Name of company: Madison Lee’s Cakes
Years in Business: since 2010 (6 years)
Owners: Madison Lee Sheehy
City: New York
How many weddings/wedding cakes do you bake a year? Between 270-350
Who is Madison Lee’s Cakes and why are you so special? Madison Lee’s Cakes is couture boutique cake shop. What that means is that I am personally super hands on. I taste every batch of batter, I am on the phone with the couples, I sit with every consultation personally, my hands are the last hands on each and every one of the cakes that leaves, and finally I am on the deliveries to make sure it is as perfect as it was on paper when the couple designed it with me. This is what makes Madison Lee’s Cakes different and special then other shops. We cap our orders to only 2 to 5 cakes per weekend to ensure each one is getting the proper amount of attention.
Anything to brag about? I was voted one of the Top 10 Cake Artists in North American by Desserts Professional Magazine in 2015 (huge honor for a cake artist- really the top!) I have numerous gold metals from competitions here in New York and in the United Kingdom.
What is your specialty? I am known for hyper realistic sugar flowers. I am also known for cakes to feel “organic”, meaning they look as though the flowers are growing from the cake. I am also known for my lace piping skills. Today in the cake world there are a lot of short cuts and tricks when it comes to replicating a lace pattern, but me I look at the lace and can free hand pipe it directly on the cake- its one my favorite things to do!
What is your biggest accomplishment? 2015 was a big year for me professionally and personally. Being name one of the Top 10 Cake artist was a goal I was not expecting to achieve for another few years. On a personal note I got married and designed the cake of my dreams and got to be the one cutting into one of my creations. It was a magical moment, one I will never forget.
What was your biggest blunder? My biggest blunder recently was when opening my new flag ship location and not opting for a larger space, with a longer lease! It’s very expensive to move and very time consuming. I’ve only been here a year and a half and already out-grew my space!
What is your favorite cake? Tough call… I am always changing, its really based on my mood.
If you were to start all over again, what would you do the same? Differently? To start all over again…. Yes the truth is your parents are always right!!! As a young adult it’s hard to understand when they give you advice and try to give you wisdom. When I started culinary school I was 19 years old. My Dad owned Cousin John’s Bakery for 20 years at that point, and my mother was a hobby cake decorator when I was a child, they told me to go for Pastry Arts program, but I was stubborn as ever (still am to this day) and I said “ are you crazy I am never, going to be like you and mom, I don’t want to make cakes!… I’m going to be a chef at a restaurant!” I can remember saying the words, seeing the look on my parents faces. They both looked at me and told me I was crazy and that I was wrong. In the end, like I said, your parents are always right! I am trained as a savory French Chef, however after we did the pastry arts section in my schooling, I never looked back! I hated everything about the savory side and just fell in love with the butter, the sugar, the sweet smells, and most of all the art of it all. I think I could have saved some time if I would have just listened a bit more to both of my parents….. but really, its all the journey of how I am where I am today, so its so hard to say if making the change would have really made a different is my path.
Best Advice I have for picking a wedding cake vendor… you really need to find someone who “gets” you. You have so many things that you want to have perfect and traditional for that special day, but the wedding cake, you can really have fun with. Think outside of the box have a little fun! As much as the cake should be beautiful you also have to remember that your going to have to eat it. No couple should settle for a cake that looks great but tastes bad! We are all chefs first, or should be, and without the flavor element, no one will remember the look of it.
Now lets talk about fresh flowers in a cake… this is a big No No No for me! I know people think it’s a way to bring the budget down, however what people forget is that flowers are grown with chemicals to make them bigger and more vibrant. Everyone forgets that these flowers are then inserted directly into the cake- people have to then eat the cake!!! So as the cake is sitting there, the sponge is absorbing all of the chemicals from the steams and it could potentially cause harm to a gusts. Sugar flowers, eliminate this problem. **EDITOR’S NOTE: As a florist, I (Heather Waits of Profitable Weddings) want to add that there are many flowers grown under certifications such as Florverde that do not use chemicals to treat the flowers. I always suggest to my brides to use edible flowers to begin with, and I make it a point to use those that come from certified farms to lessen the possible health concerns. I cannot speak for other florists and their practices, but chemical-free flowers are an option.