Cake Expressions by Lisa
owner, baker, decorator, dishwasher, accountant...You name it-I do it!
What inspired you to start your business? How long have you been decorating cakes? I had worked at different hotels and private clubs around the country as a Pastry Chef, but when we moved to Charlotte in 2001 I didn't find the type of establishment I was used to working at (the culinary scene was just about to take off). It didn't take long to realize Charlotte was in need of some great cake makers so after looking into-and deciding against-purchasing an existing cake shop, with the nudging of my husband I decided to start my own. I found commercial kitchen space quickly and within 2 months opened for business. I hit the ground running and haven't slowed down since! I still do not operate a retail space, but you never know what the future may hold!
What are a couple things that are unique to your cakes and desserts? One of the (many) things I pride myself on is making pretty much everything from scratch. From going to culinary school to working as a pastry chef for several years I was able to really perfect my recipes which is the basis of all great cakes and desserts of course. I am also highly skilled in the art of making sugar flowers. These can be very time consuming to make, from forming each petal, to coloring, to putting together and placing on the cake- but when my clients exclaim how "real" they look it's very satisfying! Something new I've been working on is hand-painting cakes. I've always been more of a sculptor so opening up a whole new world of decorating is very exciting!
What are some of the most underrated flavors you create? Some of my favorites that are not the norm would have to be coconut velvet cake with key lime buttercream filling, English toffee cake with salted caramel buttercream and champagne cake with cream cheese and fresh strawberries. Yum!
Samantha Laffoon Photography
"...I was able to really perfect my recipes which is the basis of all great cakes and desserts"
What types of events does your business cater to? My main focus is definitely on weddings, but I also create elaborate cakes for rehearsal dinners, birthdays, Mitzvah's, bridal and baby showers and corporate events. Besides cakes I also made decorated sugar cookies, french macaroons, homemade marshmallows (which are all great as an edible favor for your guests).
What has been one of the most rewarding parts of owning your business? One of the most rewarding things about owning my own business is the satisfaction in having made it such a success over these past 15 years and really just being a part of someone's celebration. It is truly amazing how much joy a cake can bring to an event! And also the fact that I can "somewhat" control my schedule, although if I do want any time off I need to plan way in advance before I get booked up!
What is Charlotte's best kept secret? I think it may have to be downtown Belmont. I drive through there regularly on my way to Daniel Stowe Botanical gardens with my wedding cakes, but have never actually made that my destination until a few weeks ago. I had a rare Saturday off so my mom, daughter Olivia and I went just for something new to do. There are so many adorable shops to explore and restaurants to eat at. 2 stand-outs-the Cotton Candy Factory where you can spin your own flavored cotton candy, and Sammy's Neighborhood Pub where they make the most fabulous (and filling) sandwiches for lunch! Oh, and the super cute Happy Dog Cafe Boutique and Spa with homemade baked goods for your fur-baby!
Anything else you would like the QC to know about you? This is actually my 2nd career-I used to be a professional figure skater in the Ice Capades (North America) and Holiday on Ice (Europe)! I always knew when I was done skating I was going to culinary school to be a chef, I just didn't realize I was going to fall in love with the world of cake and pastry!