I feel like I spent the day in Willy Wonka’s factory.
If you know me, then you know I’ve never met a cake I didn’t like. So I was super psyched when offered the opportunity to spend the day with my friend Sarah who is a cake baker/designer extraordinaire. (She's going to hate me for making her face the featured photo.) This basically meant her attempting to make a cake, while I pretended to be a real journalist and pestered her with a bunch of questions and tried to eat everything. At one point she felt sorry for me, pulled off a piece of fondant and said, “that’s yours.” In all seriousness though, her cakes are not only delicious, but insanely gorgeous. (Prepare to be amazed, because this here is only the before photo. Keep reading to see what she created for her sister's birthday!) And if you’re anywhere on Long Island and need a spectacular cake, she is your woman.
If you have been in the market for a children’s birthday cake and been shocked by the pricing, you are not alone. That is how Sarah got started. She looked around at a bunch of bakeries for a first birthday cake for her son and finally decided, forget it, I’m not paying that, I can make this myself. The mantra of everyone browsing Pinterest, usually without much success! But she got a crash course from a family member who was a baker and off she went.
And look at some of these creations! After making dozens of swoonworthy cakes, this Ninja turtles 3rd birthday cake she made for her son was the one she mentioned when asked about her favorite cake she had ever made. The sculpting of the faces and the detail with the pizza took a tremendous amount of work, and it wasn’t even the most difficult cake she’s ever made. That honor went to her nephew’s first birthday cake, the Dr. Seuss tower. The detail of the design and how the layers lean over is incredible. There's even green eggs and ham on the top.
If you thought these cakes only looked good, wait til you taste it. Sarah is not only famous for her signature cannoli filling, but she makes her own fondant. Fondant is such a controversial topic in cake-land. While it is essential to making cakes look more finished for certain designs, most people think it’s a weird consistency and tastes disgusting. Because most store-bought fondant does in fact taste horrible, Sarah set out to research recipes and now makes her fondant out of marshmallow. It’s sweet, light, and you’ll actually want to eat it instead of pile it in the corner of your plate.
Do you listen to music while you do it? Yes, Rascal Flatts helps me “get in cake mode”
Most of her cakes take a maximum of about
3 days to create with the first day dedicated
to baking the cake, with her own recipe of course, letting it cool and then cutting and filling the layers. The next days are used to decorate each layer on its own then put everything together using cake dowels to help support the next layer. Those are the pieces of wood I find in the cake while I’m devouring it. Her cakes are so good I would probably eat the dowels too if I could.
The level of detail and the amount of time that goes into each cake was impressive. She usually takes only 1 cake order per week so that she can focus on each individually. There's definitely an element of stress and responsibility she feels knowing these cakes are being used at a loved one's celebration and she wants each one to be absolutely perfect. Watching her poring over if the pink flower was in the right spot, taking it off and moving it to the middle, made me realize how similar creative minds are even though the creative output may be different. (As I delete and rewrite that sentence 3 times.)
But the most interesting part of the whole thing is that Sarah doesn’t even like cake. When I asked her she said even at parties with cakes she’s made, she won’t eat it and much prefers ice cream.
I laughed and thought, great more for me at Nathan’s party! I’m not going to give anything away but we also chatted about Nathan's first birthday cake concept, and it’s going to be amazing. I can't wait to reveal it to everybody! Just know, if you haven’t already gleaned from this post, that I love cake way too much to let any be destroyed or wasted, so what I will tell you, is that nobody will be smashing any cake in my presence. Nathan's cake will be displayed and then enjoyed down to the very last bite, as any cake that Sarah put so much love into deserves to be...