It probably goes without saying, but Smith Design is full of creatives. In our New Smith Spotlight blog series, we’re highlighting the talents of our team and their endeavors outside of our studio. Follow along to get to know the people who make Smith Design awesome.
Our fourth Smith Spotlight features the amazing talent of cake decorating done by Grace Peluso!
Grace started out as an artist and graphic designer. She attended the School of Visual Arts in NYC where she developed a background in sculpting, painting, structure and other mediums that would go on to help her in creating her amazing cakes.
Her 7-year-old nephew was her inspiration for getting started in cake decorating. She wanted to create memorable moments for the people she loves, while also challenging herself. One of her first big cakes was for her nephew’s birthday. He wanted a race car themed cake and Grace went above and beyond! She created a multi-level cake with raceway tracks, race cars and even fans. Seeing the joy it brought to her nephew, she knew she wanted to bring that excitement to others as well.
Grace’s first official commission came when a customer of her family’s deli happened to be looking for someone to create a cake for her daughters’ birthday. Grace decided to offer her services and designed a Miley Cyrus themed birthday cake for the little girl. After that, Grace started getting noticed for her cakes and her cake decorating services took off! She started marketing her cakes on Facebook and Instagram, but most of her customers came from word of mouth.
Not only did Grace learn a lot from her background in art, she also learned a lot from her dad. She describes him as being an artist who always encouraged her to try new things and think outside the box. This advice often comes in handy when Grace sets out to turn her extravagant cake designs into reality.
Designing one of Grace’s cakes is like trying to solve a puzzle requiring the ability to problem solve, focus, and be quick to figure out ways to overcome challenges. Gravity, weight and humidity can be your worst enemies. It’s important to be aware of both the weight of the cake and the decorations on top of it. Grace has needed to get creative with different types of edible materials to achieve her desired look and keep the cakes standing tall. For many structures and characters, Grace wraps rice crispy treats with fondant and adds flourishes and details with an endless assortment of candies and edible elements. For an elegant finish, Grace will also use fresh flowers to top her cakes.
Grace loves when a client gives her the freedom to use her imagination and create something unique that no one has seen before. Her process begins by gathering information on her client’s likes, interests and inspirations. From there, she begins sketching out ideas, works in any client feedback and gets started on making her vision come to life.
Now Grace has been decorating cakes for over 15 years. She loves to continue challenging herself and encourages others interested in cake decorating to not be afraid and try it out. Her advice is to not be intimidated, start small and use the resources you have to find what works for you. Most importantly, don’t worry about making mistakes, because “even mistakes are delicious!”.
Today, Grace brings her artistic and culinary talents to the Smith Design team as our in-house food stylist and recipe developer. To check out more of Grace’s incredible cakes, follow her @graziascakes
At Smith Design, our culture is rooted in caring. We make a conscious and collective effort to translate our values into actions that benefit our staff, our clients, our community and our environment.