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Frances Kuyper’s Mini Cake Museum ~ Boyle Heights

4:44 PM PST on January 30, 2009

If you love baking and decorating cakes, than you should make a point of visiting Frances Kuyper's Mini Cake Museum at the Hollenbeck Home, where you can not only meet Frances, but also learn some cake decorating history.

Known as the Cake Lady, Frances started off in 1950 simply as a self-taught cake decorator and from there evolved into a writer, demonstrator, instructor and consultant for many years in the retail baking industry. She's even appeared in commercials and was even a regular on the Howie Mandal show for a time.

In 1994, she opened up the first Cake Museum in the US as a way to share her knowledge about cake decorating and pass that info to up and coming bakers. The first rendition of this cake museum originally was in a second home that she and her husband purchased to showcase the various cakes that illustrated the many and varied techniques used in cake decoration.

When her husband passed away, she moved to Hollenbeck Home and with Hollenbeck's approval, was able to move the majority of her collection into one of the rooms. That room now holds over 150 cakes from Frances' original collection.

As for the tour itself, it starts with a video demonstration of her actually decorating a cake at the same time giving background history about how she got into the cake decorating business. Unfortunately, she used to be able to do live demonstrations, but due to health reasons can no longer do so.

However, the video is really good. From it, I learned that she's the one who came up with some of the tools currently being used today for cake decorating. She was also self-taught in her earlier years and as an artist, Frances is most well known for her award-winning airbrushed portrait cakes.

After the video, she took us over to the museum, which isn't very big, but there were definitely cakes galore. In regards to the cakes, they are not edible. They're replicas made using non-edible materials. While some of the cakes are hers, some of them are also cakes from other cake decorators and all are there to show various cake decorating techniques, which Frances was happy to point out during our visit to the museum.

Even without the cake museum, it was just a pleasure to meet Frances. What an amazing person. She has just done so much in her life and what I thought was just inspiring is how she took something she was passionate about and was able to parlay it into a career that she loved. I think we definitely can learn from her.

By the way, tours are by appointment only and are absolutely FREE!

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