Catching up with the ‘Queen of Cake’

Would-be bakers that think they are too old to start a second culinary career should pay heed to the recent interview of Sylvia Weinstock (aka the Queen of Cake) in The New York Times. The 89-year-old Weinstock has baked cakes for the likes of Billy Joel and Jennifer Lopez, but she didn’t start baking professionally until the age of 50.

Sylvia Weinstock cookbook

You might recognize Weinstock from her stint as a judge on the Netflix series “Nailed It!”, from one of her baking books, or perhaps you saw images of her fantastic cakes from a celebrity wedding photo spread. One thing you did not see in any of those photos is fondant, because Weinstock is not a fan of the confectionary coating. “I hate fondant. It’s cheap and easy,” she told the NYT. “We only use butter cream. They [pastry chefs who use fondant] don’t know about the different qualities of butter or cream or eggs, or that everything matters when baking in portions. You need to know about the material you’re working with besides being creative and making it beautiful.”

Weinstock said that at the peak of her career, she (joined by a staff of over a dozen) would make over 1,000 wedding cakes each year. Weinstock would design a cake specifically for each client (copying another cake was not an option), and the designs ran the gamut. “We’ve done carved cakes in the shape of a Bentley with the bride and groom figures sitting in it; a copy of the house the couple bought with a for sale sign saying, Just married; a wine crate with six wine bottles in it,” Weinstock recalled. 

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