Walking into Carrie’s kitchen you really feel like you’re walking into an artist’s studio. The drawers and counters are filled with hundreds of specialized tools including pastry brushes, frillers, tweezers, exacto knives, dental picks and icing tips, and the shelves are lined with dozens of differently colored gels, dusts, and pearls. For over 20 years now, Carrie Biggers-Burnett of Carrie’s Cakes in Sandy, Utah has received worldwide attention for her hand-sculpted, edible masterpieces, including a recent feature in this April’s Martha Stewart Weddings magazine where she was named one of the “Top 63 Pastry Pros” in the country, the only person in Utah given that honor. Winners were selected not only for their cake’s aesthetics and taste, but for their ability to hold up for hours and look stunning in photographs. Pastry-chef’s-in-training will even travel as far as the Middle East just to take her biannual classes on technique.
Carrie’s long and accomplished career began 35 years ago when she took her first cake decorating class at a local middle school. Even though she didn’t consider herself an artist because she “couldn’t draw”, she soon realized cakes came naturally, and despite her lack of drawing skills she could “pipe” intricate ribbons of icing on a vertical cake with the steadiness of a surgeon. Carrie credits this in part to her years of experience as a seamstress, a feature evident in many of her designs which contain intricate beadwork and chiffon-like layers of icing. After designing cakes for her family she began receiving requests from complete strangers. Since then, Carrie has never needed to advertise or purchase a shop, but receives all her business through word-of-mouth, and maintains her operations in a renovated downstairs studio.
To make a cake as individual as the bride herself, Carrie begins by studying the dress, colors, flowers, and overall style of the wedding. Inspiration comes from architecture, art, jewelry, textiles, wallpaper, nature, everywhere really. “Twenty percent of the time I will get a bride who asks me to ‘surprise her’, and those are the times which allow me the most creative freedom and often turn out the best.” One of Carrie’s personal favorite’s is a totally original, soft blue and cream “Cinderella” couture cake she made years ago which began a trend of similar “princess cakes” across the country.
When asked what makes her cakes standout from the rest, Carries says, “Of course aesthetics and a high standard of quality and attention to detail is what attracts most people, but I think one thing that keeps second and even third generations coming back for more is the taste.” Carrie’s cakes really are as delicious as they are beautiful; with over 20 flavors including key lime, orange cream, and the most popular, raspberry swirl, the moist texture and rich flavor won Carrie the title of “Best Tasting Cake” on TLC’S Ultimate Cake Off.
After devoting so much time and attention to crafting a perfect cake, I asked Carrie if she ever felt bad they got eaten. “No. I’m happy they’re admired as much as a painting, but part of the experience of a cake is the joy of eating it.” If you’d like to share in that joy by tasting, viewing, or learning more about the art of cake design, go to www.carriescakes.com.