If you are a woman looking for a hand-crafted cake that is as tasty on the inside as it is beautiful on the outside, get to know Sheri Davis. At age 23, she is the up-and-coming cake designer on Hilton Head Island.
"I got into a cake decorating class just as something fun to do and a way to have some social interaction," said Sheri, who at the time was a stay-at-home mom. "But I actually turned out to be really good at it."
With her art background and a love for cooking that she discovered in high school, Sheri was a natural at cake decorating. She knew she was on to something when the class learned how to write with icing and she was able to get her lettering perfect the very first time. Then, as she recalls, "It seemed like every time I attempted to make a new kind of sugar flower, I pretty much nailed it."
Sugar flowers are all the rage these days, she says, and women are looking for cakes exploding with colorful, exuberant growth made from sugar and edible paint.
"You barely ever see a plain white cake these days," said Sheri, who started her business, Sheri's Edible Designs, in August, 2007. "Everybody wants sugar flowers. I've made cakes with arrangements of sugar flowers cascading up and down the whole cake."
The life-like flowers are made from a paste that Sheri describes as "sugar play-dough," which she can shape with an assortment of cutters and molds. After they have dried rigid in about 24 hours, she uses a special, FDA-approved color dust-kind of like solidified food coloring-to hand-paint all the flowers. With 2008 looking to be a busy year for weddings, Sheri will be making a lot of Gerber daisies and hydrangeas, which she says are the trendiest flowers right now. Another popular motif: the cherry blossom cake.
As for the actual cake itself, Sheri makes everything from scratch, using only fresh ingredients. She never freezes her cakes, and will likely be putting on the finishing touches just hours before the wedding. Her flavor selection covers the full spectrum, from your traditional white and lemon cakes, to more exotic ones like chocolate-covered strawberry chunk and the currently popular pink champagne cake. Sheri's own personal favorite is a creation called Island Time, which tastes like a margarita with lime curd and tequila-flavored syrup.
Though Sheri makes cakes for all sorts of occasions, weddings are her favorite because she loves working with the brides, as well as all the other players in the grand show of matrimony. Planners, florists, photographers, DJs-they all have the same goal, says Sheri, which is to provide the best service they can. And at the epicenter of it all is that ultimate icon of marriage: the cake.
"I feel that the wedding cake is the centerpiece of the reception," she said. It's the largest, most noticeable piece of art. And the tradition of cutting the cake is symbolic of starting your new life together with another person."
Hometown: Chicago Came to the Lowcountry: eight years ago Mother of: Nathan, age 4 Has studied under: Nicholas Lodge at the International Sugar Art Collection, and renowned pastry chef, Colette Peters Got her professional start: working at a bakery on the island where she gained commercial speed and mass production skills Big break: when she saw an ad in the paper saying there was kitchen space for rent in Pineland Station Why she had to jump on it: "After doing the same cakes over and over every day, I wanted to use my artistic abilities more and do something that was more my style: unique, cutting-edge and modern." True confession: She's been known to stay up all night before a wedding, perfecting her masterpiece cake. Average time it takes to make one sugar rose: eight hours For more info: www.sherisedibledesigns.com