A cake is a canvas. Artistic, well-trained bakers and chefs whip up these embossed, exquisite towers in fragrant bakeshops in the hopes of earning those coveted “oohs and aahs." And with the rise of social media and other pictorial platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Flickr, and Tumblr, chefs have been thrust into a bold new era of culinary consumerism — one where customers express in acute detail their innumerable, ambitious visions and demands.
Given the astonishing rise in expectations, chefs are pressed more than ever to live up to the pressure. But as is the case with many Austin talents, a number of local bakers and chefs are not only surpassing expectations, they're earning much-deserved praise and fanfare in the process of doing so.
On the hunt for a beautiful wedding, birthday, or just-because cake? Check out our list of the best local cake decorators in the city.
Coco Paloma Desserts
Celebrated by wedding-centric outlets like The Knot and Brides magazines, the Coco Paloma cake studio assembles breathtaking cakes for any and all occasions. Floral embellishments, all-natural ingredients, and beautiful artistry make these wedding cakes a worthwhile splurge. Graphic-designer-turned-pastry-chef Paloma Efron started designing and assembling wedding cakes at The Driskill Hotel before breaking off and opening her own studio in 2006. Her impeccable style and elegant creations have even inspired Martha Stewart Weddings to dub her a Top Pastry Pro.
Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop
Playful and whimsical, Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop is a long-standing Austin favorite. The shop is disciplined enough to create an intricate 10-tier wedding cake and then turn right around and prepare a sweet but simple children’s birthday cake. Propelled to fame after designing Kayne West’s birthday cake in 2014, Sugar Mama’s can pull off just about anything.
Sweet Treets Bakery
While Sweet Treets specializes in a wide range of baked goodies including cupcakes, cookies, cake balls, pies, and cheesecakes, cakes are the star of the show here. In addition to working with special dietary needs (vegan, gluten free, dairy free, etc.), the shop also utilizes high-quality ingredients like Valrhona chocolate, Madagascar bourbon vanilla, fresh fruits, and homemade buttercream frosting instead of highly processed fondant.
Her education at New York’s prestigious French Culinary Institute and experience alongside some of the industry’s greatest pastry minds, including Bill Yosses and Ron-Ben Israel, molded Denise Even’s impeccable talent in the competitive baking and pastry-arts world. Studying Even’s portfolio, it’s evident the chef carries a certain elegant, enviable aesthetic that you'll be hard pressed to find anywhere else.
Simon Lee Bakery
Marvelous architectural wonders — that’s what Simon Lee Bakery is well known for. The bakery is most noted for the Pinterest-popular University of Texas Tower cake, which Simon Lee Bakery baked and assembled for former UT quarterback Colt McCoy’s wedding. It's not all fun, fondant, flowers, and frosting with Simon Lee’s work, however. The coveted Austin bakery must consider strenuous height and weight requirements when piecing together these well-engineered treats.
Tina’s Treats Texas
After taking an introductory Wilton cake course years ago, Tina Mendiola became hooked on designing and decorating homemade cakes. The baker started slow making close friends and family members' cakes before eventually diving in and opening her own business. Though all of her works are captivating, the pastry chef's hand-painted cakes are our favorite.
Delish Bakery’s Instagram profile is like a dream. Think unicorns, Sesame Street cupcakes, dinosaur cookies, and Fruity Pebbles macarons. Delish pays great tribute to both craftsmanship and flavor profiles, so there’s no need to worry about biting into a beautiful but devastatingly bland cake. And with the recent arrival of Callie Speer as Delish's pastry chef, there are inevitably even greater things to come from this shop.