhat windy one! My original major in college was aviation and I learned to fly small planes my first year at school. Though flying was something I loved to do, I quickly learned it was not what I wanted as a career.I had a creative drive that needed to find a home. So I switched my major to business and marketing thinking that advertising might be a great outlet for that creativity. While finishing my degree I interned at the legendary Tiffany & Co. in NYC. That was an amazing experience which taught me so much about business, branding and maintaining standards.

After graduation I worked in advertising for a small business publication. It was there that I met a local restaurant owner. Advertising had it’s fun and creative moments, but the job never seemed to feel quite right. All the while I had been baking for fun and to relieve stress at home. Until then it had never occurred to me that baking could be that creative outlet I was searching for. The restaurant owner needed someone to plate desserts a few nights a week. I jumped at the opportunity and the rest, as they say, was history.

At that restaurant I worked my way up to assistant pastry chef. From there I moved to Boston where I held positions in the kitchens of Finale and Blu, eventually taking the Pastry Chef position at Locke Ober under Chef Lydia Shire. After a move to NH for my husband’s job (I may not have become a pilot, but I did end up marrying one), I decided it was time to go out on my own.

My first experiences with cake decorating were in restaurant kitchens, where cakes were honestly the last thing on my mind. We had menus full of plated desserts to execute tons of intricate components for. The last thing I ever wanted to do was stop and decorate a cake! But the more cakes I did, the more I started to really get into it. I started making cakes for family and friends. That lead to friends of friends and chefs at other restaurants. To expand on my skills I took a flower making class in NYC with Ron Ben Israel. From that class forward I was hooked. I had found exactly what I was looking for all along. The perfect combination of creativity, baking, and artistry – cake!

Now I feel so blessed to be in a position to share what I’ve learned along the way and hopefully inspire others to create their own beautiful works of sugar art!

 

MORE FROM ERIN:

How to Build a Cake | split and fill like a pro | Great Cake Decorating by Erin Gardner on TheCakeBlog.com How To Build a Cake Like a ProDecorating a cake is sort of like solving a puzzle. There are numerous pieces that have to come together, just so, for everything to align beautifully. The process itself can be exciting, challenging and even a little exasperating at times. But when the last piece is finally placed, you can step back and smile at what you've accomplished. So today we're taking a look at some of the basic fundamentals of a gorgeous cake. These building blocks apply to cakes of all shapes and sizes and will help you create beautiful cakes, each and every time you bake. It all comes to us from the new book, Great Cake Decorating, written by our very own contributor, Erin Gardner of Wild Orchid Baking Co. Erin has been wowing us with her stylish designs and teaching us her techniques for several years now. So needless to say, we are thrilled to see her new book out in stores for all to enjoy! Filled with hundreds of creative ideas, tips, and techniques, Erin's book has something for everyone. Beginners will find what they need to get started with recipes, tools of the trade, and the basics thoroughly explained and paired with gorgeous images by Mark Davidson Photography. More advanced decorators will find inspiration and step-by-step tutorials to create countless designs including some of Erin's most popular cakes here on the blog, like her Rainbow Hearts Cake and her Stars and Stripes Cake originally create for our 4th of July cake series back in 2012. If you ever wondered how Erin created that beautifully swagged bunting, now you can learn how. Within the pages of Great Cake Decorating, Erin is helping us solve the cake decorating puzzle. And today, we're excited to share a little peek inside this new book! So let's get to the tutorial. We're learning how to level, split and fill a cake like a pro!

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Holly Cake | by Wild Orchid Baking Co | #12CakesOfChristmas The 7th Cake of ChristmasIt’s our third annual holiday series…. The 12 Cakes of Christmas!!  We’re oohing and aahing over twelve marvelous cake designs, created especially for this series!  All brand new, never seen before, and created by some of your favorite bakers!    For our theme this year, we’re taking a moment to reflect on our favorite Christmas […]

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DIY Sparkling Glitter Acorns  |  by Erin Gardner DIY: Sparkling Glitter AcornsOur contributor, Erin Gardner of Wild Orchid Baking Company, is here with a glittery new tutorial for you. A sparkling addition to your holiday dessert tables and displays... If you’re a cake designer, you totally understand that inspiration can strike at the strangest times! I had one of those moments not too long ago strolling through the store, shopping for Christmas decorations with my son. I literally stopped in my tracks when I spotted a twisted branch wreath decorated with the most darling little glittered acorns. Did I stop and whip out my cell phone and start taking pictures like a crazy person because I wanted this wreath hanging on my front door? Nope! I stopped in my tracks because I thought, “I can make those acorns!” Cue the chocolate and disco dust.

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Pretty Black Cake | by Wild Orchid Baking Co | TheCakeBlog.com Pretty Black Wedding CakeOur contributor, Erin Gardner of Wild Orchid Baking Company, is sharing a fabulous new design with us today... A few years ago, after the Vera Wang black wedding gown collection came out and rocked the bridal world, I became obsessed with the idea of doing a black wedding cake. Here in preppy/rustic/vintage/nautical New England that was highly unlikely to happen. I see my fair share of modern contemporary brides, but black is still considered way over the top! My black cake ideas had always been very dramatic, ruffly, and somewhat goth inspired.

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Victorian Cake Display | by Wild Orchid Baking Co | Pink Week on TheCakeBlog.com Pink Week : Pink Ribbon Dessert DiplayIn honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, The Cake Blog is going pink! For an entire week, we’ll take a break from the Fall and Halloween inspiration to celebrate with pink. To remember, honor and support all of those who’s lives have been touched by breast cancer. We kicked off the week on Monday with this gorgeous Pink Awareness Cake. And today we're back for more! Our feature today is one of sweet abundance filled with pink desserts of every kind with a vintage flair too pretty for words. Brimming with pink ribbons, this Victorian dessert display has an ultra-feminine look, but with a modern twist. It starts with a table draped in lace and topped with pink cake stands, stacked double high. The fun continues with bite-sized sweets and mini desserts, with a few extra dashes of pink. Gorgeously creative details, like tea bag shaped cookies, add to the romantic charm. While a pink ribbon cake takes center stage. It comes to us from Erin Gardner, owner of Wild Orchid Baking Company in in New Hampshire. And well, it's a perfect fit for our Pink Week!

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Spooky Splatter Halloween Cake  |  A DIY by Erin Gardner  |  TheCakeBlog.com DIY: Spooky Splatter HalloweenIt's time for a spooktacular new tutorial from our contributor, Erin Gardner, owner of Wild Orchid Baking Company! She's teaching us how to make a spooky splatter cake perfect for Halloween. With the help of a $1 spray bottle, Erin creates an airbrush look that's inexpensive and totally achievable by all! Under the glow of the moon, a starry sky is filled with flying bats.... I find a certain joy in turning dollar store purchases into cake tools. Especially when a find does the job of one of the most expensive items in any decorator’s kit - the airbrush! Don’t get me wrong, my on-the-cheap spray bottles can’t replace such a fine piece of equipment entirely. But for a fun and fast splatter paint design they definitely do the trick (or treat)!

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Rustic Ruffle & Stars Cake  |  by Wild Orchid Baking Co  |  TheCakeBlog.com Rustic Hipster Cake TrioSometimes, the least expected detail turns out to be THE detail that transforms a beautiful cake into an extraordinary cake! And today's feature is the perfect example of a little detail that speaks volumes. This stunning cake trio comes to us from Erin Gardner, owner of Wild Orchid Baking Company in in New Hampshire. Three separate cakes, three separate designs. All perfectly tied together with their soft white fondant, flirty ruffles, and incredible sugar flowers. And a scattering of gold stars. Tiny gold stars, specifically requested by the bride, which turned this traditional ruffle cake into a personalized design full of charm. Now, don't get me wrong. This cake trio would be gorgeous with or without the gold stars. But that extra little detail not only adds a pop of gold but a touch of character, creating a design that is as unique as it is delightful. Let's take a look at this Rustic Hipster Cake Trio!

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DIY Celery Stamp Rose Cake by Wild Orchid Baking Co  |  TheCakeBlog.com DIY: Celery Stamp Rose CakeI’ve always believed that great cake decorating doesn’t have to mean using intricate techniques or buying fancy tools (well at least not all the time). Sometimes the best tools can be found right in your own fridge or pantry. This project uses a fridge staple - celery - to create an oh-so-pretty rose pattern with a hand-painted feel. Take a look through your own fridge and see what you can create with what you have on hand. You’ll never look at your veggies the same way again!

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Black & White Ruffle Cake by Wild Orchid Baking Co  |  TheCakeBlog.com Black & Ivory Ruffle CakeHappy Monday! We're kicking off the week with a cake that is nothing short of dreamy. There's something so sophisticated and refined about a classic color combination like black and ivory. So when you add in a touch of shimmering gold and an abundance of flowing ruffles, you've got sweet perfection. Inspired by a wedding dress, today's cake is ready to waltz down the aisle. You're seriously going to love this one! I mean, LOVE! With its rows upon rows of scalloped ruffles, elegant black sash and antique brooch... it is just too fabulous. Join me in swooning over another gorgeous creation by Erin Gardner, owner of Wild Orchid Baking Company in Dover, NH.

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Christmas Garland by Wild Orchid Baking Co  |  TheCakeBlog.com 1st Cake of ChristmasThe first cake in our series comes to us from Erin Gardner, owner of Wild Orchid Baking Company in Dover, NH. Erin was a newcomer to this site in 2012. But over the course of the last year, she has definitely left her mark on the pages of this blog. You've pinned, liked and retweeted many of Erin's gorgeous cakes (like her rainbow cake and her vintage bunting cake). Well you better start searching for a 'LOVE' button because Erin is about to wow you again! Inspired by a festive card from Rifle Paper Co, this cake is sending out a greeting full of cheer! It's the 1st Cake of Christmas!!

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Voodoo Goth Halloween Cake by Wild Orchid  |  TheCakeBlog.com Halloween Week : Vintage GothEEEK, It's Halloween Week! This fifth Halloween cake comes to us from Erin Gardner, owner of Wild Orchid Baking Company in North Hampton, NH. You may remember Erin from previous features on our site (like her rainbow cake and her vintage bunting cake). Erin has a talent for transforming trends into sophisticated cake designs and today's feature is yet another great example of this skill. Erin's design is delightfully dark and transcends us into a scene of tall candelabras, wax-dripping candles and heavy black curtains. A world where black orchids, black petunias and inky fingers are the flowers of choice. Where graveyard-inspired iron fencing is covered in cobwebs and a menacing skull is on display. Erin's cake is a fabulous cross between beautiful and foreboding, creepy and cool. Refined yet frightful, it's a Vintage Goth Halloween Cake!

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Vintage Patriotic Bunting Cake by Wild Orchid :: TheCakeBlog.com The 2nd Cake of JulyToday is day two in our new cake series, The 4 Cakes of July! Four talented bakers were asked to create new designs inspired by the 4th of July holiday. This second American beauty comes to us from Erin Gardner, owner of Wild Orchid Baking Company. You may remember Erin from previous features on our site (like her rainbow cake and this honeycomb cake too). Erin's vintage-inspired creation takes you back to small town America on Independence Day. White picket fences line with the stars and stripes. Flag waving children eagerly awaiting the upcoming parade. The fire truck making its way down main street, siren blaring, to start the festivities. It's pure patriotic fun! And it's The 2nd Cake of July!!

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