Tag Archives | Cake decorator

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

A Groom’s Cake with a Bark

Liz and Joey’s wedding day was a joyous celebration, filled with friends and family! The most memorable part of the day had to be the unveiling of the groom’s cake – Joey was pleasantly surprised to find his best friend turned cake form. Liz wanted his Jack Russell Terrier, Pebbles, to be a part of their special day, and this was the most creative way possible!  Liz arranged for Joey’s favorite Boston Crème pie from Joe’s Seafood to be delivered to us so that we could depict Pebbles getting into trouble by eating his pie!

This cake was so much fun to create, and even more exciting to see Joey’s expression when first laying eyes on him! Take a peek below at this one of a kind grooms cake, and Joey’s once in a lifetime surprise!

XO, Elysia

Vendors //

Photography: Carasco Photography | Venue: The Drake Chicago | Planner: Kesh Events

Baking Classes at the Elysia Root Cakes Studio

Elysia Root Cakes is getting ready to announce some new classes we’ll be hosting in upcoming months. In anticipation, we’ve put together a little recap of the classes we’ve hosted in the past year. From a Thanksgiving pie class to kids’ cupcake decorating classes and a fondant basic cake class, we’ve had so much fun teaching novice bakers how to create beautiful and delicious sweets!

Last November, we hosted a Thanksgiving pie-making class that was loads of fun. Our kitchen manager, Michelle, even got to school her identical twin sister in the art of making pie!

Elysia Root Cakes

Elysia Root CakesLater on that month, we hosted a holiday cupcake decorating class for kids. We loved teaching these little cake-decorators in the making!

Elysia Root Cakes

Elysia Root Cakes

In honor of Valentine’s day last February, we hosted another kids’ cupcake decorating class. How sweet are these little cakes?

Elysia Root Cakes

Then we hosted a fondant basic cake class for Olivia of Olivia Leigh Photographie and her friends in late February. They did such a great job and created beautiful cakes.

Elysia Root Cakes

Elysia Root Cakes

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to join us (or have your kids join us) at the next class in the Elysia Root Cakes studio! Send us an email at info@elysiarootcakes.com if you’d like to be notified of our upcoming classes. We hope to see you in our cake studio soon!

Meet the Elysia Root Cakes Team: Joyce Marie Harris

Today we’d like to introduce Joyce Marie Harris, one of Elysia Root Cakes’ fabulous cake decorators. Born and raised in Mississippi, Joyce has definitely brought some southern flare to our kitchen. After graduating from Mississippi College in 2011, Joyce taught English in South Korea for a year and then moved to the Windy City. She graduated from The French Pastry School, and soon after began an internship with Elysia Root Cakes. Joyce quickly became an integral part of the team and was hired on full-time in October 2014. During her time with us, she has helped make everything from a seven-tier wedding cake to a Manolo Blahnik shoe and shoebox cake replica. Take a peek at some photos of Joyce and cakes she has worked on below!

Elysia Root Cakes team

What is your favorite cake you’ve ever done? That’s hard. I’ve had the chance to work on some beautiful cakes. Recently I got to work on a three tier hand piped lace cake I really like. But I don’t know if anything can replace the sugar chipmunks, Jeff and Fran.

Elysia Root Cakes

Are there any cake artists you admire? There are tons (including the one I work for). But to mention a few, I’ll say Shawna McGreevy, Alexandria Pellegrino and Maggie Austin.


What’s the one cake you’d like to make, that you haven’t had a chance to make yet? I hope there is a Mary Poppins cake in my future. She’s my role model.

Elysia Root CakesIf you didn’t make cakes, what would you do for a living? I would be a flight attendant. I’ve always dreamed of being a waitress in the sky.


What’s your favorite food? Anything Southern and deep-fried and coated in butter. The kind of food that clogs your arteries just smelling it.

Elysia Root CakesWhat’s something that most people don’t know about you? I cannot keep plants alive. I once killed a cactus.  A plant that can survive in the desert can’t survive in my home.


Do you have any advice for pastry students looking to become cake decorators? Just keep at it. Keep practicing, keep learning, keep searching for your opportunity. Don’t wait around and wonder why it hasn’t come to you – go to it!

Elysia Root Cakes

Meet the Elysia Root Cakes Team: Michelle Migdow

Elysia Root Cakes is proud to have such talented and lovely people on our team!  Michelle Migdow began working with us as a cake decorator a little over a year ago, and now is acting as our amazingly organized Kitchen Manager.  She is a delight to have in the kitchen and her always positive attitude keeps the team on track even when working through any issues. Plus, if you ever wanted to know the plot of any Lifetime TV movie or the synopsis of any Disney movie, Michelle is your go-to person, as these are her favorite things to watch.

Michelle has a degree from the University of Illinois in Hospitality Management and completed her pastry training at the French Pastry School in Chicago, graduating with honors from L’Art de la Pâtisserie program. Below is a photo of Michelle and her husband, who just recently got married this past fall. Keep reading to get to know a little bit more about Michelle!

1468723_2751910033890_399811565_nPhoto by Leathem Photography.


What’s something that most people don’t know about you? I never thought I’d end up making cakes for a living. Growing up, I baked all the time, but I went to college thinking I wanted to be a high school math teacher.



Photo by Leathem Photography.


What is your favorite cake you’ve ever done? Besides my wedding cake (which was so special to make), I love making cakes that look like other food! We’ve made a cheeseburger with fries and an ice cream sundae that were definitely my favorites- I can’t wait to make a cake that looks like tacos!


Are there any cake artists you admire? I love the elegance of the sugar floral that Sylvia Weinstock does. I also really love Ron Ben Israel’s cakes- the attention to detail is mesmerizing.


_MG_7978Photo by Tuan H. Bui, Photographer. 


What do you do outside of making fabulous cakes? I also love to cook so I go home and cook dinner for my husband and I almost every night. I have an identical twin sister who I am incredibly close with so we’re together a lot as well. My family is very important to me so I try to see my parents at least once a week!




What’s the one cake you’d like to make, that you haven’t had a chance to make yet? Well besides a taco cake, I’d love to make a watercolor cake – they’re so beautiful and elegant.


Do you have any advice for pastry students looking to become cake decorators? Practice, practice, practice! There is always something to learn.