Pastry Chef Interview: Samantha Mayfair


Photo by Meredith Black Photography

Y’all are about to LOVE today’s blog interview! Sam is one of THE most talented humans I have ever met. She makes these sugar flowers that look SO REAL. Seriously, follow her on IG to see her in action making them. They blow my mind. ANYWAYS! Sam is here chatting all things sweets, sharing about how to save your cake topper for your one year anniversary, how to have unique wedding day options, and more! Take it away, Sam!

Tell us a little about you! Where are you located and what services do you offer?

I’m a pastry chef located in Oakland, CA! I specialize in custom cakes and sugar flowers for weddings and other special celebrations. Since COVID-19, I have added packages for micro weddings and elopements, online cake decorating classes, and DIY cake decorating kits for delivery in the Bay Area.

What made you fall in love with baking?

I love working with my hands, and for baking and pastry, there is so much science and technique behind what you’re doing that when you can successfully make something on your own, with your own two hands, it is super satisfying.

What is your favorite part of the job?

Making sugar flowers, it’s a very zen experience for me. I also love recipe testing because I like to experiment with different flavors and textures in baked goods.

What is your personal favorite cake flavor?

Chocolate. The more chocolate, the better.

Are there any cake trends your clients are loving in particular?

Smaller cakes for the couple and then either a sheet cake or dessert table for the rest of the guests are very popular. Usually, the small cake for the newlyweds is a different flavor from most of the other desserts; it’s a nice way to make the cake cutting a special moment between you and your partner. “Grab and go” dessert items are also really popular. Guests want to party so treats like cupcakes, cake shooters, cake pops or cookies–anything they can easily pick up and move around with–are a great way to serve something delicious to your party-goers while they get down on the dance floor.

What are some unique alternatives couples can do when it comes to deserts?

A collection of petite sweets (cupcakes, cake shooters, cake pops, macarons, candy, etc.) is always a hit and a great way to add variety into the dessert menu. Some people skip cake altogether in favor of another type of dessert such as a whole table full of different kinds of pie, or nothing but donuts, or piles and piles of the couple’s favorite cookies. Another option for those couples who aren’t into dessert but want to leave their guests with something sweet, is to individually package items as favors. Beautifully wrapped fancy cupcakes, individual mini cakes, personalized cookies, or a set of macarons are a super sweet send-off for your friends and family who came to celebrate with you.

How early should couples order their cake?

Well, that depends. If you know you’re getting married during peak wedding season, reach out to your baker 6-9 months ahead of time, especially if you’re looking for a more complex design. Custom cakes are like art pieces so you want to give your cake maker enough time to focus on your order. If you’re getting married at a more quiet time of year, I recommend reaching out 3 months ahead. That said, there are a lot of last-minute gatherings these days, so don’t be afraid to check with your baker even if you think it might be too close to your deadline because they may be able to accommodate your request.

What does a tasting appointment look like for you and your clients?

Clients receive a box of individually wrapped cake slices that include a selection of our most popular flavors. I’ll meet with you to deliver the box and have a brief discussion about what you’re looking for in terms of cake design, number of guests, the venue, etc., and then you get to take the box home to try the flavors at your own pace with your fianc√©, friends, or family. After our initial meeting, I’ll follow up 2-3 days later to see if you’d like to move forward with working together!

What is the best way to freeze the leftover cake for a one-year anniversary celebration?

Heavily wrapped in plastic! Make sure your cake is cold before you go to wrap it up, and once it’s chilled you can wrap it tightly in plastic wrap–at least two layers–and then wrap it again with parchment or tin foil. Labeling it is also a good idea–sometimes things make their way to the back of the freezer and people forget what they’ve got in there! The most important thing is to try and seal the cake to protect it from moisture and freezer burn.

Are there any other questions you get asked often or wish you could share more about? Feel free to add anything!

People usually wonder what to do with the sugar flowers after their party is over. The best thing about sugar flowers is that they can be saved! As long they don’t get wet (don’t put them in the fridge!) or dropped on the ground, sugar flowers will last indefinitely. I often recommend to clients that once the flowers are removed from the cake and wiped clean with a dry cloth, they can be arranged in a vase or under a glass cloche. They become a beautiful keepsake from your wedding cake that you can display as art in your home, which I think is really sweet and unique since no two sugar flower arrangements are the same–just like couples <3

How can people find you and get in touch?

DM me on Instagram, send a message through my website or shoot me an email–I’ll follow up with you no matter what!



July 23, 2020




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