Author Archive | Elysia Root Cakes

Upcoming Changes in 2018

Friends, colleagues and clients,

It is with a bittersweet purpose that I share this news with you today. During this holiday season of gratitude and reflection, I have been carefully examining my life, both from a business and personal perspective, and have made the difficult decision to close Elysia Root Cakes permanently January 27, 2018.

Please know it has been an absolute privilege and honor to be part of the Chicago wedding industry and to play a role in thousands of beautiful celebrations of love, life and family. I am so grateful for the wedding community, and the friendship and support that both clients and colleagues have shown me over the years.

Photo Credit: Bob & Dawn Davis Photography

In the years to come, I will look fondly back on many moments- including our move to the cake studio space at 1939 W. Fulton Street, our regular Treat Tuesday team lunches, having not one but two cakes featured on season 4 of Fox’s hit show, Empire, and being a part of the 100th wish granted by Wish Upon a Wedding. I still eagerly anticipate our upcoming episode of Cake Hunters, set to air in 2018, which was shot during PartySlate’s second anniversary celebration.

Elysia Root Cakes' Chicago custom cake studio

Photo Credit: Tuan B & Co.

This has been a deeply personal decision made at a time when the business couldn’t be stronger, but the needs of my family have grown, and I can’t let those needs cause us to sacrifice the quality of our products and services for which we are known.

For our clients, we will continue to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible. We are pleased to recommend Sugar Fixe Patisserie to Chicago couples seeking referrals. We have complete confidence in our highly reputable colleague and are grateful that they are willing to help fulfill our client’s needs during this transition.

I am grateful to Nate Root, my husband of 12 years, for his unwavering support. Without him, Elysia Root Cakes would never have existed. I am also grateful to my amazing employees, past and present, for being so dedicated and professional and believing in our core values and mission.

Photo credit: Tuan B & Co

This chapter of my life and business may be ending, but I take with me friendships and memories that can never be replaced. I am grateful to you all for following me on this great adventure.

There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction. -Winston Churchill

With much love and gratitude,


Meet the team: Andrea Alvarez Reno, Cake Artist & Baker

Last but not least in our Meet the Team series, meet Andrea Alvarez Reno, who is a cake artist and baker on the Elysia Root Cakes team!  Andrea is an extremely talented artist and not only does she excel in the pastry arts, she taught herself calligraphy as well and in her off hours, owns and runs Andrea Reno Calligraphy.  Andrea is originally from Honduras but cake artistry and love brought her to Chicago!  Andrea received her L’Art du Gâteau certificate from The French Pastry School here in Chicago.  

Headshot by Laura Witherow Photography. Hair and Make-Up by Joanna B Artistry.

Andrea owned a custom cupcake and cake studio in her native Honduras and worked as a lead decorator for a couple of other bakeries in Chicago before joining the Elysia Root Cakes team!  She is also the best dog mom to her dog Manolo.  We are grateful to have such a talented person on our team! Read on to find out a little bit more about Andrea!

What do you like most about working at Elysia Root Cakes?  As a perfectionist myself I love the fact the all the cakes are done as perfect as possible.  The first time I learned that we could use a ruler to make the cake the perfect levelness and circumference it was like fireworks in my brain.

What has been your favorite project at Elysia Root Cakes?  Definitely the pleated architectural inspired cake. It was such a challenge and such a unique cake! The fact that it was all white made it better and all the math that involved was thrilling to me.

Delivered to Acadia restaurant this past September.  An architectural wedding cake designed by an architect groom and executed precisely by Andrea!

What is your role at Elysia Root Cakes?  Construction of cakes and elaboration of artistic elements AKA Cake Artist.

Motto or personal mantra?  You give your best. There is no other option.

Three words to best describe you?  Perfectionist, motivated and hard working.

Fondant dragon for a wedding cake, hand sculpted by Andrea

Back of the hand sculpted fondant dragon

What did you want to be when growing up?  Three things: baker, veterinary or forensic doctor!

Describe the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in your life thus far?  Grabbing my bags and my dog and coming to a country where I would have no family (except my husband) and no friends, leaving behind everything I ever knew.

What is the most important thing you have learned in the last five years?  Family and health are the most important thing.

Calligraphy and edible wedding invitation created by Andrea.

Edible gala invitation created by Andrea.

Outside of work, what kinds of hobbies and interests do you have? I’m obsessed with Crossfit and nutrition.

Where is your hometown?  I am from San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

What is your hidden talent?  I like to think I’m very strong. I can currently squat 200 lbs and I’m going for more weight!

Gorgeous sparkly art deco fondant wedding cake with a ruffled bottom tier to match the wedding dress!


Thanks for taking the time to read about the Elysia Root Cakes team.  Check out more from Andrea on her Instagram and make sure to also check out her calligraphy Instagram as well!

Members of the Elysia Root Cakes team: Andrea, Maddie, Monica and Sammie at the 2017 Wish Upon A Wedding Gala.

Meet the team: Danielle Leahy, Cake Artist and Baker

This week, meet Danielle Leahy, the Elysia Root Cakes team’s Cake Artist and Baker!  Danielle joined the Elysia Root Cakes team in the past year.  Danielle moved to Chicago from Washington D.C., but is originally from Pennsylvania.  She received her degree in Baking and Pastry Management from The Culinary Institute of America in New York.  

Headshot by Laura Witherow Photography. Hair and Make-up by Joanna B Artistry.

Danielle interned at Pink Cake Box in New Jersey and also has a strong pastry background, having been on the pastry team at the Rosewood hotel in Washington, D.C.  We recently sent Danielle to 3 days of  Cake Carnival in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada to learn from six amazing cake artists and to further develop her own skills.  She spent 3 days creating this beautiful wedding cake that showcased a variety of different techniques.

Wedding cake created by Danielle. Photo courtesy of Danielle Leahy.

Read on below to get to know a little more about Danielle!

Before work at Elysia Root Cakes what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?  In high school I took phone orders for a company that sold plants and seeds.

What do you like most about working at Elysia Root Cakes?  I like that we are always doing new and different techniques and learning every day.

Danielle pictured with the Elysia Root Cakes team and the cake we created for the TV show Empire for the Prince tribute episode.

What book did you last read? 32 Yolks by Eric Ripert

Where is your hometown? Hatboro, Pennsylvania

What has been your favorite project at Elysia Root Cakes?  My favorite project so far has been the monkey baby shower cake.

Hand painted baby shower cake with hand made fondant monkeys that Danielle helped to create.

What is the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery?  A French bulldog puppy

What is one food you wish had zero calories? Pizza

Danielle and our intern Maddie, delivering a wedding cake. Photo by Jason Kaczorowski Photography.

Where is the best place you’ve travelled to and why?  Italy because of the amazing art, delicious food and wine

What is one thing you can’t resist?  Peanut butter

Thanks for taking the time to learn a little about Danielle, Elysia Root Cakes team’s Cake Artist and Baker!  

Danielle pictured with Courtney Clark, Sarah Myers, Joshua John Russell, Avalon Yarnes, James Roselle, Susan Trianos and Chrissie Boon. Photo courtesy of Danielle Leahy.

Meet the team: Monica Anderson, Senior Cake and Confectionary Artist

This week, meet Monica Anderson, the Elysia Root Cakes team’s Senior Cake and Confectionary Artist!  Monica has been an integral part of the Elysia Root Cakes team for the past four years.  We previously profiled Monica back in 2015.  Monica is from Naperville, Illinois and now lives in the River North area.  Monica has a degree in Baking and Pastry from Kendall College.  

Photo credit: Rebecca Marie Photography. Hair by Livia Caporale. Make-up by Andie Cumber.

Monica worked at various bakeries in the Chicagoland area before joining our team in 2014.  We’ve loved seeing her develop her skills and become an even more amazing cake artist during her time with us.  We are happy to have encouraged Monica in developing her skills by sending her to learn from some amazing cake artists such as Mark Seaman, Nicholas Lodge, Mike Elder, Mary Jo Dowling, and Colette Peters

Monica in class with Colette Peters during Florida ICES mini-classes.

Monica recently competed in her first cake competition and took 2nd place in the Professional Wedding Cake Division at the National Capital Area Cake Show in Virginia.  We’re super proud of her accomplishment.  Read on to learn a little more about Monica!

What has been your favorite project at Elysia Root Cakes? My favorite project thus far at Elysia Root Cakes has been the Rainbow Trout Groom’s cake that we created in 2016.

Photography: PenCarlson Planner: Sweetchic Events

What is your proudest moment at work?  My proudest moment at Elysia Root Cakes is when I came in 2nd in the Professional Wedding Cake Division at the National Capital Area Cake Show.

Monica with her cake at the National Capital Area Cake Show

Monica’s Wedding Cake design that took 2nd place Professional Wedding Cake Division at NCAS 2017. Photo credit: Laura Witherow

What is your favorite thing to do in Chicago?  My favorite thing to do in Chicago is to go to all of the amazing museums.

What phobias do you have?  I have a phobia of bugs crawling all over me! 

What did you want to be when growing up?   When I was a kid I wanted to be an architect.

Monica and Elysia on an 2016 Icing Smiles delivery for Dulce’s 1st birthday to Almost Home Kids.

What is an ability you wish you had? An ability that I wish I had is teleportation.

What is the one thing you cannot resist?  Chocolate and Peanut Butter!

What is the favorite part about working at Elysia Root Cakes?  The ability to be creative and to create beautiful cakes for people to enjoy on a special day.

Monica and Elysia on a wedding cake delivery in 2014.

Best vacation place you’ve been? The best place I have traveled to was Italy.

What celebrity do people think you look like?  When my hair is straight, people think I look like Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Thanks for taking the time to learn a little about the Elysia Root Cakes team’s Senior Cake and Confectionary Artist!  Check out more from Monica on her instagram. 

Monica and her boyfriend Zack at the 2016 Wish Upon A Wedding Gala.  Photo credit: Studio This Is

Meet the team: Kelly Dull, Elysia Root Cakes Head Baker

Meet Kelly Dull, the Elysia Root Cakes team’s head baker!  Kelly is in charge of the deliciousness that comes out of the Elysia Root Cakes’ kitchen each week.   While Kelly is originally from Elyria, Ohio right outside of Cleveland, she has lived all over the United States on both coasts, from Santa Monica, California to Brooklyn, New York!  Kelly received her Bachelor of Science in Baking and Pastry Arts from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. 

Headshot by Rebecca Marie Photography. Make-Up by Andie Cumber. Hair by Livia Corporale.

Kelly is not only the Elysia Root Cakes team’s head baker, but she is also a successful culinary instructor and you can find her teaching classes at Give Me Some Sugar in Roscoe Village, Sur La Table in Skokie, and Read It & Eat in Lincoln Park.  We are grateful to have such a talented person on our team! Read on to find out a little bit more about Kelly!

What do you like most about working at Elysia Root Cakes?  I love that we have so many opportunities to push ourselves and to learn and grow.  We are always trying to be better than we were and that’s exciting.

The Elysia Root Cakes team at a fresh floral arranging class given by fellow Green Wedding Alliance member, Jori from Fab Flora Chicago!

Before working at Elysia Root Cakes, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?  I helped a good friend open and run a bakery in Providence, RI.  It was one of the most challenging, exhausting, exciting, and rewarding things I’ve ever done.

What is the weirdest job you’ve ever had? I was a car hop waitress at a place called Dog N Suds for four summers in high school.

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us: At age 26, I spent 4 months on a solo road trip around the entire United States.

Kelly and Michelle delivering 240 (!) mini-cakes in 2016.

What book did you read last?  Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “What Happened”

What is your favorite movie and book? My favorite book (besides the Harry Potter series!) is “The Things they Carried” by Tim O’Brien and favorite movie: A League of Their Own.

What did you want to be when growing up?  A veterinarian until age 14,  then a pastry chef/baker!

What is the most important thing you have learned in the last five years? Self-care and how to say no to people.

What is your hidden talent?  I can juggle!

What has been your favorite project at Elysia Root Cakes?  The Harry Potter themed cakes!

Kelly and Danielle with one of two Harry Potter themed cakes we’ve had the opportunity to make. The one above was a birthday cake!

The 2nd Harry Potter themed cake was a groom’s cake (Photo by Averyhouse)

Thanks for taking the time to learn a little about the Elysia Root Cakes team’s head baker!  Check out more from Kelly on her instagram and her website. 

Kelly and her boyfriend, Andrew at the Wish Upon A Wedding Gala. Photo by Studio This Is.

Custom Cake Spotlight: Rustic Buttercream Wedding Cake

Alyssa and Franz tied the knot last August at the Chicago Illuminating Company. They had a gorgeous rustic buttercream wedding cake topped with fresh floral to celebrate. Thanks to Clementine Custom Events for coordinating the event, as well as to Colin Pierson Photography for taking these lovely photos!

rustic buttercream wedding cake

They had a simple, three tier rustic buttercream wedding cake. StemLine Creative provided the fresh floral in white and pops of purple. The adorning flowers gave the cake a very organic feel.

rustic buttercream wedding cake

rustic buttercream wedding cake

Alyssa and Franz’s delicious wedding cake consisted of vanilla bean cake with a combination of vanilla bean buttercream and raspberry buttercream. Perfect for a summer wedding!

rustic buttercream wedding cake

These Images are from the Wedding Celebration of Alyssa Case and Franz Russler on August 22, 2015 at The Chicago Illuminating Company in Chicago, IL. All Images (C) 2015 Collin Pierson, Collin Pierson Photography. Bride & Groom Preparation location: The Blackstone Hotel, 636 South Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL 60605 Ceremony Location: Chicago Illuminating Company, 2110 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60616 Reception Location: Chicago Illuminating Company, 2110 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

rustic buttercream wedding cake

All of the vendors that participated in Alyssa and Franz’s wedding were a pleasure to work with, including Food for Thought who catered their wedding.

Our year is booking up quickly! If you are getting married this year and still need a wedding cake, call (312-344-1046) or email us today to set up an initial consultation/cake tasting!

Arete’s Red Velvet Cake Private Baking Lesson

After Elysia received a touching email from Ms. Halle Quezada, a Chicago Public School teacher at Suder Montessori Magnet, the two made arrangements for one of her students to come in for a private baking lesson last week.

Arete, a bright young student, had lost her mother unexpectedly the previous year. She wrote an essay about her mom’s sudden passing, and one passage in particular stuck out to Ms. Quezada: Arete wrote about how her mom used to always bake red velvet cake, and that she never got a chance to learn from her. After her mother passed away, the family found the last red velvet cake she ever made (perfectly preserved in the car, thanks to Chicago winter temperatures) and they all cherished it.

Ms. Quezada, very understandably touched by this story, reached out to Elysia and asked if she could arrange for a private baking lesson so that Arete could learn how to make red velvet cake. Elysia and the team happily agreed! We hosted Arete, her sister, her aunt, and Ms. Quezada for a fun afternoon of baking. Take a look at these photos of their lesson below led by Joyce Marie:

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The team loved teaching Arete and her family how to bake red velvet cake, as a way to remember and honor her mother. We hope that she’ll be able to share this recipe with her own children in the future so that her mother’s legacy lives on!

If you are interested in having a private baking lesson in our studio, feel free to reach out to us today.

Custom Cake Spotlight: Multi-Shape, Four Tier Wedding Cake

Christine and Rob got married last year at the Langham Hotel, Chicago during a beautiful fall wedding. The couple decided to go with an all white wedding cake, consisting of different shaped tiers for a unique look. Take a peek at some of their photos from their big day below by Dennis Lee Photography.

Elysia Root Cakes Best Wedding Cakes Chicago_0747Their white fondant wedding cake had three different shapes of cake. The bottom and top tier were round, the second was a hexagon, and the third was square. Pearlized fondant ribbon adorned three of the tiers, while one of the tiers had an interesting quilted texture with a small piped bead border.

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Sitting on top of the cake were two super cute bride and groom rubber duckies! Elysia Root Cakes Best Wedding Cakes Chicago_0752

The couple’s wedding cake consisted of three different flavors: lemon cake with passion fruit buttercream and raspberry buttercream, pumpkin cake with cream cheese filling, as well as vanilla bean cake with peanut butter buttercream and Nutella buttercream. Yum!

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Elysia Root Cakes also made and assembled their wedding favors – small boxes of macaron, topped with a customized bow and beautiful pen from the Langham Hotel. These delicious favors sat at each place setting on top of guests’ napkins and menus. Elysia Root Cakes Best Wedding Cakes Chicago_0749

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Congratulations to the happy couple!

If you are getting married and are looking for a unique and delicious wedding cake, we are just the place for you! Call or email us today to set up an initial cake consultation and tasting.

Custom Cake Spotlight: White Fondant Wedding Cake with Monogram

Last August, Carrie and Ed said their “I Do”s at one of our favorite venues, The Langham Chicago. Their wedding was both classic and sophisticated, and they had a beautiful (and delicious) cake to match. Take a look at their lovely photos by Artisan Events below.


Carrie and Ed’s three tier wedding cake was composed of clean, white fondant with a pearlized fondant ribbon at the base of each tier. The middle tier had a subtle circle imprint with their first initials, C/E, in the center. The overall design of their wedding cake was neat and relatively simple, while maintaining an elegant look. 


HMR Designs provided fresh orchid blooms to adorn their cake.


The couple took their top tier home, to freeze and enjoy on their one year anniversary. (Note: we offer our non-Langham hotel affiliated clients a fresh complimentary tier if they would prefer to serve their whole cake at their wedding!)


Carrie and Ed’s delicious wedding cake was composed of vanilla bean cake accompanied with raspberry buttercream and lemon curd filling. Is your mouth watering yet?!



We love making unique and delicious wedding cakes that encapsulate the entire vision and decor of the day. Call or email us today to book your initial consultation and cake tasting! We look forward to hearing from you.

Custom Cake Spotlight: Five Tier Wedding Cake with Vertical Texture

Sarah and Jared had a lovely fall wedding last year at The Langham Chicago. Their five tier wedding cake was relatively simple, but also had some beautiful details that made it stand out. Thanks to Linda Alpert of Affairs with Linda for planning such a beautiful wedding, as well as to Phil Goldman Photographic Design for sharing photos from their special day. The couple decided to hire both photographers and a videographer to capture their wedding which is a lovely way to ensure you have captured enough of your day. If you would like a videographer on your big day then take a look at The Perfect Wedding Video’s website. For now though, take a peek at photos of Sarah, Jared and their wedding cake below!

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Sarah and Jared’s five tier square wedding cake was covered in buttercream that had a vertical scallop texture. It created an interesting look that still maintained a relatively simple design. Kehoe Designs provided the fresh orchids that accented the cake.

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The bottom four tiers were chocolate cake with salted caramel buttercream and dark chocolate ganache, vanilla bean cake with vanilla bean buttercream, and chocolate cake with cookies-n-cream buttercream. The couple actually saved the top tier (which was red velvet cake with cream cheese filling) to freeze and eat on their first year anniversary! (Note: our non-Langham hotel clients can choose whether they’d like to freeze and save their original top tier, or to receive a complimentary fresh tier from us on their one year anniversary!)

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Other vendors involved in Sarah and Jared’s wedding day were Gold Coast Events (live musicians) and David Swirn Productions (videographer).

Call (312-344-1046) or email us today to set up your initial consultation and wedding cake tasting! We’d love to make your wedding cake dreams a reality.