Encino’s Cake Crumbs Bakery and School of Confectionary Arts stands uniquely alone

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carole rosner90BY CAROLE ROSNER

I am fascinated by cake decorating. Much to my family’s dismay, I am often glued to the television watching the latest round of cake decorating competitions. The talent it takes to create realistic and edible cherry blossoms, glossy pearls, and woven baskets amazes me. John and Susan Rota have that talent and are using it daily at Cake Crumbs bakery in Encino —  where they create culinary works of decadent sculptured art.

Cake Crumbs never makes the same two cakes again. Photo: Courtesy Cake Crumbs

Cake Crumbs never makes the same cakes twice. Photo: Courtesy Cake Crumbs

What started as a 400-square-foot bakery in Rutherford, New Jersey is now a 1000-square-foot, top-of-the line, made-to-order bakery and School of Confectionary Art in Encino.

John trained at the French Culinary Institute in New York City . While there, he interned with well-known wedding cake bakers Colette Peters and Gail Watson and was the assistant pastry chef at Bridgewaters Restaurant in Manhattan. Shortly after his internships, John and Susan opened their bakery.  With Susan’s background in  art and fashion, and John’s baking and cake decorating skills, they make the perfect team.


. Delicate orchids, whimsical daisies, and big blooms of flowers are all made by hand. Photo: Carole Rosner

Cake Crumbs is not a run-of-the-mill bakery which uses cheap ingredients or boxed cake mixes. Cake Crumbs is proud to say they don’t make the same cake twice.  Rather each one comes from personal inspiration.

“Each customer is unique, so each cake is unique,” stated John.

Popular cake flavors include white (vanilla), carrot, red velvet, and chocolate chip. Cake Crumbs uses homemade, rich Italian meringue butter cream frosting in flavors like fresh lemon, mocha, vanilla, raspberry, fresh orange, chocolate ganache and cream cheese to ice their cakes and cupcakes.

“If the ingredients are top-notch, the final product is top-notch too,” said Susan.

This cake is designed like a Chanel clutch handbag. Photo: Carole Rosner

This cake is designed like a Chanel clutch handbag, complete with edible glossy pearls. Photo: Carole Rosner

John related a story about their growth. One day, a female customer came into their shop in New Jersey and ordered a small cake for her mother’s anniversary. John and Susan made the cake and pleased the customer so much she came back the next day. It turned out that the customer was the Editor-in-Chief of Bride’s magazine. She hired Cake Crumbs to create cakes for a photo shoot. Although the bakery is now in Encino, Bride’s still calls John and Susan for cakes to be photographed for the magazine.

The decorating of a Cake Crumbs cake is nothing short of miraculous. John and Susan make everything that goes into and onto the cake, including the fondant and gum paste. Delicate orchids, whimsical daisies, and big blooms of flowers are all made by hand, and are true works of art.  John remarked that trends come and go in the cake decorating business, and they’ve done it all.

Most any kind of cake design is possible.  Photo: Carole Rosner

Most any kind of cake design is possible. Photo: Carole Rosner

“Both John and Susan went above and beyond our expectations. Not only do their cakes look amazing, but they are decadent and light,” said newlyweds David and Snow Lau.”Many of our guests could not stop raving about our cake. My husband and I are so grateful to John and Susan for our beautiful wedding cake. For that, we will definitely recommend them to our friends and family for future events.”

To a cake fan like me, the most exciting part of Cake Crumbs is their School of Confectionary Art. John and Susan teach students how to decorate a cake just like the pros. Everything is provided except an apron. The schedule is flexible and the classes are small.

“Susan and John ‘s baking class was fun and thorough, taught in a relaxing atmosphere. Most importantly I am now not so intimidated by ‘fancy cake recipes.’ Their creations are spectacular and so delicious! I hope to take more classes there,” student Laetitia Nelson said.

Students, such as Laetitia Nelson (above) learn the art of cake decorating at the School of Confectionary Arts at the Encino store. Photo: Carole Rosner

Students, such as Laetitia Nelson (above), learn the art of cake decorating at the School of Confectionary Arts at the Encino store. Courtesy: Cake Crumbs.

Cake Crumbs also bakes all types of cookies including raisin oatmeal, biscotti, rugelach, and almond-raspberry bars, as well as cupcakes with an artistic edge.

As I sat and stared at the extraordinary creations at Cake Crumbs, John confirmed my suspicions that “they don’t teach this kind of stuff at culinary school.” Perhaps when I learn to make one perfect gum-paste flower, I can finally turn off the Food Network.

RoraCake Crumbs owners John and Susan Rota. Photo: Courtesy Cake Crumbs

Cake Crumbs 17233 Ventura Blvd. (in Plaza de Oro Center) Encino, CA 91316 818.501.3908 www.cakecrumbs.com FREE parking in parking lot Open: 7 days a week, 9am-5pm and by appointment

Carole Rosner is a native Valley Girl who has lived in Studio City for the past 11 years. She is a strong supporter of her local public schools and an active volunteer in her neighborhood. Some of her favorite things to do in Studio City are to celebrate 4th of July at CBS Radford, walk along Ventura Blvd. and browse through the racks at Crossroads Trading Company.

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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