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July Cake Decorator Spotlight

15 Wonderful Cake Ideas

Hi everyone! I am excited to be featuring Sherrie from Mesa, AZ, for July! I am always in admiration of Sherrie’s cakes and creations. Everything she makes is just beautiful, as you will see when you read on! She definitely has a knack for natural talent when it comes to cake decorating. Check out the rest of her wonderful creations on her Instagram.

Can you share some about yourself?

Hi, my name is Sherrie Smith, and I currently live in Mesa, AZ, with my husband, Brad. We met while in college and will celebrate our 40th anniversary this December! I worked full-time the first few years of our marriage until my husband finished dental school.  Since that time, I have been blessed to be a full-time mom! We raised our 4 children (2 boys and 2 girls) in Rocklin, CA, just north of Sacramento.  They are all adults now and have blessed us with 11 grandchildren (9 grandsons and 2 granddaughters)!  Their ages range from 15 years down to 1 year, and we are blessed to live close to all but 2 of them!  We moved to Mesa, AZ, 13 years ago when our oldest grandson was 2 years old.  We couldn’t stand being so far away and have loved living close to being involved in the lives of our children and grandchildren. Family time is our favorite time! Since being empty-nesters, I have been able to accompany my husband on business trips quite often, and we have loved our adventures of traveling and seeing lots of beautiful places!  We have also been richly blessed by our dental service trips to Tonga & Samoa over the past 10 years!  The people there have become our second family!  

How did you get started with your baking/cake decorating journey?

I have enjoyed baking most of my adult life and made our children’s birthday cakes each year.  After moving to Arizona, I started a tradition where the grandkids got to pick out a birthday cake each year, and I would make it for them.  This was something they all loved and looked forward to.  So did I! 🙂 In February of 2020, I got asked to teach a group of women from my church how to bake, stack & decorate a 3-layered cake! I taught a demonstration class to about 30 women in my home kitchen!  It was lots of fun!  A couple of weeks later, a friend asked if I could make her daughter’s smash cake.  I loved that opportunity!  Then in March, everyone’s lives were changed by the Pandemic, which caused all of our traveling plans to be canceled, and I found myself pretty much stuck at home and desperately needed something to fill the days.  With the encouragement of friends and family, I decided to start an Instagram account for my cakes and see what would come of it!  It has been just a little over 1 year since Sherrie-Bakes-Cakes started, and I thoroughly love every minute of it!  

Is there a cake decorating tool that you can’t live without?

My Ateco turntable has been a definite upgrade from the basic turntable I first started with!  I also love my metal cake scrapers and combs! I don’t know if you consider this a tool, but I absolutely love to add sparkle to whatever I can, be it with Fancy Sprinkles prism powder, glitter sugars, or gold metallic paint. 

What is your preferred buttercream to work with?

I use mainly American Buttercream, although I did try making SMBC once and loved mixing it with my ABC to make a hybrid. It piped beautifully; however, I find that American Buttercream is much easier for me to fit within my time when filling cake orders.

What are your favorite techniques to work with?

I absolutely LOVE adding fresh florals to cakes and love using soft color palettes, especially pink!  Letter and number cakes are entertaining for me, and I love making the details personal to fit what the recipient likes.  I also love textured buttercream using a palette knife or my offset spatula.  Honestly, though, there are so many techniques and treats that I have been able to try, and I have loved challenging myself to learn new techniques! I feel it has made me a pretty well-rounded baker/cake decorator. I have learned so much over the past year and appreciate all the wonderful and talented baker friends who have helped with questions & tips!  We have an amazing baking community! More recently, I have loved using stencils to add texture and designs to cakes.  My husband bought me a nice airbrush for Mother’s Day, so I look forward to learning more about using it!

What are your challenges with running a business?

My biggest challenge is managing the number of cake order requests and learning to set limits with myself.  I have difficulty turning down an order, especially when it is a style that I love, but I know that I already have the date booked with other cake orders.  I am somewhat of a perfectionist, so taking on too many orders can make unnecessary stress, but somehow things have always worked out.  I really love where things are at for my business right now, and I feel so blessed to have the BEST customers!  I say that sincerely!  I truly am the lucky one! 🙂

Where do you find your inspiration from? 

Inspiration is found in lots of places! Customers sometimes send inspiration pictures of cakes they like, themes/colors they are using for their celebration, or cakes they have seen on my profile. Party supply stores are a fun place for inspiration.  Other bakers truly inspire me with techniques I’d like to try.   I love finding tutorials to help me learn new techniques and then trying them with a cake order.  Of course, Instagram and Pinterest are always full of ideas as well, but I do my best to make it in my style.  

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to get started with baking/cake decorating?

My advice would be to go for it and do all you can to learn and improve your skills.  There are so many opportunities to learn and develop your skills, and I would encourage them to take advantage of all there is to offer! There will always be ups and downs and failed attempts but don’t give up!  Stick with the basics while working on maybe one or two new techniques at a time.  Slowly, over time, you’ll find that your skills have improved, and then it’s time to add a few new techniques. 

What do you enjoy in your downtime?

I love traveling with my husband and look forward to hopefully being able to travel again soon.  I especially miss the opportunities to serve the people in Tonga and Samoa.  I also love playing the piano, going to the movies, going on bike rides, and spending time with my kids and grandkids.

What are your favorite foods?

My favorite foods are probably shrimp & pineapple tacos, chips & salsa, sour watermelon candies, pretty much anything lemon flavored, pizza & I especially love breakfast . . . even for dinner!  

My Cakes

Safari Cakes

Floral Cheetah Cake

Saying HELLO to 40 with a pretty little Rose Gold & Floral Cheetah cake! 

Safari Birthday Cake

I loved adding the PINK to the fun textured jungle theme and incorporating hand-painted cheetah designs, tropical fondant leaves, and my favorite black polka dots!

Wild One Birthday Cake

Wild One Birthday Cake

Themes for 1st birthdays are just so fun these days! The fun animal prints are stenciled & hand-painted onto the cake.

Wild One Smash Cake

Wild One Smash Cake

This cute smash cake accompanied the birthday cake above.

Peter Pan Cake

Peter Pan Cake

Such a sweet theme for a baby shower to welcome a precious baby boy! 💚🤎 So many fun details went into this cake design! My favorite part was making the cute fondant teepee!

Baby Shark Cake

Baby Shark Cake

I had a blast making my first Baby Shark-themed cake for a pool party birthday celebration.

Ballet Slippers & Roses Cake

Ballet Shoes & Roses Cake

The perfect birthday celebration for a ballet teacher! I’ve looked forward to creating these fondant ballet slippers for a while now and am in love with how this special birthday cake turned out.

Pretty Swan Cake

Swan Cake

This is a three 6” Funfetti cake layers wrapped in vanilla buttercream ruffles touched with edible gold paint. The topper is double stacked cupcakes, and the swan is made with fondant & white chocolate feathers brushed with edible gold paint.

Engagement Cake

Engagement Cake

Here are the cake details: Gold polka dot hand-painted macarons filled with pink buttercream & lemon curd, white chocolate-dipped strawberries, roses, candies, mini pink chocolate bars & green chocolate dipped pretzels, and gold dragees.

Succulent Cake

Succulent Cake

Wedding season is in full swing, and I loved the opportunity to make this beautiful succulent topped cake adorned with gold leaf for a lovely bride & groom’s traditional cake cutting! The gold hoop added a classy touch!

Unicorn Cake

There’s always something so magical about a unicorn cake! I loved making this sweet & sparkly pink ombré unicorn cake. For more unicorn cake inspiration, click here.

Rainbow Cake

This is what sparkly pastel RAINBOW dreams are made of! For more rainbow cake inspiration, click here.

Hot Fudge Cake

The cake has chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla cake layers filled with chocolate, caramel ganache, and strawberry cream. The ice cream sundae is 3 scoops of cake dough (chocolate, vanilla & strawberry) with chocolate ganache drip, rainbow sprinkles & a cherry on top!

Geode Cake

This cake is a three 6” vanilla cake layers & two 4” vanilla cake layers, all dyed purple! 💜 So cool! It’s all wrapped in vanilla buttercream and rock candy to form the geode. The edges are hand-painted with edible silver paint then brushed with silver luster dust! It’s got an incredible sparkle factor in person!

Boho Inspired Cake

A blush Boho beauty to shower the beautiful momma-to-be and welcome her sweet baby! This might be my new favorite! Blush textured buttercream topped with a gorgeous combination of blush and cream silk & dried florals and a sweet accent feather. The subtle gold leaf adds the perfect sparkle.

Golf Cake

Many fun details went into this cake for a surprise celebration last week here in AZ for an avid golfer from NY! Chocolate golf balls, fondant tees & putting green, graham cracker crumb sand trap, shag buttercream grass & I couldn’t forget the piped cactus! After all, it’s Arizona.

Thank you so much for doing this interview, Sherrie. I enjoyed reading about you, and your creations are gorgeous!

Follow Sherrie on her Instagram to stay updated with her cakes in the future!

Past Interviews

More Cake Inspiration


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