Science was a sweet career choice for Brazilian-born Luciana Borges, but cake baking and decorating turned out to be sweeter.
Borges, who has a Ph.D. in chemistry, spent a good portion of her life studying to become a scientist. But, that all changed in 2008, while she was in England studying for her doctorate. She met and befriended Brazilian cake designer Layla Pegado. “Thanks to her, I discovered the fascinating world of cake decorating,” Borges said. While in Europe, Borges attended baking classes in Paris.
“After I finished my doctorate, I got married and moved to the U.S. That was the perfect opportunity not just to start a new life, but also for a career change. I started baking at home, reading pastry books and trying different recipes,” she noted. After her husband bought her a professional quality camera, she began taking photos of her desserts. Her photos were praised by her family and friends and she was encouraged to begin a blog.
“Following my first attempt to make a sugar flower, I realized what I wanted to do. So, I started buying flowers and reproducing them in sugar paste,” she said. “Combining them with a delicious cake became my pleasure and a career realization.” The photos from her blog started appearing on Pinterest, as well as other blogs and websites. Pictures of her cakes and confections have graced many magazines including Cake Central Magazine in the U.S., Party Cakes in Britain and the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. In April, 2014, Borges attended the Cake International competition in London and earned a medal for one of her sugar flower arrangements.
She sells wedding cakes, celebration cakes, cupcakes and hand-painted sugar cookies and owns a small cake studio called Lulu’s Sweet Secrets in Beachwood. Her ability to recreate flowers in such a lifelike manner is an aspect of her cake creations that makes them unique. Borges said that one of the most unusual cakes she has created is a tea cup cake with hand-painted details, replicating a Royal Albert tea cup. “Everyone told me that they could not see any difference between my cake and the real tea cup. I am going to make my largest cake this January. It will have seven tiers with lots of sugar flowers,” she said.
“I feel that it is important for the cake to taste as sophisticated as it looks,” Borges noted. “I like to create flavor combinations that pair beautifully, like almond cake with almond praline and dulce de leche mascarpone cream, or pistachio cake with rose and pink peppercorn buttercream. My cakes are made with the finest ingredients like Belgian and French chocolate and high-quality butter.”
When designing a wedding cake for today’s brides, Borges said fashion is always a main influence. “Details from the wedding dress like lace and ruffles can be a style direction,” she explained. “Metallic accents and hand-painted elements are hugely popular. Some brides want to incorporate details that mean a lot like a family heirloom, while some brides prefer to include details from the invitation, a china pattern, or even a detail of the interior design of the reception site.”
To learn more about Luciana Borges and her cake creations, visit her blog at Lucianaborges.squarespace.com or search Lulu’s Sweet Secrets on Facebook. Her cake studio is at 26200 George Zeiger Dr. in Beachwood. Phone 216.333.9074.