My first memory of having a cake made just for me was for my 5th birthday. I remember my mum making it from scratch the morning of the party. I remember it being white with pink flowers and green leaves. I was totally blown away. It made me feel very special, and I felt the day belonged to me. That is the way I feel about the cakes I make for other people today. I want them to feel special!
I was always in the kitchen from a very early age. My dad cooked well and my mum was always baking. I was nearby asking questions and watching with a keen eye. I also stuck around when my mum was in the kitchen.
There was a TV program years ago called “Death by Chocolate”. I was fascinated by all the different things the baker used to do, including a demo on pulled sugar ribbons. I decided that this was exactly what I wanted to do. It looked like magic!
After I graduated from Christ the King High School, I spoke with a lady my mother knew about her cake decorating. Her response was, “Oh, you will never make it. The work is just not appreciated here”. Years later, after finishing college in Miami, and working in a different field for several years, I made up my mind to just do it! Go for what I wanted to do! I signed up for Le Cordon Bleu baking and patisserie programme where I learned a lot about baking, but not much about the cake decoration specialty that had mesmerized me on TV. I then entered into an internship at Elegant Temptations in Hialeah, Florida where I definitely learned how to crumb coat cakes! I asked Rosie, my boss, if I would ever get to learn anything else, and she told me “If you can’t do a basic crumb coat, you will never be able to pull off a beautiful cake!” She was so right. Just watching the cake artists at work was amazing, and then, of course, I had to go right back to crumb coating and covering the cakes with fondant. Those hours and hours of practice paid off!
Coming home to Antigua, I felt like I was jumping into business headfirst. How was I going to make a business out of decorating cakes with barely any experience in actually decorating fancy cakes? The most I had done was simple cut out flowers.
So … I bought an airbrush, which I had never used it my life, and a few more essentials I knew I needed and just came home, set myself up, and began looking for customers. They came, and the orders just kept on coming.
With all the different orders I was getting, I had to figure out a lot of things on my own, and fast! Making sugar flowers, carving cakes, you name it. Gradually it became a lot easier to figure out several other techniques.
I create so many ‘one of a kind,’ cakes that it is difficult to categorize them all but I do anything from destination wedding cakes to corporate cakes, birthdays, anniversaries and every special occasion in between. I offer a wide variety of cake flavours that are always baked fresh from scratch.
Regardless of how busy I was I still second-guessed my work. “What could I have done to make that one better?” Then one day I was standing in the bank, and a lady approached me and said “Oh my God! You’re the Cake Lady!” Her smile was so amazing it warmed my heart and I thought to myself “well Danz, you have arrived!” I felt so accomplished, to know that I was “The Cake Lady”.
There is nothing more satisfying than the reactions from people as I hand them their cakes. It’s as though I have made their Sweet Dreams come true by making their special occasions become unforgettable memories just like my mum made mine.