How Sweet It Is…

Welcome back to our baking discussion focusing on our two preferred Pastry Chefs, how they got their starts, and the trends we’re seeing this year. For today’s post, I sat down with Delisa Wells, owner and Pastry Chef at Wells Family Baking Company, to see where she got her start and how her journey brought her to Gettysburg, and most importantly, why we offer her cakes in your wedding package.

Wells Family Baking Company


Delisa first started her baking career in 2001 while attending York Technical Institute and studied Pastry Arts until she graduated in 2002. After graduation, she began working for a bakery in Downingtown for a few years until she took an internship at Kiawah Island in South Carolina. While there, she met her husband and business partner, Orrin. At the end of her internship, Orrin got a job offer here in Gettysburg and Delisa put her talents to work in New Cumberland at Dingeldein Bakery before settling in at Seasons Bakery here in Gettysburg. For those of you who have lived in Gettysburg for a while, you might remember the place. Eventually, when the owner decided to sell the business, Delisa and Orrin jumped at the opportunity and everything fell in line.

When I asked her about the business name, why it’s not “Delisa’s Cakes” or “Delisa-icious Cakes” (I promise, I’ll keep working on my business naming skills), she replied that it was not just a cake company. When they opened their storefront here in town, her husband jumped on board as the Executive Chef and they offered made to order foods, sandwiches, soups, fresh breads, pastries, cookies preordered desserts, and of course, wedding cakes.

Business was great in downtown, but food is perishable and the products have a short shelf life. After much deliberation, they decided to move their business to the Intersection Church where she rules the kitchen and now only offers pre-ordered items, switching their business model to a by order only bakery. This has allowed her more time to hone her craft and focus on her passion… creating the perfect wedding cake… just for you!

“Being able to create something that they couple will look at for years to come,” she says is the most rewarding part of what she does. Looking back on those memories, reliving the moments and knowing that her work was a part of the day makes it all worth it! I asked her if she felt there were any challenging part to her job and she was hard pressed to find an answer and said, “Nothing. It’s cake… no pun intended!”

Delisa offers a wide variety of flavors, the most popular of which are the typical standards, though yellow cake with strawberry buttercream and chocolate with raspberry buttercream do have the edge. Her husband, however, would protest that the hazelnut chiffon with hazelnut mousse is the winner by far. Sponge cakes, which have a similar lightness to an angel food cake and chiffon cakes, which are incredibly light and airy are the most requested thus far this season. When she bakes them, she’s exceedingly careful with the batter so it doesn’t fall flat.

This year’s trends seem to be pretty consistent as far as finishes go; simple, clean cakes with smooth icing coupled with fresh flowers. The fall weddings had lots of burlap ribbons and seasonal flavors such as spice and pumpkin. She’s noticed a heavy shift in colors for the seasons with a lot of coral for the spring and summer and jewel tones like teals and purples later in the year. I asked her about the cupcake craze and she said “Thank you Jesus, the cupcakes are going out!” Cupcakes are a great idea and we all understand the appeal, but from a baker’s perspective, they’re much more difficult to transport and setup. Another thing she said she does not see coming back anytime soon is fondant. Did you know it’s not supposed to be eaten? I just learned that this summer and can hopefully spare you from making the same mistake I did!

One really fun part about Delisa’s cakes are that you get to combine whatever flavors and icings you wish. Most times, they’re pretty normal pairings, but sometimes couples surprise her when they sit down and start pairing flavors at their tasting! Recently, she’s had two couples in a row pair the orange cake with chocolate ganache (sounds amazing to me) and two other couples chose red velvet with lemon buttercream. She has no limitations on combinations of flavors or tiers, which can sometimes be a means of compromise for indecisive couples.

“I really try to put as much thought and effort into creating something special for my couple’s wedding days, treating it as if it were my own. I treat every individual as if this is my first time doing something for them. Just because I’ve been doing this for 15 years, I listen to what they want and create it.” ~ Delisa Wells

Wells Family Baking Company – Where quality is perfection.

All You Need is Love… and a Little Cake

Here at the Gettysburg Hotel, we take our dessert very seriously and offer you only the best Gettysburg has to offer, which is why we include a wedding cake by either Karen Rodkey Cakes or Wells Family Baking Co. in all of our wedding packages.

I sat down with both of our baking masters to learn a little bit more about their journey to where each of them are today.

Karen Rodkey Cakes


What I found most interesting is that Karen got her start completely by accident. After she graduated from culinary school, she worked at Baltimore’s Pimlico restaurant for a time before taking a ‘normal job’ elsewhere. One day, she got a call from the chef at the Westminster Inn who was familiar with her work and asked her to make two wedding cakes for the coming weekend. Their current baker had quit mid-week with no notice and Karen stepped in to save the day. Little did she know that would be the start of a 24 year journey that continues to thrive.

I asked her about the changes she has seen over those 24 years and what’s currently trending. The biggest change is that when she started out, she offered a variety of flavors that were sure to be crowd pleasers. Over time, she’s kept those originals, but has created flavors and fillings that suit her palate, most notably Orange Ambrosia and her signature White Chocolate with Raspberry Cheesecake Filling. At this point, she offers over 30 flavors, each paired with the perfect filling, that are the delightful finish to a flawless wedding day.

When asked about her favorite flavor, Karen said, “It would have to be carrot cake, a flavor my mother made for us growing up all the time.” The most popular flavors are consistently Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Ganache, Strawberry Shortcake and Red Velvet, though some flavors do gain popularity seasonally. For example, Pumpkin Spice and Apple Cinnamon start trending when the weather turns cold and the White Chocolate with Raspberry Cheesecake Filling is a hit as spring emerges.

The steady popular trend that we’ve seen again and again over the last two years or so is the shabby chic wedding reception, complete with burlap and mason jars. In cakes, this trend manifests itself in designs that include plaster-like finishes and naked cakes. In some cases, cupcakes fill the bill for this more casual theme. Karen told me she feels that most couples choose a cake to match their venue and thus, has been bringing a lot of classic wedding cakes to grace our Grand Ballroom. This year’s trend has been an increase in blush and navy, metallic accents and soft, feminine patterns, such as lace or damask.

I asked her about transporting the cakes, which she replied is “probably the most nerve wracking part; being aware of the other drivers, trying to be patient and watching out for the safety of the cake because there is no second chance.” But she says that’s not the hardest part. “The most difficult part of making a wedding cake is all of the unseen hours that go into the process.” The average cake can take upwards of 15 hours or more to create, but that brings us around to her favorite part. She loves that she can look at her counter filled with common ingredients of the finest quality, (fresh produce, gourmet cocoa, real Land O’Lakes butter) and through all of those long hours, she can shape not only a gorgeous, but delicious creation, custom designed to be the perfect fit for one lucky couple’s wedding.


A huge thanks to Karen for taking the time out of her busy baking schedule! Check back next week for more on our wedding cake discussion as we speak with Delisa Wells about her journey opening Wells Family Baking Co.

Your Destination Wedding in Gettysburg

If you think Gettysburg is too far away for your wedding, guess again! If you’re thinking there is nothing for guests to do traveling here to celebrate with you, guess again…again! We have so much to do and see that your guests will have no shortage of entertainment and activities to occupy their time and make your wedding weekend one to remember.

Here’s how to do it…


Contact Destination Gettysburg at 1.800.337.5015 and ask for their complimentary gift bags. The bags come complete with a large map of our town, visitor’s guide, a restaurant list and information about things to do in town on that weekend. They just need to know when you need the bags and how many to prepare. Then all you have to do is pick up the bags and bring them to the hotel. Our friendly front desk staff will distribute the bags on your behalf.

If you’re interested in putting together your own itinerary for the weekend, but need help finding out what’s going on, visit the Destination Gettysburg calendar, enter your dates and choose from all the fun events!

If you’re still in need of some ideas, here is a helpful list we’ve compiled of awesome vacation activities your guests can enjoy.

Battlefield Tours
InSite Gettysburg
Gettysburg Battlefield Bus Tours
National Riding Stables at Artillery Ridge
GettysBike Tours
Segway Tours of Gettysburg
Gettysburg Guided Historic Walking Tours

Golf
Carroll Valley Resort Golf Courses
Mountain View Golf Club
The Bridges Golf Club
Quail Valley Golf Course
The Links at Gettysburg

Museums
Museum and Visitor Center at Gettysburg National Military Park
Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum
David Wills House
Shirver House Museum
Jennie Wade House

Photography & the Arts
Victorian Photography Studio
Adams County Arts Council
Lord Nelson’s Gallery

Theatres
Majestic Theater
Totem Pole Playhouse
H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center
Eichelberger Performing Arts Center

Wineries/Distilleries
Adams County Winery
Hauser Estate Winery
Reid’s Orchard & Winery
Mason Dixon Distillery

Lincoln Wedding Fair

Here’s to love, laughter and happily ever after at the Lincoln Wedding Fair!

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Engagement season is well under way and our available dates are quickly being crossed off the calendar.  Don’t miss your opportunity to be married #happilyeverafteratgettysburghotel and to join the elite list of couples who have experienced our first class service, making you honorary royalty for the day!  If you’ve never been to the Gettysburg Hotel or are interested in another look, the ideal opportunity awaits you on Sunday, February 19th from 12:00 – 3:00 pm when Once Upon A Time Events hosts their wedding expo at our gorgeous venue.

The afternoon will be brimming with excitement as you start to plan one of the most special days of your life.  Meet with over forty vendors, including eleven from the Gettysburg Hotel preferred vendors list, providing a huge array of services, from attire to cakes, photography to transportation, DJs, jewelry and so much more.  We invite you to sample our amazing cuisine and take part in a vendor scavenger hunt to win fabulous door prizes, including the possibility of an overnight stay at the Gettysburg Hotel with dinner and breakfast for two!  We invite you to sip as you stroll when you purchase the show’s signature cocktail, the blushing bride, created by our in-house mixologist Peter Bales, available at the cash bar all afternoon.

Free pre-registration is going on now, but these tickets are limited.  You can claim yours now by visiting their website.  If you missed the free pre-registration, you’re still welcome to join us for the day’s festivities.  Just pay $5 in advance online or $10 at the door.

PURCHASE TICKETS

 
Come early or stay late so you can hang out with us a little longer.  Our award winning restaurant, One Lincoln, will be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  We look forward to you joining us so we can show you how to make “Our history… your destination.”