Baking it to the top

Brittanie Cordova is a baker and owner of Abbie Cakes Sweet Kitchen, which opened two and a half years ago in Litchfield Park. As a former registered nurse, Brittanie took cake orders from her manager and coworkers over the six years she worked at the hospital. Her talent for healing has translated into her creative process of designing cakes, which she finds to be a therapeutic art.

Write On Downtown (WOD): When did you start baking?

Brittanie: It was probably when I was around 20. I mean, I always grew up baking with my mother and my grandmother, but when I was about 20, all three of us took a couple of classes at Michaels. They used to offer cake decorating classes, and I think it was a four or five part series so we went through all of them and just stuck with it. I took one other pastry class while I was on the waitlist for the nursing program but otherwise, just kind of self-taught, magazines, YouTube, the internet, blogs.

WOD: What is Abbie Cakes specialty?

Brittanie: We have a whole storefront here where you can come in and purchase pastries every day, but I would still say that wedding cakes are our specialty thing that we offer, and it’s my favorite thing to do… I would say that something that’s specific to us is really just the detail on wedding cakes. Very smooth sides, sharp edges—if that’s the design we’re going for. I would say probably 75% of our wedding cakes have florals on them. I’m a little picky about the flowers; I like to style them all myself. But I think my favorite thing to do is get creative license from a wedding client. That’s like a dream come true.

WOD: How do you think your work contributes to the art community?

Brittanie: I think just in being that it’s different. It is a form of expression for sure, and I think everybody that works here would say that. Even non-cake stuff. We just did a YouTube video yesterday on a salted caramel nutella hazelnut tart and it’s so beautiful and it’s so creative. Even though it’s not a traditional canvas that you may think of, for sure it is for us. … I would also say opening the door to other people. … Something that we see lately in the baking and caking community are actual artists and painters that can paint onto cakes, and it’s incredible because I’m not a painter.

WOD: How does the artistry and design of baking make you feel?

Brittanie: It’s very therapeutic, but there’s also a lot of pressure because you are creating a really specific, sometimes intricate design, and you want all the details to come to life. Whatever it is you’re trying to show, you want to make sure it shows that. And sometimes that’s hard to do with food, an edible thing. … We don’t ever want to have to put things on, aside from flowers, that are not edible. So trying to make that into art is a challenge but it’s also very fulfilling and rewarding.

WOD: How does being based in Phoenix influence you as an artist?

Brittanie: There are a lot of designs where [clients] try to incorporate some of the desert elements. We’ve done a couple of destination weddings here in Arizona where they specifically chose Arizona because of the landscape and some of the historical elements here. And so they ask for those things to be incorporated into the design… I think our style vibes with the wedding venues and the themes of the weddings that are going on here. … We do these little cacti and succulent cupcakes, but we probably do those every single week, and I don’t know if they would be popular anywhere else besides Arizona.