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A sweet business

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As classmates at Spring Valley Junior High School, Stacy Gearty and Erica Fried became instant friends. After pursuing separate career paths, Gearty in fashion and Fried in human resources, they are pursuing their mutual hobby of baking in a partnership called Cake Devils.

Currently, Gearty journeys from her home in Suffern and Fried from her home in Harriman to conduct their labors at a rented kitchen in Chester, affording the space needed for their sometimes complicated ventures in baking custom cakes for a variety of special occasions.

It’s an upbeat career, they find, since customers order for happy events in the lives of their families and friends. The partners agree that the high point of 2012, their first year in business, was the annual Orange County Partnership event. They baked for 600 attendees and created an elaborate display centerpiece as a tribute to Mediacom, winner of the Partnership’s Golden Shovel Award, frosted with fondant and royal icing.

The guests shared devil’s food cake with chocolate buttercream, pumpkin spice cake with cinnamon cream cheese icing, and Bailey’s Irish cream cake with Bailey’s buttercream.

“These young women are incredible,” says Maureen Halahan, president and CEO of the Orange County Partnership, who notes that the Golden Shovel Award was made to Mediacom for its choice of Orange County to build a 110,000-square-foot corporate headquarters nearing completion in Blooming Grove, which will ultimately employ 400 area residents. Mediacom is the world’s eighth largest cable company.

The two Cake Devils created a reproduction of the building working from copies of a model created for Mediacom by Michael Del Priore of Ryerson Studio in Kingston. The decorative icing chosen by the two women can last many years as a keepsake. The centerpiece is now in a Mediacom office awaiting display in the new building.

The women knew they were on the right path when their first customer, who had ordered a birthday cake for a large crowd, returned later in the year to order two cakes for other parties.

In addition to serving individual customers, the partners have attended many networking events, fairs, bridal shows and cake shows and are active members of the Wedding Vendors of the Hudson Valley.

“Cake Devil Stacy,” as she is known, created an entire gingerbread village for a Wilton Method cake decorating class that she teaches.

The one dark moment in the partners’ ventures came as a result of their growth, when they switched from buying ingredients at a supermarket and purchased them instead in bulk. “We had to switch flour brands and baked eight batches of cupcakes using the new flour, resulting in a much softer texture and requiring a small alteration to our recipe,” they recall. “We chose to rebake the eight batches.”

The name Cake Devils was decided upon after the pair mulled over numerous names that suited their fun personalities and found them conflicting with web site designations. Their own web site is CakeDevils.com. Referring to the name of their partnership, they insist “A cake must be sinfully delicious.”

Challenging Careers focuses on the exciting and unusual business lives of Hudson Valley residents. Comments or suggestions may be emailed to Catherine Portman-Laux at cplaux@optonline.net.

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