Let them eat cake

Posted on 06 May 2016 at 6:15am

SusieCakes founder’s unabashedly feminist bakery wants everyone to celebrate the sweet life — including betrothed same-sex couples

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Susan Sarich’s Preston Center cakery wants to be your neighborhood bake shop for daily delights or celebratory wedding cakes. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Executive Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

When Susan Sarich decided she wanted SusieCakes — her 10-year-old California-based bakery mini-chain — outside of its home state, she went about it methodically: She analyzed market data and demographics and came up with a half-dozen cities to consider branching into. But her very first trip was to Dallas, and she stopped the search that day.

“I’m on the intuitive side, and I knew this is where I wanted to be,” she says from the floor of her new Preston Center storefront. “The people here are great — such a strong sense of community. And we’re about being the neighborhood bake shop. We want to be the In-N-Out Burger of cakes.”

And that meant going old-school.

Every recipe originated from the kitchens of Mildred and Madeleine, Sarich’s two grandmothers. And because they make everything from scratch, SusieCakes does; because they didn’t use high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, pre-mixes — or even schmancy add-ons like candied ginger and edible flowers — she doesn’t allow them, either. Fondant is verboten, while buttercream is king. It’s just basic, old-fashioned cakes, pies, cupcakes and cookies in classic flavors.

The signature creation is the celebration cake, a six-layer vanilla with confetti decorated in Susie’s signature pale blue frosting, but there’s also peanut better, “flawless” chocolate and more. The slate of offerings is pretty set, with seasonal additions, although she did make one concession with the move to Dallas: A cookie in the shape of Texas.

All of these traditions evoke cozy memories of bakeries a generation ago, but SusieCakes isn’t your granddad’s shop — Sarich has a modern, even feminist, twist.

“We wanted to create a business model where we didn’t have to sacrifice everything,” she says.

susiecakes_0537Sarich knew what she wanted from experience. She started her career in the hospitality field, on the business side (she has a degree from Cornell), and saw a lot of women leaving her industry’s workforce because of the demands. “Sometimes, you wanna have a date on a Friday night, not work,” she says.

And she cultivates a contemporary attitude of inclusiveness — don’t worry about this local bakery taking a stand against same-sex wedding cakes. In fact, the more challenging and specialized, the more they like it.

“We love customizing, especially wedding cakes,” Sarich says. Among the usual selection are a cake with a Barbie Doll imbedded as a centerpiece, but she also has served up Ken Dolls, as well as groom-groom and bride-bride tiered confections. Indeed, the bakers welcome the opportunity to be creative and come up with one-of-a-kind desserts.

It wasn’t just Marie Antoinette who advocated to let ’em eat cake; it’s Sarich’s philosophy as well.

SusieCakes, 6100 Luther Lane in Preston Center. Monday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–8 p.m., Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. SusieCakes.com. 214-983-2253.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 6, 2016.

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