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Decorating job a piece of cake

April 22, 2012

Cake decorator Jessica Fairman has created about 500 speciality cakes. She opened her own business in 2010. (Photo by Dan Long/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

SMICKSBURG — Star Wars, Bob the Builder, the Steelers, Mickey Mouse, Toy Story, Super Mario, Hello Kitty, WWE, Pokemon, pigs, penguins, lions, tigers and bears — oh my! All of these designs have been made into cakes by Jessica Fairman, of Fairman's Cakes.

Just about any idea that can be dreamed up, she can make into a cake.
Five years ago, Fairman decided to take cake designing classes at Michael's in Indiana and discovered she really enjoyed the trade. She said she has always had an interest in art and found her niche when she applied it to sculpting cakes.

"I was always drawing and painting," she said. "I never really did a lot of 3-D work until I started doing cakes. 3-D is kind of where I excel, and I didn't even know it."

The next year, when the Michael's cake instructor retired, Fairman was asked to take over the class, teaching and constructing different varieties of cakes.

She became more confident in her abilities when she made a cake for her son Jack's second birthday party, a John Deere-themed cake, that received a great deal of compliments.

As a result, in 2010, she decided to open her own business, Fairman's Cakes, in Smicksburg.

"Once I got my kitchen license, it really took off really quickly," she said. "I was really surprised it just kind of took off."

She makes wedding cakes, birthday cakes, topsy-turvy cakes or whatever kind of cake the customer wants.

Her business is a one-woman operation. She averages about seven to eight cakes a weekend and now has the process down to a science, to the point where she can always complete the cake by the end of the day.

"It's not uncommon on a Friday to get up at 3 o'clock in the morning and not quit until 4 or 5 o'clock at night," Fairman said.

She uses PVC pipe and flanges to hold up the cake while she sculpts designs with knives.

"Cake always wants to fall apart, so you have to use the right supports," Fairman said.

Fairman works from her Smicksburg home so she can take care of her four children: Jack, age four; Anna, seven; Lynn, six; and Clara, two.

Fairman takes pride and puts a great deal of effort into making her cakes entirely edible.

"Ninety-nine percent of the time, everything is edible," she said.

Even though Fairman's business has been open for only two years, she has already won two awards at cake shows.

In November 2010, she won second place at the White Rose Cake show in York, with a cowboy hat cake during that year's hat-themed competition.

Last August, she won first place at the Co-County cake show in Bedford in the intermediate division. It was a children's movie-themed competition, and she won with her “Monsters Inc.” cake.

Two years and 500-some cakes later, Fairman hopes to expand her business by installing commercial ovens in her basement. But at this time, she has no plans to expand in her home because she still must be able to take care for her children.

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