A job that takes the cake

Naomi Levine, owner of TipsyCake in Chicago (, tells us why she loves her job in this week's edition of Take This Job and Love It.

Levine: I was in toy sales before this and I love dealing with clients. We do a lot of wedding and special occasion cakes and it's so great to see the look on a clients face when they see the cake we've designed for them.

Weigel: So you deal with a lot of brides?

Levine: Yes — but I think my most favorite aspect of doing this job is creating the grooms' cakes.

Weigel: Grooms' cakes?

Levine: Yes — people are going all out with cakes for the groom. I'm seeing it more and more these days. Some of the grooms are in on it from the beginning, but most of the time they are total surprises and a gift from the bride. They're usually revealed on the night of the rehearsal dinner and there is a theme. Today we are making a three-dimensional iPhone and a figurine of the groom wearing shorts, a tux jacket and he's pulling the iPhone with his earphones. His bride took photos of his iPhone and sent them to us so we can customize the buttons. With wedding cakes there are so many preconceived notions of how they should be and high expectations. The grooms' cakes are so much more fun.

Weigel: What are some other interesting grooms' cakes you've designed?

Levine: One groom only ate junk food and drank water, so we designed a bowl filled with his favorite junk food and had a glass of water next to it. A lot of sports-themed cakes too — Wrigley Field is a popular one.

Weigel: What is the most rewarding part of this job?

Levine: I love seeing the pictures of the couple enjoying the cake. We offer a complimentary anniversary cake if the couple will send us pictures. To see the cakes wind up on Facebook or Twitter is really amazing. And we deliver all over the Midwest too, so it's not just here in Chicago. It feels great to know that we helped with someone's special day.

Weigel: What advice would you give someone who might be considering starting a small business?

Levine: Be willing to work 90 hours a week for something you love.

Weigel: How are you handling the stress of the holiday cake and cookie demand?

Levine: By eating a lot of cake! And champagne chicken helps too.

Weigel: I'm afraid to ask.

Levine: I'm from Australia, and one of our traditions for breakfast is to have champagne chicken. You roast a chicken, get a loaf of French bread, and smear camembert cheese on it along with the chicken. Then you wash it down with champagne. You have to try it.

Weigel: Sounds like a great way to start the day!

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