Cake wasn't something at the forefront of my mind for a little while.  I'm more of a salty snacker and dreams of tiny cups of french fries or a late-night taco bar made me happier than cake.  

An engaged friend and I went to a local bridal fair to check out vendors together, however I was more enticed by the free food and champagne and the giveaways than the actual vendors.  I had most of my vendors booked at that point, so I wasn't really giving all the vendors a fair shot if I'm being honest.  It wasn't until I spotted a gorgeous cake in the corner that I even gave any of the tables my direct eye contact.  I met Meredith from Artisan Bake Shop and was immediately intrigued by this phenomenon known as "spackled buttercream":
The rest of the cake vendors at the fair seemed way too early 1990's for my liking. Think something like this:
Image via Scratch Baker
Meredith's table was neatly designed and organized.  Her portfolio was modern and clean.  Not to mention her samples tasted like a little angel dropped red velvet cake squares directly from heaven and onto my plate.

I took her card and spent some time on her website after the fair.  I prayed to the wedding Gods that she would be within our measly $500 budget and e-mailed her soon after to set up a tasting appointment.  

Mr. Jet and I met with her at her home and detached barn/industrial kitchen/small bakery storefront/office.  She runs quite the operation out there in the woods of Rochester, MA!  

Meredith was friendly and informative without being pushy.  She listed all of our options on laminated cards (genius!) and let us taste some of the best sweets that have ever crossed my lips.

Some of the outstanding flavors for us were:

Red Velvet Cake
Chocolate Cake
Vanilla Cake
Lemon Cake

Almond Buttercream Filling
Bailey's Buttercream Filling
Peanut Butter Filling
Fresh Strawberry Purée Buttercream Filling

She also sketched out the ridiculous ideas that came from my head perfectly.  

"Spackled buttercream...kind of looks like a tree?...not too frilly...roundish...maybe a flower or two...rustic-modern...I don't really know what that means either..."

Her rendition of whatever that was was exactly as I pictured in my mushy brain!

The time had come to talk pricing.  Dun dun dun....

We chatted for awhile about budgetary concerns and how we can get what we want, while staying in our $500 range.  

For basic cake flavors, Meredith offers Chocolate and Vanilla.  For basic outer frosting and in-between layers, she offers Chocolate and Vanilla Buttercream.  Anything else would come with a reasonable upcharge.  To stay in budget, Mark and I decided to go with alternating layers of Chocolate and Vanilla cake from the basic list and upped it for the in-between with the Fresh Strawberry Purée Buttercream.  The cake itself will be frosted outside with Vanilla Buttercream.  This way, we could afford one of the fillings from the higher priced menu, while not blowing the budget!  She allowed us to mix and match any way we wanted.

Another way we kept the cost down was to have a "presentation cake" out for everyone to see that will feed about 60 people while having a large sheet cake hidden in the kitchen to be cut and served with the presentation cake.  No one will ever know!  (Unless you read this blog...)  This cut down on the per piece cost that Meredith charges by.

Needless to say, we were VERY happy after leaving that vendor meeting and we booked her that night!  Here are some more of her creations to make you swoon: 

Image via Artisan Bake Shop / Photo by Elin Photography

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