If you want to ease the stress of finding the perfect wedding cake, contact Deborah Edell at Perry Street Cakes.
I found Deborah through the Weddings section of the New York Times in 2005, when her own wedding announcement noted that she had a business making wedding and party cakes. Being in the market for a cake for my second-time around matrimonials, I contacted her. Her assignment: make me an all-chocolate cake, with decorations that would honor my daughter’s Vietnamese heritage.
Deborah was more than up to the challenge. Inspired by her mother, who is a chef, Deborah originally pursued her other passion, politics. A graduate of New York University with a masters’ degree in public policy, she served as a policy advisor to Sheldon Silver, Speaker of the New York State Assembly. Although satisfying, politics doesn’t pay all that well, so to supplement her income, she developed a baking business on the side, taking classes from master bakers and working out of her place on Perry Street.
Eventually, her passion for baking won out and she left Silver’s employ to devote herself full time to it. Her mother’s influence continues in Edell’s use of only the best quality ingredients: no cake mixes or shortcuts, no grocery store flavorings or sprinkles. The difference shows in the taste and word of mouth about her cakes (pun intended) is a big source of business. For example, brides-to-be ask for her signature red velvet cake because they’ve heard it described as “amazing,” by anyone who’s tasted it.
Deborah’s tips for finding your perfect cake:
• Select a baker whose aesthetic you like. A baker with a good eye will help you design a cake that people want to eat, not just look at. Deborah tells of a bride who wanted deep turquoise icing. She was able to work with her to see that guests might be reluctant to eat it. The result was a paler, Wedgwood-like cake that accomplished the look the bride wanted.
• Set a budget. An unlimited budget equals an unlimited imagination. Establishing a clear budget helps both you and the baker produce the cake of your dreams. The number of guests plays a big part in pricing. If you’re having a large wedding, consider having a two or three tier cake on display. A large sheet cake can be in the back for slicing. Guests will have the same cake and you can stay within budget.
• Taste the cake. My then seven-year-old daughter and I tasted two different types of chocolate cake, along with some fillings and icings. Even with a caterer, make sure you sample beforehand. Since everyone wants a bite of the wedding cake, you want to serve something delicious.
• Get the cake you want to eat. Don’t worry about anyone else’s taste. If you and the groom strongly disagree on taste, have a groom’s cake as well. My daughter and I chose to have one chocolate layer and one vanilla layer (my fiancé left the selection to us).
• Consult on the cake at least three months in advance.
Edell is dedicated to producing the perfect wedding cake, since “it lives in the couple’s album forever.” She loves being part of a special day: “To be part of someone’s memory—that’s the best!” Deborah’s dream is to open a bakery in her Upper East Side neighborhood that would produce “pies and other wonderful things,” in addition to cakes. That will wait until after her soon-to-be second child is in school. For now, in between making high-end wedding and party cakes, Deborah spends some of her free time with her favorite baking assistant, her two-and-a half year old son.
Deborah made the cake of my dreams. She’ll do the same for you.
To contact her, email: Deborah@perrystreetcakes.com