CLINTON - Cassandra Pianowski has always loved baking and Clinton, in equal measure.
Pianowski’s parents were born and raised in Clinton, and 37 years ago bought a house together in Clinton. Pianowski has lived in Clinton her whole life.
“The community is great and my neighborhood is full of life with lots of kids and dogs. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else,” she said.
Pianowski started baking for family and friends in Clinton “and it took off from there,” with a stint in culinary school followed by over 16 years in the culinary field “ranging from intimate restaurants to large pristine country clubs.” Changes in her life led to her current position in the bakery at the Market Basket in Hudson, where a talented colleague taught her how to perfect her decorating.
“Her skills helped me take my craft to the next level,” said Pianowski, who enjoys practicing those skills while being in charge of making creams, cakes and doughnuts at the supermarket.
CuppyCakes and Cakes, her home-based business selling cakes and cupcakes, has been going for five years entirely on word-of-mouth.
“It’s exciting to know that I am a part of someone’s first birthday or 50th wedding anniversary. I love that I can be a part of their special moments and milestones in their life without even being there,” Pianowski said.
Most people come to her with ideas, she said, and she “collaborates with them to come up with a design they will love. In some cases, people just say these are the colors that I want and I trust you to come up with something. I love when that happens. I get to use my full creativity.”
Inspiration is everywhere for Pianowski, from online sources like blogs, Pinterest and Instagram to everyday objects she might see in passing, like a “peacock balloon that made me want to create a cake that looked like peacock feathers.”
Her favorite cake she’s done was a Maleficent cake, with lime green, purple and black ganache dripping down. Her least favorite was a “revolting” horror cake of a bloody and pimply face, that she said made her stomach turn.
But her dream cakes to make would be a “mirror glaze cake where you pour mixture of liquid sugar and colored white chocolate over the cake and it dries shiny like a mirror, or a geode cake where you cut out a middle piece of the cake and replace it with colored rock candy to make it look like a actual geode rock.”
Two things Pianowski never changes is that her cakes always have four layers - because she likes the frosting-to-cake ratio the best - and that she always does a crumb coat, which is sealing the layers of the cake with a thin layer of frosting before fully frosting the cake with a color.
“My medium is frosting and cake is my canvas. I love when it’s blank and ready for it to come alive. My favorite part is the step back when it’s done to really look at it,” she said. “I am able to come up with flavors that complement each other, but I am definitely not afraid to step out of the box with exciting flavors that entice the palate.”
Pianowski uses only fresh ingredients and bakes entirely from scratch. She strives to “push (herself) and stand out from the rest,” always listening to her favorite music while making her baked goods in order to concentrate and avoid distractions.
Currently baking out of her home kitchen, Pianowski said she would love to open a storefront someday in Clinton.
In her free time, Pianowski likes to paint and draw - which she said “has helped tremendously in designing my cakes” - and spends time going on outings and watching movies with her son, 6-year-old Elijah, “who always asks for the cake leftovers.”
Pianowski can be found at “CuppyCakes and Cakes” on both Facebook and Instagram.