It wasn't really until college that I actually tried decorating my own cakes, but I somehow managed to seamlessly integrate cake decorating into the perpetual stress and time demands of architecture school for 5 years.
Then in 2009, I was lucky enough to land a summer job with Joan at her Cake Chateau in upstate New York, and that marked the beginning of the Tales of a Cake Apprentice blog where I provided step-by-step photos and commentary on the cakes we created, so a small Internet following could become enlightened about the secrets and inner workings of a cake shop.
More importantly, I learned the correct way to shape, prep, and beautify cakes into works of art that would hopefully fall somewhere between Cake Wrecks and Ace of Cakes, without managing to hit either extreme. Building upon the basic skills and techniques of that summer, I've been able to spend the last few years experimenting with different ideas relating to cake and design, which has led to this latest endeavor - CAKE(RE)MIX.
In general, a remix is an alternative version of a particular piece or sampled from various sources - creating something new while retaining traces of the originals. You'll often find remixes in musical recordings (usually as mash-ups, sometimes with clever names), remixes in art and literature (perhaps as collages or parodies), and remixes in design as a way of promoting creativity and generating new ideas.
When applied to cakes, these remixes 'sample' from all sorts of inspirations - flavor combinations, travels, time periods, decorating techniques, typography, graphic design, holidays, pop culture - anything is fair game. The result is an ongoing series of conceptual cakes which I get to brainstorm, bake, decorate, style, photograph, write about, and present to here in Internet form.
I have always used packaged mixes for my cakes for the sake of cost value, consistency, and mostly to save time during my crazy busy college days. Some baking purists stand against the mix, but I realized early on it's possible to crank out some interesting flavor combinations beyond the basic mix. And even more, the constraint issues the challenge - make something extraordinary from something ordinary.