and sculpture are no longer limited to hard metals or acrylics and
watercolors. The new medium is sugar. From the famed bakers on the
television Food Network to local area bakeries, cake decorating has
become a new art form.
Deborah Taylor, owner of the Charles Street Bakery in La Plata often
spends weeks creating one of her masterpieces. After the initial meeting
with a customer requesting a specialty cake, Taylor reflects on the
theme of the party or occasion and uses those ideas for her inspiration.
Using fondant, a sugar paste-type icing that is rolled out and hand cut
into shapes or molded into sculptures, Taylor skillfully starts the
piece work for her decorations days before the cake is baked.
For customers preferring the taste of buttercream over fondant, Taylor
has perfected a technique that gives buttercream icing the same look and
texture as fondant. "This is a time consuming process that takes lots of
patience," Taylor said. The persistence pays off creating works of art
that are as delicious as they are beautiful.
With the help of an apprentice cake artist, Taylor crafts cakes of all
different sizes, from the largest wedding cake down to the most
perfectly delightful cupcake. "There's something that happens to people
when they see cupcakes," she says, "They just want them!"
The Charles Street Bakery has been open for five years. Taylor, who
always loved to bake and previously owned a bakery in Santa Barbara,
Calif., worked with esteemed Washington, D.C.-area caterer Susan Gage
before taking the plunge into the Charles County small business world.
She watched her current location for 10 years while she worked with the
caterer until one day she "got up her nerve and said-'I'm going to do
"Baking is definitely a profession of passion," adds Taylor. Working
long hours six days a week, she has brought her passion to life. "The
best part of this business is being in a small town. My customers have
become my friends."
In addition to specialty cakes and desserts, the Charles Street Bakery
keeps the standard cake with buttercream icing and roses on hand for
those impromptu parties and occasions.
Cakes by Jeneva is another bakery that specializes in artistic cake
creations. Located in Calvert County's Prince Frederick, owner Jeneva
Remson serves up edible masterpieces with the help of her daughter,
Heather Remson and creative baker Sara Spano.
"We can be as creative as the customer wants us to be," Remson says.
Specializing in unique special order cakes, Cakes by Jeneva has used
everything from candy moulds to design a cake for the Sheer Madness
production at the Kennedy Center to edible glitter for snow on holiday
cakes. As is the custom, the bakery requires advanced notice for custom
cakes and cost is determined by the time it takes to complete the
A self taught baker of 22 years and then stay-at-home mom, Remson
started her business in her home, baking cakes as a hobby and to make
extra money. Word of mouth soon spread and Cakes by Jeneva quickly
outgrew Remson's kitchen evolving into a storefront business in January
Working together with her team, Remson offers Calvert County a taste of
homemade desserts and cakes ornamented for any occasion.
For those in St. Mary's County, Swiss pastry chef Peter Schmitter of the
Wildewood Pastry Shop presents his creations in a warm and welcoming
shop filled with the aroma of fresh baked goods.
Schmitter, trained as a baker/pastry chef in Switzerland, together with
self-taught baker and business partner, Michael Tran opened their
Wildewood location 14 years ago. In addition to the usual baked
pleasures, the Wildewood Pastry Shop features unique holiday creations
and custom cakes along with many other delectable treats.
Schmitter believes there has been a recent trend in the appearance of
custom cakes becoming more important than the taste. "It's sad that it
doesn't matter if it's edible or not anymore," he said. To Schmitter,
the taste of his cakes is equally as important as their beauty or appeal
to the customer.
For uncompromising cakes the Wildewood Pastry Shop requires anywhere
from one day to one week's notice for special orders and is always
filled with treats that are a delight for taste and sight.
So when you go searching for artistic treasures this holiday (or on any
other occasions), don't skip the bakery!