During the pandemic, pastry chef Katie Blyashuk was busy showing off her cake, cookie, and cupcake creations on Instagram, where she commanded a healthy following of fans. The sweet tooths would not only stop by (virtually) to ogle Katie’s desserts, they would also place their orders, which ultimately encouraged the pastry chef to open a brick and mortar location in Lovejoy, called Cakes By Katya.
Since opening just under a month ago, the “real life” location has allowed Katie to expand her offerings, as well as her clientele. Her first few weeks in business affirmed what she already knew – that her devoted social media followers would also like to browse her creations in person. The storefront exposure on E. Lovejoy Street was an added bonus.
The bakery features daily assortments of fresh, made-from-scratch cakes, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and other small desserts.
“I needed to expand my kitchen and storage capacity, so when this location became available with a built-in storefront it was perfect. I enjoy meeting my customers and many have been encouraging me to open a physical bakery so this new location allows me to run my business more efficiently and have easier access to my customers.”
In addition to providing her weekly menu of baked goods, Katie is still taking custom cakes orders.
For those who have come across Katie’s marvelous scratch custom cake designs, they are nothing short of breathtaking. The creations are not only beautiful, they are also equally tasty, according to one customer who said, “Katie takes your theme and runs with it. You get this cake that looks like something that you’d see on TV or in a magazine. Then you taste it and it’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever put in your mouth.”
Hearing the rave reviews, I called Katie to ask her where her inspiration comes from, and where she learned to design and bake. “The drawing gene is in my family,” she told me. “I went to BOCES Culinary Art, but at the time I leaned more towards the baking and pastry making, so then I attended the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute and got an associate’s degree. I interned at Dessert Deli, and worked there for 6 years, and then Muscoreil’s for a short while, before this opportunity came up.”
When I asked Katie how the opportunity arose, she laughed, and told me, “The previous tenants were pastors – they owned La Verdad (soul food café). They saw me at Restaurant Depot and I had a load of baking ingredients in my cart. They asked me if I owned a bakery, and I said, ‘No.’ They asked, ‘Do you want to own one?’ That’s how it happened – they ended up moving to another locatio, and I ended up moving in. They said that it was divine intervention.”
Peddling backwards in time, I asked Katie where her passion for baking and pastry making derived from. She answered, “Martha Stewart. My mom gave me a Martha Stewart cookie book when I was 13, and I made a ton of recipes. That’s where it all started.”
Seeing that Katie had been around the block a few times, I was curious to know more about the trends in the industry. What’s in and what’s out?
“Unicorns were in a few years ago. Now they’re out. Same with drip cakes. Two toned cakes (striped cakes) with swirls on top are in. Short cakes are out – tall cakes are in. Wilton is out – that’s the waterfall-style wedding cake. Personally, I love anything with chocolate, heavy or light, chocolate mousse cake, truffles, cupcakes, etc.”
It sounds as if Katie knows her stuff… and that’s a good thing for Lovejoy. It’s also a good thing for the rest of the region, because she feels that her little cake and pastry shop is quickly becoming a sensation and destination. Thankfully, cakes and pastries are their own best messengers and calling cards. The prettier and tastier the product, the more customers will come a callin’. And that, my friends, is the best way to drum up business, along with some sweet and sugary success.
Cakes By Katya
1132 E. Lovejoy Street
Open weekly Thursday thru Saturday from 12 pm – 6 pm
Standard menu items are available while supplies last or can be made-to-order with at least 5-day notice. Custom cake orders require a consultation and a minimum 14-days notice before delivery.