A swirl here, a scroll there, a broad swash of the spatula. Every eye is on Cami Smith, mayor of Cake Town, as she decorates a lucky someone's birthday cake at Busken Bakery's Cincinnati headquarters. The certified cake decorator is a town of one in this new operation at the bakery's Hyde Park store and production facility. "We wanted to create a sort of magical experience for children, where they could glimpse what goes on behind the scenes," says Brian Busken, who represents the fourth generation of this family business.
The bakery added a purple and yellow floor in oversized tiles, ramped up the lighting and cordoned off Smith's decorating table with a fiery red rope looped through stanchions full of giant gum balls.
On any given Saturday, kids strain against the rope, leaning in to watch Smith wield her spatulas and pastry bags. You can sense they long to swipe a finger through the frosting, but "I have a watchful eagle eye," she says. She staves them off with a mini-cupcake each, decorated before their eyes.
"The kids are always asking if the cakes are real, can they touch them, and how can they get the gum balls out of the stanchions?" she says.
Kids and adults are captivated to watch a Glam Girl cake emerge from two anonymous tiers: Smith adds bold polka dots, frosts coordinated cupcakes, pops on teen dolls and voila! Happy Birthday!
"It's fun to see the excitement on their faces when I'm doing the most mundane task, like mixing colors."
After four years decorating behind the scenes at Busken, Smith came into her reign as mayor when Cake Town was founded in October. While the Hyde Park store is open 24 hours a day, she welcomes the public to kibitz on her confectionery skills Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
To watch Smith in action, stop by the bakery at 2675 Madison Rd., Cincinnati. For information, call 513/871-2114.