both New York and New Jersey Contemporary Bride 20th Anniversary Magazines covers.
Cake-maker Susan Ognibene of Rossville , who built a business via the Internet, has opened a store in Rossville called Sweet, Sweet Sue's. (Staten Island Advance/Mark Stein) STATEN ISLAND, NY - ANNADALE - Like so many accomplished homemakers, Susan Ognibene always baked cakes for her family.
But for the last two years, the Rossville mom has branched out, making them for everyone else - and she's loving every bit of it.
Mrs. Ognibene and her husband Dominick, have now opened a shop, Sweet Sweet Sue's, at 895 Annadale Rd., Annadale.
A grand opening was held during the afternoon of May 30 at the black-and-pink-colored shop. Cakes perfectly imitating a cigar box, a dress and designer handbag were displayed in the store's window.
Until recently, Mrs. Ognibene had only a Web site, www.SweetSweetSues.com, to display her work and to take cake requests.
Mrs. Ognibene's passion for baking began small, as so many businesses do, when she offered to provided desserts for family parties.
She has no formal training in baking, but drew inspiration from the show "Ace of Cakes" on the Food Network.
As reported in the Advance in June 2008, she once mentioned to her husband that she wanted to try her hand at baking detailed cakes like she had seen on the show. He told her to go for it.
"It started as a hobby," Mrs. Ognibene admitted. "It was something I always enjoyed doing. It's just kind of been working as we go."
She said things began to click after she made a cake for her mother's 75th birthday party. The dessert was sculpted to look like an Oriental box, she said, and it resulted in tons of positive compliments, even from the catering hall staff.
Afterward, she started displaying her creations at Sweet 16 shows. Once word of mouth began to spread, thanks to vendors, catering halls and DJs, the Staten Islander was baking for all kinds of events like weddings, birthday parties, graduations and baby showers.
"They became conversation pieces," said the Brooklyn native. "Not just a cake."
"We did a show once, and an old man picked up a cigar (from a cigar box-shaped cake), but it was hardened rolled sugar," she added.
Her husband said that his wife has received requests from as far as California. Even Greece.
As the company's Web site says, most clients choose the Ognibenes because they have been referred, or have tasted the cakes at other occasions.
"Taste and design are the two most important elements of your cake," the site says. "We only use the finest ingredients in our cakes and we are committed to customer satisfaction."
For information, or to schedule an appointment, visit www.SweetSweetSues.com or call the shop at 718-966-CAKE.
Contemporary Bride Magazine
Yeah!!! We are proud to announce that Sweet Sweet Sue's is featured in Contemporary Bride Magazine with not 1 but 2 of our beautifull Wedding Cakes!
Just one small problem, they posted the wrong name and website! Boo-Hoo!!
Dom is a little upset!!
Snug Harbor Anniversary Cake
They called it 'a cake for the ages'
Home baker's confection traces history of Snug Harbor through the decades
By DIANE C. LORESTATEN ISLAND ADVANCE
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- It was a cake for the ages, baked with love and fresh from the oven of a Rossville mom of three.
The artful, giant layer cake, celebrating the Snug Harbor Cultural Center in Livingston, had guests at the 25th annual Neptune Ball commenting on its intricate details. The seven-tier cake was baked in the home of Susan Ognibene, (with assistance from husband Dom) of "Sweet, Sweet Sue’s.
It took Mrs. Ognibene and her husband about two weeks to bake and assemble the confection.
They started by researching the buildings and the Harbor and made design sketches along the way, focusing on their vision of what it would look like.
The finished product was comprised of a dozen cakes, seven tiers high. The first three tiers were made to look like marble. The bottom five cakes represented the front exterior of the five Greek Revival buildings -- the centerpiece of the Snug Harbor property.
The second tier featured illuminated stain-glass windows, designed to replicate the windows in the Marine gallery. The third tier, meanwhile, focused on hand paintings of Neptune and anchors along with the saying "The Cross Is My Anchor" -- the motto of Snug Harbor when it served as a home for retired seamen. Calligraphy-style printing was used to imprint the name of the Harbor's founder' -- Robert Richard Randall 1801 -- on the cake.
TIERS UPON TIERS
The top four tiers, according to Mrs. Ognibene, were made to look like coral, with lights illuminating miniature sculptures representing Snug Harbor, such as the Butterfly garden, the 9/11 Memorial, the Chapel, Music Hall and even the outdoor praying mantis sculpture, a symbol of the Staten Island Children's Museum.
To top the cake, the couple chose an interpretation of the Neptune statue -- meticulously hand- sculpted out of gum paste.
The completed cake measured more than 3 1/2-feet in diameter and almost four feet tall.
Mrs. Ognibene, who has no formal training as a pastry chef, said she was honored to be asked by the Neptune Ball planning committee to furnish the elegant cake.
"I've been baking for family and friends for many years and they would always tell me I was crazy for not doing this professionally," Mrs. Ognibene noted.
One night, inspired by watching "Ace of Cakes" on the Food Network (which by the way, is the family's favorite show), Mrs. Ognibene mentioned to her husband that she would love to try her hand at baking intricate cakes similar to those he had seen on the popular show. "He responded 'So why don't you just do it.' Then I made a cake for my mother's 75th birthday and the owners of the catering hall raved over it, saying it was unbelievable and asking which bakery made it. So at that point I decided to give it a try and Sweet Sweet Sue's was born," she recalled.
"I started out with a few Sweet 16 shows and it just took off from there. I've only been doing this less than a year and the referrals and inquiries from past clients and on my Web site have been unbelievable," she said.
As for her background, Mrs. Ognibene is happy to report she is a stay-at- home mom of three children, Domenick who is 22, Kristina, 18, and Anthony, 11.
CAKES MADE WITH LOVE
"It's just my husband Domenick and myself and we are not pastry chefs nor have we ever had a culinary background. I just love baking and he has no choice, but to help. Dom, who is actually a realtor with Robert DeFalco Realty, confided he also enjoys being in the kitchen and helping his wife.
"Each cake I make is baked with love, as if it was for my own family," she said. "And sometimes, after working so long on a project like this one, I find it difficult to actually part with the cake," she added, tongue- in-cheek.
Sweet Sweet Sue's is located at 140 Main Street Staten Island, NY 10307 We are not a bakery, we are custom cake designers. All of Sue's cakes are custom made to your specifications. Email Sue at: SweetSweetSues@yahoo.com or call 718-966-CAKE and reserve your date today!
Our Client List Includes; Above, Angelina's Restaurant, Ariana's Grand, Bella Magazine, Balloon's Plus, Cartier, Casa Belvedere, Contemporary Bride Magazine. Covergirl, Cutest Cookies, House of Designer VALENTINO,DMC sound, Eagle Oak's Country Club, Emerald Video Productions, E-Squared productions, Furla, Fushimi, The Hilton,The Grand Plaza, The Manhattan Hotel, The Old Bermuda , Inn, Magestic Moments Vidieo, Mama Raio's Restaurante, Marquis florals By Kim, The loft at Ariana's Grand, Philip Siciliand Photography, Partners In Sound, Sound Explosion, Uniquely Yours, The Vanderbilt, Wizard Of Art, Island Chateau and X-quisite Video.
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