This community has something for everyone, filling almost every need and desire a resident could have. But when a void does exist, someone usually quickly realizes it and fills it in, offering the missing product or service. Lakelands resident Gabryela Passeto is a case in point: After noticing there were few places nearby at which to find a festive cake — especially a delicious non-dairy or eggless cake — she decided to become our local “Cake Boss” by starting her custom cake business, Gabilicious Cakes.
The idea began when Passeto began making birthday cakes for her stepson, Ethan, about four years ago. She decided to make a cake instead of buying one because Ethan has multiple food allergies. She wanted the cake to be safe and also “not taste like cardboard,” said Passeto.
Passeto, an architect, enjoyed making and decorating the cake, as well as receiving compliments on her cakes from parents. She did not think about turning cake-baking into a business until a co-worker, who had asked Passeto to make a cake for her niece, loved what she had made and insisted she had the skills to be successful.
She began posting pictures of her cakes on Facebook and immediately started receiving requests for custom cakes. On March 2, 2012, Passeto started an official Facebook page for her new business, and Gabilicious Cakes was born.
“There was a big uptick in business right away,” she said, “and [the new cake orders generated by my Facebook page] caused word of mouth to get me even more customers.”
Passeto said she designs and sketches her cakes beforehand, just like in architecture. “I love doing this,” she said. “I love being challenged, figuring it out … seeing the finished product … and the smiles on the faces of the kids. And their parents!”
A typical cakes takes Passeto anywhere from six to eight hours to create. Though 99 percent of her cakes are completely original and customized, with a base price of $175, she said she occasionally gets a request for a copy of a cake she has in her Facebook photo gallery. She also makes cupcakes, with prices for those varying greatly.
Still a full-time architect, the obvious question is: When does Passeto have time to make her cakes? “All at night and on the weekends,” she said with a laugh.
Passeto said she made 25 cakes from the time she started her Facebook page in March to the end of 2012. “I surprise [even] myself,” she admitted.
So far, a majority of Passeto’s work has been for custom birthday cakes. However, she makes cakes for all occasions, including weddings. “And,” she added, “I would love to specialize in Bar and Bat Mitzvahs for neighborhood children.” Passeto said many of Ethan’s friends are Jewish and will turn 12 and 13 in the next few years.
So will Gabilicious Cakes become a full-time business for Passeto anytime soon? “I love architecture. It’s my passion,” said Passeto. “But if architecture ever fails me, there will be a Gabilicious bakery in this neighborhood!”
While she dreams of one day owning a family-run bakery, “I just can’t leave a good job,” she said. And I love what I do — in both aspects of my life.”
For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/#!/GabiliciousCakes.