Simply Delectable Cakes
Owner Derek Smith turns his cake baking hobby into a business
Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 4:59 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 4:59 p.m.
The passion Derek Smith has for baking has moved him from baking as a hobby to baking for dough.
Cash money, that is.
Smith, 30, is the owner and founder of Simply Delectable Cakes, which has been in existence since 2010. Although Smith began cooking at the age of 10 and baking at 12, he didn't fall in love with baking until he enrolled in the late 1990s in the acclaimed Institute of Culinary Arts Magnet Program at Eastside High School. He said he excelled in the program, but did not bake much after leaving the program until three years ago when his passion for baking was renewed.
"I started baking again in 2010 as a hobby, and it has since turned into a business venture for me that is going quite well," said Smith, a member of the Florida National Guard.
Smith said he started baking again because he wanted to see if he could still decorate cakes like he learned in the Eastside culinary arts program. And after realizing he could, he started baking cakes for family members and others. He said that led him to baking a wedding cake for a former co-worker.
"That wedding cake is what snowballed this into the business sector," said Smith, adding that the three-tier white velvet and chocolate cake included a fountain and lights and fed nearly 150 people.
He said baking that first cake took him about four days because he did not have his "timing down." He said that has changed tremendously, and he can now bake a wedding cake in one day because "I have got it down to where I know exactly how long it is going to take for the cake to bake and I know how much time I am going to need to decorate the cake, depending on the design."
Smith said he bakes cakes for all occasions, including baby and bridal showers, weddings, and also birthday, bachelor, bachelorette, retirement and other parties.
"I design my cakes to order," Smith said. "A client can bring me the idea of whatever it is they desire, and I will do my best to make exactly what they brought to me."
He said he has an order to bake a cake shaped like the head of a horse. He said making custom cakes like that is something a lot of bigger bakeries don't do.
"You have to go to baking shops that specialize in baking custom cakes to get those kinds of cakes," Smith said.
Nikki Gillins, who married Victor Gillins in August, said the four-tier cake that Smith made for her reception was exactly what she wanted.
"The bottom three layers were lemon and the top layer was a chocolate cake with peanut butter icing and he did 24 cupcakes for the kids at the wedding," Gillins said. "It was phenomenal, and the price was, too."
Smith, who was raised in southeast Gainesville, has been married to his wife, Albany Smith, for four years. The couple is expecting their first child in December.
Smith said it is good for those interested to place their orders as early as possible in advance of their event because "for a start-up company, we book up fast."
He recently joined the "Bill Me Later" program with PayPal, which allows customers to pay off more expensive cakes over time.
He soon will be partnering with a tutoring program operated by Sisters Helping Sisters in Need Inc., a northeast Gainesville-based non-profit organization.
"We are going to teach kids their common core math skills and we are going to use cake design to do it," said Smith, adding that the program will be called "Cooking and Kids."
For more information, call 352-682-1614, email email@example.com, or visit Simply Delectable Cakes on Facebook and at www.wix.com/dsmith2410/simply-delectable.