The evening before Jolene left town for the Grand National Wedding Cake Competition in Tulsa, Oklahoma she gingerly tucked 225 gum-paste cherry blossoms into her suitcase. She had planned to scatter them across her Chinese-temple cake once she touched down at the airport in Tulsa, but at the airport, the stewardess told Jolene that her carry-on wouldn’t fit in the overhead compartment.
While Jolene's eyes swelled with tears, her friend explained that the contents of the suitcase represented three months of painstaking work—Jolene had molded each petal by hand and painted them with delicate brushstrokes. “With all due respect,” she said to the stewardess, “you’d have to pry that suitcase from her cold, dead hands.”
And so 225 cherry blossoms rode to Tulsa in the stewardess’ own personal luggage compartment. As the above story makes clear, Jolene pours her heart into the confections she crafts at Ladybug Cake Creations. She scours local farmers’ markets for ingredients and finds deep satisfaction when she blends them to perfection saying, “It’s my Zen relaxation at night. I come home and I make flowers.” For someone so dedicated to her craft, no order is too ambitious; among her more impressive efforts are a 75-pound pirate-ship cake and an edible surveyor’s instrument that she sculpted for her father’s 85th birthday.
Perhaps her most personal touch, though, is the tiny sugar ladybug. Ladybugs are considered a good-luck charm in China, and Jolene makes sure to hide one on each of her treats. If her success at getting through baggage check is any indication, the ladybugs are working.