Pastry chef Juan Arache is here to say that you, baking novice, can make an absolutely beautiful cake.
That’s because everything you could possibly need – from the materials to the techniques to handy tips and advice – is available at Sugar Room, his cake making and decorating supply store and school located in Sunnyside, Queens.
Arache has been a pastry chef for 25 years and has lived in Sunnyside for 22. He opened Sugar Room in 2002 and does not regret not locating his shop in Manhattan one bit. Business has always been steady, attracting professionals and novices from all over the Tri-State area. Now, in the current economic downturn, customers are opting to give home-baking a try, as opposed to spending hundreds of dollars on custom fondant cakes. Some are even looking to earn a little extra income making cakes for others or to pursue a new career track.
Let’s say you walk into Sugar Room with vague notions of creating a festive and colorful dessert for a 4-year-old boy’s birthday party.
If proper and professional-looking fondant is what you prefer, Sugar Room stocks pre-prepared, ready-to-use fondants in an array of colors. Additionally, you can get silicon molds of flowers, boarders and lettering – simply press the fondant into the molds and out come perfectly carved decoration to apply right to the cake. The staff will suggest the right baking pans and cake recipes for working with fondant to help you towards success.
Perhaps your youngster favors a particular cartoon character or action hero. What about a large cake piled with fun and exciting figures? Sugar Room has the basics – Elmo and Spiderman for sure – but they also cater to more sophisticated interests such as Star Wars, (the scene where Luke duels Darth Vader!), fishing, car racing and volcanoes, to name just a few.
Any cake can be flavored, painted and accessorized with an impressive selection of specialty additions. You can find 300 different sprinkles and sparkles; cake flavorings including eggnog, mango and vanilla butternut; food coloring in pastels and neon; delicious fillings and all sorts of icings in tubes. There are hundreds of shaped cookie cutters and artfully themed cupcakes sets, and for these smaller projects, tons of tiny adornments.
For those with more advanced skills, Sugar Room has cake stands, colors to spray or dust on, edible gold gilding, and all shapes and sizes of frosting bags and tips.
Now you’ve got the bug and decide to build your skills with a course or a class. Sugar Room offers a full program of cake and pastry techniques, designed to give you a solid foundation, whether you’re a novice or developing professionally. You can take a 9- or 20-week course to become fully versed in cake production, or you can focus on particular pieces such as Fondant Tiered Cakes, Royal Icing and Cake Flow, Modeling Paste, String Work, and Piping and Spatula, most of which consist of 2 to 3 classes.
Whatever your aspirations or needs, Sugar Room is an excellent and inspiring resource for those looking to bake something delightful.
Sugar Room, 44-21 Queens Blvd., Sunnyside, 46th St. stop on 7 Train, 718-707-2900
-Written by Anne Shisler-Hughes