Building her brand from scratch

Cake lady Adora Adora-Penn

By Cristina DC Pastor

Name it and Adora Adora-Penn will fashion it into a lovely cake. A Louis Vuitton bag, a stiletto shoe, Rayban shades, a bottle of wine.

She even demonstrated on YouTube how to make a pregnant lady using two molds to scoop out the cake “boobs” and two layers of rounded cakes for the “bump.” The technical part was easy. It’s how she festooned the cake with tiny pink roses, making motherhood look really nice and dainty. The cake was for a baby shower. With a hearty laugh, she remembered how the guests admired the strawberry cake, not wanting to slice it and “do a Caesarian.”

The pregnant lady cake video has generated more than 105,000 views since it aired on YouTube a year ago. Adora still raves about it. She has no bakeshop, her website is under construction, and while she’s received some orders online, baking remains, for the most part, a hobby.

Recommended Reading: In addition to YouTube, there are also numerous colleges offering online baking and pastry classes for the uninitiated.

“I think I now belong to a community of people who cook and bake,” said Adora, a marketing professional determined to make her Adorable Chef brand into the Filipino American Betty Crocker.

“I just like to cook,” she said, regaling The FilAm with stories of how growing up in Zambales to a family with modest means she whipped up ‘hamburger’ using ‘malunggay’ leaves and lots of chopped onions, garlic and pepper. “When you don’t have enough (in life) and come from a poor family, you become creative.”

Adora’s YouTube life has come full circle. She began watching videos on baking and cake decorating then enrolled at Wilton to learn about trends and theories. Before long, she began posting her own baking and decorating demos online, with husband Bruce, a technology teacher with the Wyandanch School District in Long Island, cheering her on.

While her baking method is old-fashioned – “everything from scratch” – her marketing is New Media, from YouTube to her Adorable Chef fan page on Facebook, which has an album of all her cake designs.

“I have 1,600 fans, and I don’t know many of them,” she said.

Ube cupcakes

The Louis Vuitton 'suitcake'

When she received an email from a minister’s wife ordering a birthday cake, Adora’s creative genes kicked in. The result was no standard sheet cake, but a Louis Vuitton red velvet cake with cream cheese filling coated with chocolate fondant — complete with the brand’s signature logo and gold trim handle.

“I make sure I have a presentable cake, and that people eating my cake get the correct, precise measurement. No instant, from-the-box cake for me,” she said.

While waiting for orders to trickle in, Adora is in talks with two TV networks for a cooking show. She is also slated to do a cooking demo for FilAm children to teach them simple recipes they can try at home. It was an idea triggered by a similar project she did in Florida recently for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Is destination “Cupcake Wars” any closer?

“Yeah, I think I can do that,” she said.

One Comment

  1. M. Matthews wrote:

    The Cake Lady is an inspiring story of hope and aspiration.

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