Amplifying Black Voices: Jessicakes – Jessica Villeneuve
Food: Interviews & Features
Jessica Villeneuve finds artistic expression through both acting and cake-decorating. Though she’s been an actress since she was 12 years old, Villeneuve has been baking professionally for six years after a failed attempt at a two-layer cake for a neighbor’s baby shower. “It upset me so much that I decided, right then and there, I was going to figure out how to make beautiful cakes properly,” she says. Eventually she graduated from making cakes for family and friends to designing custom works for clientele. She says, “Over the years, that turned into what it is today: a full-blown custom-cake business.”
Jessicakes’ designs range from chocolate cake—with salted caramel filling in the shape of a burrito—to red velvet cake in the form of an armadillo. She’s even decorated a “quarantine-themed” cake, topped with miniature toilet paper rolls and adorned with a face mask. One of her more recent cake designs is titled “The Black Man Is” and features a “vibrant cake surrounded by positive words to describe the beauty and strength of the Black man,” says Villeneuve.
Though her main focus is her work in cake design, Villeneuve also bakes cookies, macarons, tarts and pies, among other sweets for customers. Clients, ranging from corporations to individuals, will normally come to Villeneuve with images of what they want their cake to look like. From there, Villeneuve discusses details of size, timeline and flavor.
“My cakes are like edible pieces of art, and I love seeing how happy my cakes make people. Many are so in love with the cakes that they don’t want to eat them,” she says.
Normally booked months in advance, Villeneuve says that during the COVID-19 pandemic, she didn’t receive a lot of business, but things have recently picked up. Though quarantine and isolation can prove strenuous, she comments that the time has allowed her the flexibility to expand on her art, learn new techniques and explore ideas that otherwise would have been burdensome.
To view Jessicakes’ creations and support her art, check out her Instagram @jessicakesutah, where you can also order her custom-designed cakes.