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East Idaho Eats: Desi’s Custom Cakes look too realistic to eat

East Idaho Eats

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SHELLEY — Baking delectable cakes and sculpting unbelievable artwork with sugar is second nature for Desi Richards.

Richards’s love for baking began long before opening her shop, Desi’s Custom Cakes. Her creative journey started when she was 12-years-old.

“I used to bake a chocolate cake for every birthday party that we had in our family, and I loved it. I would bake it and my mother would clean up the mess,” Richards said.

Desi continued on with baking after high school. She took professional courses to refine her natural abilities but admits most of her baking knowledge came from reading books and experimenting.

DesiCakes FruitBasket
Richards crafted this fruit basket cake with Rice Krispies, special wafer paper, and fondant. | Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com

Richards’s baking business, built from scratch, will be 24-years-old this June. Original sugar artwork and baked masterpieces decorate her shop. She’s also started a sugar art classes which she’s been teaching for over a year.

“I have never had to go into debt for my cake shop. I have been fortunate to grow my hobby that way. Just one step at a time,” Richards said.

Richards keeps award-winning cakes in her shop to showcase months after a competition.

“It’s all different types of mediums that are sugar,” Richards said.

DesiCakes Lullabies
Richards’s award-winning cake showcasing various lullabies. | Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com

Not only does she build cakes for celebrations, weddings, and political events, Richards pioneered an annual Sugar Art Show. She and her mother founded the competition for the Eastern Idaho State Fair in 2007.

“That and photography are the two top reasons why a lot of people go to the state fair,” Richards said.

DesiCakes CarrotCake
Richards’s highly-requested carrot cakee. | Natalia Hepworth EastIdahoNews.com

Richards said of all the orders she gets, her most requested is her signature carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, based on her grandmother’s recipe. It’s taken her years to perfect the recipe, but now she has it down to exact measurements. Richards said she purees her carrots, and even adds pineapple into the mix.

“I would tweak different things. Maybe I wanted the baking soda a little higher. It just depends, but I think when you’re making a cake, it’s really important that you test it out and that you find the right recipe for it,” Richards said.

Find Richards’s shop, and sugar art school at 221 South Emerson Avenue in Shelley. Follow Desi’s Custom Cakes on Facebook or call at (208) 390-5484 to learn more.

DesiCakes Boots
Foundant are used on the outer edge of this piece. Richards said a creation like this can either be crafted with Rice Krispies, or cake. | Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com
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