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Having Her Cake and Making It, Too

Jennifer Bunce is the owner of the Hudson Cakery, which produces cakes unlikely to be found elsewhere.

Jennifer Bunce
Responding to customer requests, Jennifer Bunce, of the Hudson Cakery, has made creations looking like anything from a beer mug topped by frothy frosting to a bust of Spiderman. Photography by Nick Romanenko

It started with R2-D2. When a bride asked Jennifer Bunce in 2009 to create a cake copy of the Star Wars robot, she whipped up a three-foot-tall vanilla butter confection that weighed in at 100 pounds. “I knew it would be simple, because the robot’s body is round like a cake,” says Bunce SCILS’03, owner of the Hudson Cakery, which recently re­located to Weehawken, New Jersey. “It was so tall that we had to transport it in an SUV.”

As word of mouth spread like icing, Bunce was asked to concoct other sweet sculptures that took her cake baking to a higher tier. Responding to her customers’ requests, she’s done a beer mug topped by frothy frosting, a sugary stiletto, a chocolate Steelers helmet filled with ganache, a bust of Spiderman, and a baseball-headed Mr. Met. Pulling off such tasty masterpieces is the icing on her cake.

Each custom creation, costing $300 to $1,500, is a fete and feat of edible engineering—a mix of sugar, butter, eggs, and, sometimes, even PVC piping. “The guys at Home Depot know me by name,” Bunce says.

Bunce, who majored in journalism and media studies, didn’t start out to be a self-styled architect of icing. A college adviser suggested event planning, which led her to a career in public relations and eventually classes at the Institute of Culinary Education. “Everything I learned at Rutgers—writing, editing, communications—has come in handy,” says Bunce, who has a staff of two. “I couldn’t have opened my business without these skills.”

Although Bunce has never turned down any request, there are some ideas that the cake can’t take. Can she bake a life-size statue of a person that walks and talks? “Batteries aren’t on my list of ingredients,” she says.
— Nancy A. Ruhling