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Stardust Cakes: Custom Creations for All Occasions

By Marina Jokic

In 2008, Sara Davis started baking cakes for her friends at first, a hobby which helped her get through a difficult period in her life. That same year, Davis was diagnosed with pre-cancerous cells which progressed at an alarming rate. She had to have surgery, and her doctors told her to get plenty of rest during the months leading up to her operation. During that time, she started to take cake decorating classes and found them very enjoyable.

Her talent for making pastries was unmistakable. Davis decided to enroll at the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan and finesse her methods. She completed her degree in 2010 and soon thereafter opened her bakery Stardust Cakes in Manhattan.

While operating in New York, Stardust Cakes worked with popular event planners and venues such as the Museum of Natural History, Central Park Zoo, Police Museum and others. After three years, Davis relocated her business to Avondale, Pennsylvania.

"I have always loved cakes and desserts, despite all the cavities I got as a kid," Davis said. "I am originally from Portugal, and I feel like our foods over there are less sweet than in the U.S. [so] I wanted to go to pastry school to learn how to make all these wonderful desserts but also to figure out how to change them so that I could stand eating them."

When she came to the U.S., it took some time to adjust to the excessive sweetness of the local desserts. As executive pastry chef at Norwood Club in New York, for instance, Davis paired pumpkin and spices and ricotta and berries in an effort to introduce new and bold combinations. For her, the natural sugars in fruits provided plenty of sweetness without overwhelming the palate.

"I worked at a few bakeries as well and seeing how much sugar and fat went into some of the cakes and desserts was really an eye opener," said Davis. "I am a parent, and I would never want my children eating that much sugar and fat in their birthday cakes, so I figured other parents must surely think like [I do]."

The menu at Stardust Cakes is a reflection of Davis' quest to find the ideal balance of savory and sweet. She uses non-fat milk in all of her recipes, real fruit to sweeten a lot of the fillings and frostings, and alternatives to buttercream such as whipped cream and cream cheese frosting without added sugar. Some of the flavors on the menu include pumpkin, red velvet, coconut, and apple spice with a variety of frostings and fillings such as dark chocolate ganache, fruit, white chocolate cream cheese, and peanut butter. There are vegan options, too.

"I don't like to make traditional cakes [and] I don't like to make the same cake twice," said Davis. "I love to be creative and original with all my cakes, [and] I think that might be something that brides and grooms in this day and age appreciate."

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About The Author

Marina Jokic holds a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College in Russian and East...

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