Studio tour: Vanilla Bake Shop


Name: Amy Berman / Co-Owner & Executive Pastry Chef
Location: Santa Monica, California
Company: Vanilla Bake Shop

What is your aesthetic? Our aesthetic usually leans towards a modern, clean look mixed with classic elements.

How does your studio style convey your professional aesthetic? Our studio/office space is the opposite of our bakery space in regards to the over all “look”. Our bake shop is pale pink, white, happy and bright. When we expanded and rented the office next door to our bakery we were in the mood for a more masculine look with dark chocolate walls that were almost black and white crown molding as a contrast.

Favorite part of your studio? My desk. I have baking books, pictures of events, wedding magazines, & design materials all at arms reach for inspiration. I also have a great picture of some elementary school girls I taught a baking class to last year. There’s so much innocence and promise in their cute little faces! I love looking at it.

Where do you go for inspiration? Inspiration comes from everywhere. Window shopping, interior design, art, stationary… When I want to create a new cake design I often look at different fashion designers like Jason Wu, Tory Burch or Diane Von Furstenberg. I check out their lines from each season and get inspired by different patterns, textures and color palettes.

What tool do you use in your business that you can’t live without?
My mac lap top which lets me work from anywhere and my iphone for emails, texting and twitters.

Is there anything you’d upgrade to? A larger kitchen space, shop and parking lot… And, while we’re at it… a new car and a vacation home in Spain.

Anything else we should know? My husband is my business partner and I’m so glad he decided to go into business with me after law school. I also have the most AMAZING staff. They work so hard, and all make us laugh on a daily basis. I’m just really happy I decided to follow this path in life. You know you really love your job when a 12hr day feels like a 2hr day!





[images from Vanilla Bake Shop]

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Bicycle cake

Bicycle Cake - medium

This cake from Pastry Girl Cakes is probably perfect for all the couples that took those bicycle engagement shots last year 🙂

[image from Pastry Girl Cakes]

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Studio tour: Sugar Couture

studio tour - sugar couture 1

Name: Penny Stankiewicz
Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn, by appointment only
Company: Sugar Couture

What is your aesthetic? While I can work with almost any design aesthetic to please my clients, when left to my own devices, I’ll always lean towards a modern/vintage feel with Moroccan inspiration and bold color combinations.

How does your studio style convey your professional aesthetic? Like my cakes, my studio embraces bold contrasting color and lots of texture.

Favorite part of your studio? I just love my large desk, to be able to spread everything out in front of me for inspiration.  It has cubbyhole shelves on either side that hold reference cooking and baking books, cameras, and things creative, all at arms length. On top is my beautiful iMac, the hub of Sugar Couture.

Where do you go for inspiration? Color is inspirational to me  So many kitchens are built for functionality, but I’ve been able to create a space that makes me want to work.  I also look to Moroccan design, antique markets and interior design.  I find the mix of color, pattern and texture a brilliant starting point for cake design.

What tool do you use in your business that you can’t live without? I could definitely not be without my 20-quart Hobart mixer.  I purchased it on Ebay a couple of years ago.  It’s so old, there is no record of the serial number, but it continues to work like a charm.

Is there anything you’d upgrade to? I will forever need more refrigeration space.  I dream of a walk in refrigerator.

studio tour - sugar couture 2

studio tour - sugar couture tasting

[images from Roberto Ricci]

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Real wedding: Lara + Jerome

Lara & Jerome met within a fairly international group of friends. Lara was known as the “American Girl” and Jerome was the “French Guy”. They first met at a fall party where Jerome spilled a drink on her and they hit it off from there. They joked about being future roommates that night and a year and a half later they were engaged on a beach at sunset where Lara said “Oui” (yes, in French).

Their wedding day was a reflection of their personalities organic, colorful, easy-going, but still refined. They got married in the conservatory so they could bring the outside in and be surround by the feeling of nature. Their décor was pops of orange, yellow and cream flowers with pale green eucalyptus leaves to keep it sophisticated. The center pieces also included curly willow branches that hung 6² orange lanterns with led lights to give a warm glow to the room at night. The cake played off the bark/organic theme. Each layer was wrapped with individual 5″ tall chocolate shavings that looked like twigs.

They also wanted to make sure they included little touches of French here and there to pay tribute to Jerome. For instance their favors were wrapped in orange boxes with yellow ribbons. Inside they had French chocolates and candied almonds surrounding a French dessert called Canneli de Bordeaux.

After dinner guests were encouraged to take Polaroid camera’s and a gold frame and take pictures. This was an interesting way of doing a Photo Booth with all the hassle of setting one up.

In the end Lara & Jerome wanted an intimate relaxed evening wedding, where it wouldn¹t matter if the weather was unpredictable. The conservatory at The Royal Park Hotel was perfect and allowed so much of the outdoors into the space during the ceremony/reception. The guest were still be able to go outside during cocktail hour to enjoy the sunset and then move inside to enjoy the stars during dinner and dancing.

[images by Aruna B. Photography]

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