Artist Stacey Moore’s hyper-realistic designs take the cake and then some
Stacey Moore will be the first to admit she’s always had a love of art. Growing up, she spent her days drawing, painting, sculpting, and crafting. “My mom used to subscribe to a magazine called Family Fun and I absolutely loved it,” she says. “There was always a party section in every issue with cake decorating ideas and how-to’s.”
While most burgeoning teen artists gravitate towards pencils and paint, Moore leaned in hard to frosting and fondant. What started off as a hobby at age 14 eventually blossomed into a full-fledged career as a cake artist extraordinaire. “Over the years I just kept teaching myself new things and growing my skills,” she says. “It’s funny to look back on some of my first cakes and see how far I’ve come.”
In 2014, Moore began working at Cosentino’s Price Chopper as a cake designer, ultimately working her way up to the corporate bakery catering sales manager. Before long, her ornate, mile-high wedding cakes began garnering the attention of brides-to-be. But it was her over-the-top, realistic, and 3D sculpted cakes that really started to turn heads.
If you’ve seen any of the dozen or so cake decorating shows encircling the globe, you know how eerily realistic some designs can be. For instance, Netflix’s whackadoo, new reality TV competition Is It Cake? features bakers who try tricking celebrity judges by creating cakes that replicate common objects.
Moore’s intricate handiwork can stack up against any of the show’s competitors.
We had eight burning questions for KC’s newly minted countess of cakes, including the proverbial will-she-or-won’t-she ever compete on a reality baking show.
The Pitch: ‘Fess up, do these cakes taste as good as they look? Or is it art first, taste second?
Stacey Moore: Yes. These cakes really do taste delicious. You can’t go wrong with our large variety of cake flavors and fillings. Some people don’t prefer the taste of fondant, but it can be a necessary component in making realistic-looking cakes. I always say if you don’t like fondant, just peel it off. The cake can easily be enjoyed with just the buttercream icing underneath.
Your cakes are hyper-detailed. How much effort and energy does each cake take?
Each cake is unique, and some take much longer to create than others. All the little details can be extremely time-consuming, and I use many different tools and mediums to achieve the desired look. Each one really is a work of art. I’ve spent an entire week on a single cake, but most of them I can complete in a day or two.
What’s the most complicated cake you’ve ever done?
It wasn’t even a 3D sculpted cake. It was a 7-tiered, 5-foot-tall wedding cake with tons of pillars, crystals, and large tropical flowers. I had to assemble it from a ladder on a very windy, very hot summer day inside an open-air tent. You better believe I thought about that cake all evening, praying that it was okay.
There are tons of cake decorating shows. Do you have a fave? And why are you not competing?
Since Halloween is my favorite holiday, Halloween Wars on Food Network has always been my favorite. The combination of cake designers, pumpkin carvers, and candy artists on each team is so fun to watch.
In 2019, I competed in my first local cake decorating competition and won first place. It’s definitely a dream of mine to go bigger and eventually make it on to one of these shows.
How many weird requests do you get each month at Cosentino’s? What did your August look like?
My schedule is mostly filled with wedding cakes, but I get my fair share of unique requests. I’ve had requests for steak cakes and whiskey barrel cakes. Also, cakes that look like pizzas, shoes, purses, and pets. If you can name it, I can cake it.
Have you ever turned down an idea?
Yes, I do occasionally have to turn down ideas or designs. Ninety-nine percent of the time it’s not because I don’t want to make them or I’m not capable.
It’s usually because the design involves a character or logo that’s copyright protected. As a cake designer, you have to be careful to abide by copyright laws to protect yourself, your company, and your client. Are there bakers out there who still do these designs anyways? Yes, but I choose to uphold my integrity—and follow the law.
Somebody is baking you a cake for your birthday. What’s your flavor profile?
I have such a sweet tooth. If given the choice, I’ll always take a corner piece with extra frosting. I love pink champagne cake with a whipped cream filling and fresh berries. Or banana cake with a peanut butter frosting. Or coconut cake with coconut cream filling. I also love a good chocolate fudge or confetti cake (don’t skimp on the sprinkles).
Finally, name one elaborate cake design you’ve yet to tackle, but you’re dying to try.
It’s definitely a gravity-defying design. I’ve already thought through the design and internal structure in my mind. I just think these cakes look so impressive.