Frosting isn’t exactly a piece of cake.
Just ask senior Megan Peda, a business and sustainability double-major. Peda has worked at Pure Bliss Desserts for two years. She had no prior decorating experience, but was offered a position as a cake decorator when those at Pure Bliss saw her passion for baking.
Peda decorates cakes twice a week, but typically focuses on keeping the front of the store stocked with cakes. When decorating, she chooses the texture of the cake, as well as frosting. While using her creativity, Peda keeps the Pure Bliss style, a cake that reflects the store’s high quality standard for every detail.
“I like doing the chocolate bliss cake. Anything with a pour-over of dark chocolate ganache,” Peda said. “[We] get a dark chocolate ganache warm and runny. Then we pour it on the top of the cake and are able to do anything we want.”
“I think [Pure Bliss] has given her more inspiration to be creative. Even just in our conversations of different desserts she gets to work with, I think she’s more knowledgeable of the behind the scenes stuff. More than what goes into just baking at home.”
Peda’s sister, Western alumna Kristen Behrends, thinks the job brings Peda a lot of joy.
“She has amazing coworkers who are passionate about the same thing. It’s cool to work in a place where people have a shared interest,” Behrends said. “She’ll even text my husband and [me] when certain desserts are in the case because she’s excited to share them with us.”
Peda also gets to have more fun with the celebration display case, she said. The celebration case has cakes for anyone who is in a hurry to get someone a cake. Peda adds words and additional decorations for customers by request.
Peda is always looking for more training. Even if it’s just taking a cake out of a pan or rolling cookie dough, there’s always new tips and tricks to learn.
She often works late shifts because of her school schedule, so her boss has to trust that she knows how to check
everything, Peda said.
Peda and her coworkers are always exploring new techniques. They
recently have added French macaroons and crème brûlée to the menu.
“We are always checking out
Instagram and Pinterest and different wedding designs we can pull inspiration from and then make the cakes our own Pure Bliss style. It’s really fun,” Peda said.
Roommate and friend Lydia Ritchie, said Peda loves cake and is always talking about her job. Living with someone who works at a dessert shop means there’s always cake in the fridge, so Ritchie has tried all the flavors, she said.
“She brought home a cookies and cream [cake] the other day. I think it’s limited edition,” Ritchie said. “It was really delicious.”
When feeling confident, Peda tries her hand at bigger orders. She loves helping others with weddings and events. She works meticulously, making sure every cupcake has been frosted.
“It’s pretty important,” Peda said. “Some people’s best day of their lives is their wedding so it has to be perfect.”
Peda’s favorite part of her job is when she gets to deliver a dessert and see how happy her work makes the customer.
“It’s something I’m around every day, so sometimes I forget how important it is to someone else,” Peda said.
Peda likes experiencing her regular customers’ celebrations, she said. It can be anything from graduations to local businesses’ monthly birthday cake for all their employees.
Behrends said Peda is always getting creative in the kitchen.
“She’s always enjoyed, not just baking, but cooking and whipping up new recipes,” Behrends said.
Peda always baked with her mom, she said. Her family bakes a lot for Christmas and gets really into it.
“I remember us each taking turns following the directions and rolling out the dough. Making Christmas stuff,” Behrends said. “It was a cool experience for us to do that together with our mom.”
Ritchie has noticed Peda’s love for cooking and baking since the oven is always on. Peda plans to continue cake decorating on the side once she graduates.
“I hope that what I’m learning from Pure Bliss is something I am able to apply to my own life,” Peda said.
This past summer Peda was able to incorporate what she’s learned into creating a cake for her cousin’s birthday. Her family always makes “doll cakes,” which is a doll pushed into a round cake that resembles a dress. This time Peda decided to add flowers in icing instead of their usual simple style.
“I think [Pure Bliss] has given her more inspiration to be creative,” Behrends said. “Even just in our conversations of different desserts she gets to work with, I think she’s more knowledgeable of the behind the scenes stuff. More than what goes into just baking at home.”