Creativity and talent in pastries and sweet treats is abundant at Sweet Cakes Design, 6231 West River Drive, Suite A in Belmont. Opened in 2003 by owner and pastry chef Barbara Hoek, the cake boutique has a staff of five creative individuals who enjoy their work. Hoek worked for years in the finance industry, but left that field and enrolled in the Bakery/Pastry Program at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) in 2001. She immediately fell in love with the profession. After completing the program she was asked to donate a wedding cake to a couple who could not afford one. After that she began doing business and is now known for the quality of her cakes and pies.
Today Hoek is joined by pastry chefs Sara Soukup and Amanda Hoffman and assistant pastry chefs Patricia Bruin and Rachel Wahl. “I love my staff!” Hoek stated. Patricia is Hoek’s sister and brings 25 years experience working as a floral designer. “She has been my right hand from the start and is very creative,” Hoek said. She is talented in the placement of fresh flowers for a stunning look on cakes in addition to helping with production.
Bruin is a graduate of Calvin College with a bachelor of arts degree. Her greatest talent is in sculpting edible custom designs. “Her sculpting is amazing,” Hoek praised.
Hoffman is a GRCC graduate with an associates degree in culinary arts and culinary management. She has a certificate of bakery/pastry arts and is responsible for much of the production at Sweet Cakes Design. “She brings a lot of new ideas to the table and loves decorating,” Hoek noted.
The growth of the company over the years has been an enjoyable journey. The ability to offer nearly any kind of cake or pie filling to please customers is satisfying. Seeing the excitement in customer’s eyes is a wonderful reward. At Sweet Cakes, the staff helps advise event planners and offer tasting to those who aren’t sure what to order.
“All our products are made from scratch using only the finest ingredients,” Hoek said of the cake boutique’s success. “We sketch one-of-a-kind designs for our clients until we get the look they are hoping for.”
Sweet Cakes ‘brings on the pies’ for the holidays, and offers seasonal specials and desserts throughout the year. Valentine special treats are being planned and ordered now. With personalized service, unique designs and a delicious, high-quality product, Sweet Cakes can be the special touch to top off the next occasion you have planned. Products are all custom-ordered, so plan ahead rather than expect to walk in and find a selection of ready-made product. The cake boutique is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.