One of the best perks about working in the wedding industry is the exposure to delicious foods and sugary sweets EVERY. SINGLE. WEEKEND. It is by far one of our biggest weaknesses and when we know a cake has been baked by Karen Pharr of Karen's Cakes & Cafe Pharr, it is impossible for us to resist! We recently chatted with Karen about her work and how she came to be an integral part of this industry we all love. Read all about her story below......
How did you get into baking cakes?
I was a very young mother who was trying to figure out a way to have a special birthday cake for my beautiful daughter who was turning one. I didn't have a lot of resources at time to purchase a cake so I bought some decorating bags and tips and began a mission to make it happen! I didn't have a mixer so found one at a yard sale for $3...ha! This particular mixer wasn't grounded little did I know. Every time I made a cake and touched something stainless it would shock me! Ouch! I used this mixer to make her cake and everyone loved it! I still have the topper I used for her first birthday.....35 years ago! Everyone at the party really liked the cake and I even got a order that day for my first order that I would actually get paid for. I began a business out of my home and would save every dime for a NEW mixer.....I was tired of getting shocked! After few years of making cakes, we moved to a little house but didn't have room to bake. So over a period of 4 years my husband, Mike, worked on a 16x20 room built onto the side of house so eventually I would have a place to bake. We called the health department and began our journey!
I truly believe we all have a gift that we are good at that God gives you! You just have to figure out what that is! Mine is cakes! I love to decorate them. So I guess you could say I began my journey into the cake industry to help support my family and found out I had a talent to create beautiful cakes that not only taste good but looked good! After lots and lots of hard work and research, I didn't give up on the idea of having my own business. I would read every book on cakes I could get my hands on. I am a self-taught entrepreneur with determination that most people would have given up on facing the hardships of growing up with very hard childhood and at 16 trying to start a business! Karen Pharr Cake Decorating was born which later became the Karen's Cakes and Cafe Pharr that it is today. We have had 35 years of pleasing our clients!
After years of working alone I convinced my husband to quit his job and help me. It worked and now I couldn't even lift the large commercial bowls that we make our cakes and icing in on my own!
What do you enjoy most about working in the cake industry?
I enjoy meeting brides and helping design the cake that will be beautifully displayed in her photo album for her kids to see for years to come. She can tell them I had a cake made that tasted great!!
I am actually doing cakes for children of brides I made wedding cake for! Even doing grandchildren's cakes for those same brides! So along the way a lot of my brides feel like family cause they have came back over and over for special celebrations. The cake is a special part of the wedding that people love to taste and leave a wedding saying it was good. I take great pride in my cakes and always want the cake to be a hit!
What is your favorite part about displaying your cakes at The Arbors Events?
I am always excited to deliver a cake to The Arbors! It's a very pretty and inviting place for a bride to have her wedding! Both sites offer such beautiful backgrounds for pictures and cake cutting. The Arbors is a place I could have dreamed about having a wedding when I was young! Just beautiful and I love the rustic feel yet romantic upscale detail.
What price range do your cakes fall into?
An average wedding cake would be around $500 and can go up from there. It really depends on the amount of people and flavors you choose! I think we offer top quality cakes for a VERY reasonable price in today's market!
Do you have a cake that you have created that is your favorite?
I have many cakes I love that I have created......I can't pick just one! The one below was inspired by wooden barrels. The client drove all way from the Outer Banks of North Carolina en route to Wyoming to take this cake to her daughter's wedding! I also did her eldest daughter's wedding cake a year or two before and she wanted us to design this cake as well. This is one of those situations where they feel like family!
The second cake I made was one year ago and I loved how it turned out! I also love the backdrop that is at the Main Site venue at The Arbors.
|Our brides often use this wall as a backdrop for their cakes! It's an antique ceiling that was salvaged from a home in India! The hooks that hang off of it were used to display ornamental decor and lighting from above.|
This one below was at Arbors years ago before they had built the sites! Love the rustic icing and edible birds and nest!
I also love these hay bales I created. Clients here in the farming country love these!
This last one....I could go on and on! This one was taken at the Pavilion Site venue at The Arbors. I loved the fireplace background! Just a beautiful place at The Arbors Events no matter which site you pick!
|This is one of our personal favorites too! The simplicity of the design and florals compliment the decor perfectly!|
Below is our famous Strawberry Cake Cheese Cake that customers drive from Charlotte and surrounding areas to get a slice all the time! We are well know in our community for our homemade cheese cakes between our cake layers. People that know of us will be driving through the area and stop by for slice to take home to family! I thank God for my gift and him allowing me this opportunity to design cakes!
Don't you just love Karen?! She has such a big heart dedicated to what she loves. We can personally vouch for her cake/cheesecake cakes......they are AMAZING!!
Whether you are getting married, planning a birthday, or just have a itching for something sweet, give Karen a call or pay her a visit! You won't be disappointed and the charm of her and Mike's cafe will win you over instantly!
Karen Cakes & Cafe Pharr
170 River Hill Road
Statesville, NC, 28625