There’s something magical about a bakery box and the treasures they hold. That’s especially true at the Pink Cake Box, where they specialize in everything sweet. Owner and Cake Designer Anne Heap creates sensational cakes for all occasions, but she’s especially famous for her wedding cakes. Recently we sat down and had a talk with her about baking, business, and weddings.
“I enjoyed baking at an early age. I always said that one day I would have my own shop. In 2004, I left my job in advertising to pursue my dream. I studied Pastry Arts at The French Culinary Institute in New York City. A year later, I founded Pink Cake Box and was working out of a restaurant kitchen. We moved to our current space in Denville in 2007.”
Speaking of cakes, she noted: “It has to taste as good as it looks. Our cakes start with homemade ingredients. We focus on very clean lines—we like everything to be as perfect as possible. We have a wide variety of aesthetic—from a fun sculpted dog groom’s cake to a whimsical, brightly colored, topsy-turvy bridal shower cake to an elegant eight-tier wedding cake.”
In terms of wedding cakes, there are a few important things to keep in mind, according to Anne. “Be conscious of the wedding and the surroundings. You might need to make provisions for the cake, say, for instance, if you’re having an outdoor wedding. You don’t want to have buttercream or fillings that will melt in the summer heat. You will need a cool place to keep the cake. Then there are the design no-no’s. You have to let your revenue speak to you. You don’t want a ten-tier floral classic wedding cake for a wedding out in a field. Or a rustic looking cake for a fancy ballroom reception. Keep with the flow of the event. It is best to listen to the designer’s advice—they are the professional.”
As the cake designer, Anne is up on the latest wedding cake styles. “Brides like the romantic lace and pearls, hand painted cakes with floral designs, monogrammed toppers, rustic looking buttercream, and use of color on the cake, such as with an ombre cake with gradations of color. Sugar flowers bouquets are looser and more organic. You see more stems showing, leaves, a very organic look. Metallic cakes with gold or silver leaf are popular. Of course, a classic white on white wedding cake is never out of style. We offer interior designs to coordinate with the design of the exterior. We can do zebra, leopard, polka dot, or rainbow interiors. One of our most popular flavors is our signature pink velvet, with our lemon cream cheese filling. Couples also like the chocolate with raspberry Chambord, Oreos, and cream, or our yummy hazelnut Frangelico filling. We also can do cakes for those with dietary restrictions, including nut-free, gluten-free, and eggless.”
According to Anne, she recommends happy couples come in four months prior to the wedding. “Our one-hour tastings include a variety of cupcakes to sample. During the consultation, we will discuss the design of the cake. I also explain how cakes are structured, the types of cakes, the fillings, icings, and fondant. I explain the details and techniques for the cake. With a contract, we offer a free tier for couples to enjoy for their anniversary. You should come with items to help in the design of the cake, such as the invitation, swatches from the bridesmaid dresses, or photos of the bridal gown, flowers or venue. You also can bring photos of cakes that appeal to you. My job as the designer is to customize the cake and put my own twist on it.” (The bride and groom can visit www.pinkcakebox.com to see photo galleries of groom’s cakes, bridal shower cakes, celebration cakes, wedding cakes, party favors, cupcakes, and cookies. Anne also has a comprehensive glossary of cake terms on the site called A to Z Cake Lingo, covering airbrushing to zest.)
And if you want to do something a bit different from the traditional wedding cake, Anne, and her team can accommodate. “Dessert tables are extremely popular, whether including the wedding cake, or just desserts. We have done cupcake stands, French macaron trees, even a French croquembouche tree. We can do a small two-tier wedding cake with cupcakes, decorative sugar cookies, cake pops, push pops, French macarons, brownies, tarts, and individual mini cakes. All of the elements on the table are designed to go together. We also can do a main wedding cake then a plated dessert that is brought out later. The plate might have an individualized mini cake with a macaron and maybe a third option. We also do favors. It might be a favor cupcake or cookie that is on the table. It also could be a table with treats to take home. We did a milk and cookies table for one wedding.”
Baking as a Business
The business has grown, and Anne says” Last year, we opened our retail boutique next door called Pink Cake Box Boutique. It’s where we feature homemade cookies, cupcakes, small decorative buttercream cakes, brownies and cookie bars, cheesecake bites, and French macarons.”
Since her early days of baking, Pastry Chef, and Cake Designer Anne Heap has collected some impressive accolades. Her two-person business have evolved to several trained pastry chefs and artists. Last June, her life-sized wedding cake was featured on Food Network’s Outrageous Wedding Cakes. Her staff has made cakes for David Tutera’s My Fair Wedding. A Pink Cake Box cake was seen on Bravo’s Bethenny Getting Married. Anne Heap has appeared on specials by Martha Stewart and CNN. Pink Cake Box wedding cakes have been in many of the nation’s top bridal magazines. In 2013, Anne was named one of the top 10 cake artists in North America by Dessert Professional. And from 2009 to 2011, Anne was in three Cake Challenges for Food Network, as well as two TLC Ultimate Cake Off competitions, winning one event for her Legoland cake.
Pink Cake Box University
For those who want to learn some baking and decorating tips from Anne, she offers her educational platform, Pink Cake Box University. According to Anne, it focuses on education within the cake, cupcake, and cookie decorating mediums by offering recipes, reviews, tutorials, educational DVDs, and classes.
Every Thursday evening, Anne offers her Eat, Drink & Decorate classes at the Pink Cake Box. They are perfect for brides to gather their parties for some snacks, drinks, and decoration. The classes are $45.00 per person, and include glasses, napkins, and cake decorating materials. You can BYOB and some snacks. On March 12, there will be a Cupcake Class from 6:45 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. On April 12, there will be a Cookie Class from 6:45 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
Every Thursday evening, Anne offers her Eat, Drink & Decorate classes at the Pink Cake Box. They are perfect for brides to gather their parties for some snacks, drinks, and decoration. The classes are $45.00 per person and include glasses, napkins, and cake decorating materials. You can BYOB and some snacks. On March 12, there will be a Cupcake Class from 6:45 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. On April 12, there will be a Cookie Class from 6:45 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
Anne also offers cake decorating classes at the Pink Cake Box. She teaches fundamentals such as stacking and icing, and advanced skills such as making sugar figures and sculpting cakes. On March 7, there is Cupcake 101, a decorating and frosting class. According to Heap, students will learn how to frost cupcakes using a piping bag and tip. “The class will focus on piping techniques, royal icing, fondant decorations, and presentation tips for some fun cupcake decorations.” The course is $150.00 per person, and will be from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. You also can take online classes through Pink Cake Box University. You can learn how to make a dress cake, which involves cake carving and ornate decoration. There also is an online figure modeling class. Anne Heap teaches both courses. All of the courses at Pink Cake Box University require payment and preregistration.
Pink Cake Box and Pink Cake Box Boutique are located at 18 East Main Street, Suites 101 and 102, in Denville. Their phone number is 973-998-4445. Online, you can visit their three Pink Cake Box Websites: the main bakery site, the boutique shop and the Pink Cake Box the University site
The Flavor List
Pink Cake Box can cater to most flavors. Here are some of their yummiest.
Chocolate Fudge Cake
Red Velvet Cake/Pink Velvet Cake
S’mores (Graham Cracker Cake filled with marshmallow and chocolate)
Pink Champagne Cake
Vanilla Rainbow Sprinkle
Oreos and Cream
Cream Cheese (regular, lemon, almond, cinnamon)
Zests (lemon, lime, orange)
Fresh strawberries and raspberries can be added to buttercream fillings