It’s a Saturday, and Ella Savelson has been working for 10 hours straight. She is so focused that she has completely forgotten to eat. Ironically, she has been concentrated on food this entire time. With a steady hand, she adds the final touches to her creation: a two-tier cake, adorned with fondant, flowers, and a touch of edible gold.
Savelson, a sophomore at M-A, operates her own cake business. She bakes, decorates, and sells cakes for just about any occasion–weddings, birthdays, you name it. With over 17,000 followers on Instagram and close to a thousand subscribers on Youtube, the 15-year-old has become something of a cake-making celebrity.
An almond cake frosted in black dark chocolate ganache. Photo credit: Kim Savelson
Savelson’s affinity for baking began at a young age. “I always liked doing things with my hands and creating things,” she said. “When I was younger I would make pies out of mud. One time my brother didn’t have a birthday cake, so I decided to make him one and thought, ‘This is really fun.’ So I started baking more and more.”
Although she experimented with a variety of treats, Savelson began to focus on cakes around the age of 12. The business–Ella Cakery–took off shortly thereafter.
“My mom would bring in some of the cakes scraps that I would make to her work–she teaches at Stanford, and all of the students there are really hungry all of the time,” Savelson said. “Everyone kept asking for more. So I started making cakes for other people instead of just for myself.” Savelson also shared some of her extra cakes with the local homeless shelter.
Savelson created the intricate design on this cake with edible gold. Photo credit: Kim Savelson
Savelson is a self-taught “caker” and draws much of her inspiration from Instagram. “I scroll through Instagram and either find art that doesn’t belong on a cake and find a way to put it there, or I find cakes that I think are interesting but could use a little touch up somewhere and I recreate it or add something else that I think would be cool,” she said. “And just going out in the world and looking around, I think, ‘Oh, I want to put that on a cake.’”
Brightly-colored flowers adorn many of Savelson's cakes. Photo credit: Kim Savelson
In addition to coming up with the design, Savelson said that making a cake involves “careful calculations” beforehand. “You need to know circumferences and angles and be able to cut things straight. That’s the part I don’t like.”
With careful planning, calculating, and decorating, the entire process can take hours. According to Savelson, “A basic cake takes around 6 hours total to make, but if I were to make a bigger cake, like with two tiers or fondant, it could take 8 to 12 hours. The longest time I’ve ever spent on a cake is 17 hours. I get into this thing–my mom calls it flow. I always forget to eat or do anything else because I’m so focused.”
Despite the popularity of her business, Savelson commented that it is “not as profitable as some people might think because I don’t like to make my cakes really expensive. But for me, I’m making money off of it, and that’s more than I even want because all I really want to do is make cakes. So I’m pretty happy.”
The young entrepreneur hopes to continue making cakes in the future. “When I did a wedding cake the other weekend, I got to meet all of the people that also helped with the wedding, and I want to keep doing that because it was really fun,” she said. “It would be really cool if I got to [make professional cakes] as a career.”
Savelson adds the final touches to a beautiful wedding cake. Photo credit: Kim Savelson
To inquire about cakes or place an order please email firstname.lastname@example.org.