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A Dash of Nutmeg Cake Design In Philly

By Pamela Sosnowski

Meg Skill is putting her fine arts degree to good use everyday. But instead of creating on canvas or paper, Skill's artwork is of the edible variety: custom cakes that she makes from scratch daily out of Nutmeg Cake Design, the Philadelphia bakery she has owned since 2015.

"My fine art training is a driving force behind everything I create," she explained. "The same rules and techniques apply to cakes, paintings, and all works of art: composition, color theory, focal points, symmetry, etc. It was a fairly fluid transition from the art world to the sugar world."

Skill was working a desk job after graduating from Arcadia University when she began baking desserts at nights and on the weekends. Family and friends were so impressed with her creations that they began requesting custom orders from her. That's when she realized she could turn her passion into a paying career.

A completely self-taught baker, Skill gleaned her knowledge online by studying cake recipes and designs by cake masters she admired and applying their skills in her own kitchen. Skill was able to launch the business due to the generosity and support of The Bakeshop on 20th, which allowed her to rent kitchen space as she got the business off the ground. In less then a year, she had outgrown the space and now operates her facility on Krams Avenue in the city's Manayunk neighborhood.

Nutmeg Cake Design makes custom cakes for weddings, birthdays, and other occasions, and decorated cupcakes and sugar cookies. A dessert item from the bakery, however, is not the typical cake or cookie you'll find at a chain supermarket; Skill's creations are show stoppers. She has made party cakes that resemble pizza, a suitcase, and a hat box. Others have been adorned with cats, tacos, and bowling pins made from fondant or frosting.

Skill also offers hand painted sugar cookies, specializing in pet portrait design. She can recreate a customer's beloved pet, right down to their whiskers, on a cookie, cupcake, or cake. For these orders, a high-resolution image of the pet is required so Skill can capture the animal's personality and physical details.

"We are the perfect fit for a client that is looking for the combination of edible art plus decadent dessert," Skill stated. "We take great care in choosing high quality ingredients and invest a tremendous amount of attention to detail and design. We love creating delicate sugar flower work and textures inspired by brushstrokes."

Skill's custom cakes are available in over a dozen batter flavors including champagne, orange olive oil, and pistachio in addition to the old standbys, vanilla and chocolate. The cakes can be paired with any of several meringue butter creams that include lemon, Nutella, peanut butter, and maple pecan. For an additional charge, Skill can create rainbow colored cake layers or adorn the treat with a ganache coating.

All of the ingredients used at Nutmeg Cake Design are natural and fresh, which is what keeps customer raving about her moist, delicious tasting treats, referring to her as the "sugar queen." The bakery is open Wednesday through Sunday by appointment only and order requests require at least 48 hours' advance notice (although two weeks of lead time is preferred.)

Skill adores her customer base, whose requests keep her on her toes and her creative wheels turning.

"As we go into our fourth year, I'm so pleased with how satisfying this business has been," she said. "Our clients inspire us everyday, bringing us new ideas and challenges to recreate in sugar."

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About The Author

Pamela Sosnowski is a freelance writer, social media manager, contributor for REBEAT...

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