Q&A with the owner of Houston bakery, The Chocolate Llama
Details on Courtney Zavala's birthday cake created by Kellie Herrod
Kellie created a barbie cake for Destiny's 3rd birthday, and every year after she did the same and noticed them improving over the years.
Next thing she knew she was receiving requests for custom birthday cakes in the form of every day objects.
She doesn't do it alone though, with the help of her husband Kevin Herrod, taking care of the engineering side creating templates for a strong foundation for each cake.
Kellie's focus is on making sure every client embraces themselves and not the latest trend. She wants people to know cake can be art and it's not just about eating the cake but creating a memory.
Q: Describe the birthday cake you made for Courtney
A: Courtney's cake is a combination of gift boxes representing her favorite designers along with champagne and flowers. I really try to represent my client and push them to ignore trends. I encourage them to be themselves when it comes to their cake design.
Q: What is the cake made out of?
A: The Hermes boxes: Grand Marnier vanilla bean rice crispy treats with dark chocolate ganache. The Chanel Box - Grand Marnier vanilla bean rice crispy treats with dark chocolate ganache. The Valentino Box - Funfetti vanilla bean cake with birthday cake crumble and vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream. The Veuve Bottle - Funfetti vanilla bean cake with birthday cake crumble and white chocolate ganache (the ganache is there for support instead of buttercream). The flower vase - dark chocolate cake with whipped white and milk chocolate ganache. The flowers - gumpaste (sugar).
Q: What was the process of creating the cake?
A: The first day was baking cakes, making fillings and stacking the cakes, second day was ganache and making modeling chocolate colors to match the Hermes orange and the Valentino red, third day was covering cakes, painting the champagne bottle, putting logos on the boxes and making flowers.
Q: How long did it take?
A: Courtney's cake took a total of approximately 36 hours.
Q: What kind of services do you offer?
A: I offer high end cakes and edible sculptures for all celebrations! It's such an honor to be a part of a happy day in the life of my clients.
Q: How did you get started making these realistic cakes?
A: My niece, Destiny, was adopted when she was 2 years old and I took it upon myself to make her birthday cake every year. Each year I tried for something more realistic and over the top! After about 4 years I thought "I can totally do this!" I've been making cakes for over 14 years now.
Q: What are the most common FAQ's you get about your business?
A: Do your cakes taste as good as they look - Absolutely! I strive to use seasonal, high-end ingredients and put time and care into each and every recipe. Cake isn't any good if it just looks pretty.
Q: How long will it last if we don't cut it?
A: I've had three clients now who refused to cut their cake. I don't have a solid answer for this question but I do love that it gets asked.
Q: Do you deliver?
A: Yes! All over the greater Houston area and beyond.
Q: Can you structurally make anything?
A: Yes, all thanks to my incredible husband, his engineering prowess is nothing short of miraculous.
Q: What's the most elaborate cake you've ever made?
A: This is a hard question as most of my cakes are extremely elaborate. I would have to say that the 3' tall elephant "Rosie" was pretty elaborate because of structure. I love to replicate objects and make people try to figure out if it's real or not. I've had a cake damaged because folks didn't know it was cake and put a stack of table cloths on top of it...while I was really angry at the time I can now look back and realize that it was pretty high praise.
Q: What kinds of custom cakes are you capable of making?
A: The Chocolate Llama can make any cake that anyone's imagination can come up with. So far we have no limitations and are ready to tackle any and every design artistically and structurally.
Q: How can someone order a cake from you?
Take a look below at more of Kellie's amazing designs!
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