My Name Is
and I Make Cakes
That Don't Look Like Cakes!
I graduated from The Ohio State University in June 2008 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. My work focused on hyperrealism drawing inspiration from still life artwork depicting commonplace objects, and hyperrealistic fine artists such as Ron Mueck and Evan Penny.
That summer, I met my future husband “Husband Dave” and I made my first cake sculpture ever! My good friend Kelsey who watched a lot of mid-2000’s cake shows on TV, challenged me to make a cake in the shape of a cow skull for our friend's birthday. So we went to our local cake supply store and bought boxed cake mix, food color, a pound of fondant, and I gave it my best shot.
I immediately fell in love sculpting cake and decided to apply my knowledge of traditional art media to edible materials to create hyperrealistic cakes! Dave and I decided the best place for such aunique endeavor would be Austin, Texas where the motto is “Keep Austin Weird”. In the summer of2011, we packed up and headed south.
With such a peculiar career goal I didn't know where to begin, so once we got to Texas Dave whipped up a portfolio website with my college projects and sent it out to every bakery in town. Only one called me back, and I'm happy they did.
Right away I started familiarizing myself with all the different cake materials, but things really changed about two months in when I discovered modeling chocolate. I had only ever heard of fondant up to that point, but now I had this new material that was a lot like sculpting with clay! At the time, I was told by reputable Pastry Chefs (and the internet) that a cake could NOT be covered in modeling chocolate - it was “too heavy” and “hardens too fast”. But given my experimental nature I tried anyway, and it worked! I’ve been covering my cakes in modeling chocolate ever since.
Inspired by still life artwork, I spent all of 2012 teaching myself how to sculpt cakes so hyperrealistic, they could trick people into believing they were the real thing. This is also when I challenged myself to create something that I had never seen before: a cake sculpture of a human bust.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
In February 2013, I entered a bust cake in the likeness of musician Willie Nelson into a cake competition. It won best in category, best in division, and best in show. People who attended the event posted photos on the internet, and soon I was seeing my cake all over mainstream news networks.
My brother, who lives in Tokyo, had posted a picture to Reddit with the title A cake that my sister made... I present: Willie Nelson!". Within 12 hours, the post had reached #1 on the front page of Reddit and I had friends and family members calling me telling me they had seen my cake all over social media, the news, and on TV.
In October of that same year, Dave and I got married and I made our Halloween themed wedding cake. Once again, the cake went viral. People at the wedding had posted photos online, and by the time we got to the reception, it was already being talked about on the radio back in our hometown of Cleveland, and reached worldwide recognition by that night.
That was when I knew it was time to start my own business.
SIDESERF CAKE STUDIO
Because I knew I wanted art to be just as important as the cakes, I decided to use the word "studio" as in art studio, instead of "bakery". I also knew the Sideserf last name was unique, thus, Sideserf Cake Studio was born. I started out by making customer cakes out of my home, and would contact local Austin businesses with the idea of making cakes to promote their products or events on social media. At that time, very few were interested. I was often asked “Who would want to eat that?” But this general perspective would change as the popularity of my cake art grew over the years :)
In 2015, I received my first opportunity to be on TV for a cake competition show called "Duff Til Dawn". Since it was my first time, I didn't know what to expect. I didn't realize that many parts of large-scale show-cakes made on TV at the time were at least partially made of styrofoam, which is much easier to sculpt than cake. I competed with a design that was made completely from cake which led to me running out of time resulting in an unfinished cake that did not showcase my abilities. I was disappointed, but I did learn a lot from that experience and I’m happy to have had it.
TEXAS CAKE HOUSE
In 2016 I was approached to have my own TV show on Food Network where Husband Dave and I were documented making elaborate sculpted cakes for customers in Austin. This was a very different style show than my first tv experience and again, I wasn't sure what to expect. Dave and I learned SO much regarding tv production, filming, and storytelling. Our experience filming Texas Cake House inspired us to produce our own cake videos, which eventually lead to our YouTube channel: Sideserf Cake Studio
After two seasons of Texas Cake House, I realized now more than ever that the focus of Sideserf Cake Studio should be on creating consistent cake content for all of you to enjoy! I didn’t have any fancy equipment, so I started filming my cake process with what I did have: an iPhone 7, and I posted those videos to YouTube.
I started making YouTube videos regularly in 2018 and growth took a long time, but I expected that because I knew I had so much to learn. I didn't have lighting, my sound was bad, Dave didn't know how to edit yet, and we weren't even sure what the format was going to be. But we made a new video every week, and used each one to try to get better.
After over a year of posting videos weekly, our channel was finally monetized! Sure, we were earning $2.00 a month, but the potential to grow as independent content creators was evident, and we were as inspired as ever. Even at just a couple bucks a month, Dave was ecstatic. His enthusiasm inspired me to keep working hard. He regularly reminded me, “The only way we can fail is if we quit”. And he was right! Since we started our channel in 2018, we’ve worked extremely hard to become better creators with every video. We always take our viewers feedback into consideration and it has been a huge help (thank you!)
Fast forward to the present and I have made cakes for so many great companies, I've gotten many more TV experiences under my belt, and Sideserf Cake Studio has grown into something we couldn't have ever imagined possible when we decided to leave our hometown for Texas.
And of course, we couldn't have done it without the tremendous support we've received from every person who has ever left a comment or a like on one of our videos or posts. To all of whom we are extremely grateful.
So, what's next? Stay tuned!
Why we do what we do
Every time I'm feeling down, I watch one of your videos, and you make me want to go make stuff (@RavenSkyWolf)
Thank you so much for posting your videos. I love to watch them and have recently tried to make a cake like one of the ones you made in a video. I just wanted to send you this so you know just how much these teach me and how much I enjoy them. Thank you. (Alivia M.)
You have the most visually satisfying content. Remarkable talent! (@MrBallen)
This [cake] is insane! (@MrBeast)
My to-go videos. Really helps me cool down, puts me at ease, and makes me happy. (@Hawrzzz)
It's so inspirational to watch you pull through cake trials and see the final product. Very satisfying to see all your creative solutions to working with cake as a medium. (@Catclakat)
I love your videos and watching your vids makes me so happy (@rcfamily8993)
My 5 year old watches your videos religiously at bed time each night - your videos are better than bedtime stories for her. (Taja U.)