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Mother-daughter teamwork is a piece of cake

Staff writer

Nothing is as sweet or fulfilling as a mother’s love for her daughter, unless that love is accompanied by cake and cookies.

Heidi Thurston and her daughter, Rachel Olsen, both of Marion, have been cake decorators for years, working on separate projects as well as ones together.

They also have both recently ventured into the realm of cookie decorating.

“I’d rather decorate cookies,” Thurston said. “That’s what I’ve been enjoying.”

Thurston and Olsen have done cakes and cookies for many different events, including birthdays, weddings, baby showers, graduations, holidays, anniversaries, tea parties, and Marion’s Farmers Market.

Thurston’s cake decorating began soon after a friend bought her a cake pan for her birthday, which she used to make cakes for her children’s birthdays.

“We’d have our birthday parties and sometimes we’d get two cakes because mom would make them,” Olsen said. “I’m just excited to do that for my kids now.”

Thurston did not see herself being a cake decorator, but soon found out that, after she took that unexpected path, it helped develop mother-daughter time into something profitable.

Olsen started decorating at a young age by helping her mother in the kitchen.

“Mom would have me make a batch of frosting for her cakes, or I would just watch her do it,” Olsen said. “There was one Christmas where I did a Christmas tree all by myself, and that was my first cake.”

As for team effort, the team of a mother and daughter was what seemed to help make the work easier.

“When we work on something together and we figure out who is better at one thing and who is better at the other, we can just go,” Thurston said. “We worked like a team.”

The pair took classes together to improve their talents.

“We took a fondant course together down in Wichita,” Thurston said. “We learned how to cover cakes, make flowers, make bows, and we learned how to mold things and how to work with them.”

While they may be mother and daughter, they are also opposites, which can help or hinder the process.

“Rachel is so brave and I am very timid about doing cakes I’m not comfortable with,” Thurston said. “She’s more ‘give it to me and I’ll figure it out.’”

However, decorating cakes is not always a piece of cake. In fact, cake and cookie decorating can be quite stressful according to Olsen.

“I think every cake is accompanied by crying,” Olsen said, “but in the end it always turns out good.”

Though it may be stressful, both mother and daughter have fun working on their projects, and are as proud of each other as they are of their work.

“I was so excited to see Rachel be able to learn at such a young age and really see her gift flourish,” Thurston said. “She has really taken the whole cake decorating and really run with it. I’m just amazed at how well she’s done and how young she is.”

Last modified Nov. 9, 2015

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