Walk through the doors of Elly Isaak’s cake decorating studio, and instantly the sweet smells of baking will fill your nose.
Cakes. Cupcakes. Cinnamon buns. Even chocolate.
But it’s not baking she’s talking about today, it’s decorating.
Elly’s Studio of Cake Design is the seventh stop on the 11th annual Chilliwack Christmas Craft Crawl happening this weekend.
While baked goods may not be the first thing or even the second that comes to mind when you think crafts, Isaak is determined to change that.
Cake decorating is very much an art, she said.
“I didn’t know I had any artistic talents in me whatsoever, then all of a sudden I started decorating cakes and everything opened up.”
Isaak is a retired pastry chef, who worked in school cafeterias for more than 20 years. But in 2005, a breast cancer diagnosis forced her into retirement.
In six weeks she underwent three surgeries to remove the cancer, and was told she’d likely lose her breast. She lost 60 pounds in a month, diminishing her sporty six-foot frame to an anorexic-looking 140 pounds.
The battle took its toll on Isaak – known for her easy smiles and hearty laughs – both physically and emotionally.
“I was severely depressed,” she said. “I cried all day. I didn’t know if I would live or die.”
Baking and decorating became her salvation.
Trained by the upper echelon of sugar artists, including Ruth Rickey, James Rosselle, and Peggy Tucker, Isaak opened Elly’s Studio of Cake Design in 2009.
She’s taught designs for wedding cakes, birthday cakes, culture cakes, topsy turvy cakes, cupcakes, mini cupcakes, cookies, and chocolate. She’s taught the how-to’s for
an assortment of iced flowers – roses, peonies, lilies, orchids, daisies, poinsettias, and more – as well as intricate details including lacing, pleating, and other such decorative borders.
“People don’t realize what you can do when you have the proper tools,” said Isaak.
And for her, there’s no greater accomplishment than watching a student leave a class blown away by the creation they’ve just made.
“It’s been an absolute joy; the people I’ve met, the people who’ve walked through my doors, everyone I have taught has become special in my heart,” she said.
“I want people to find the joy in cake decorating like I did. I want to help put a smile on their faces.”
For the craft crawl, every person who walks through the studio’s doors will be offered a crash course in cake decorating, transforming a mini cupcake into an edible art form.
As well, Isaak will have a vast selection of cake decorating tools and accessories for purchase.
Elly’s Studio of Cake Design is located at 44701 Monte Vista Drive.
Other vendors include Greendale Herb and Vine, Bryan’s Birdhouses, Greendale Pottery and Country Guest House, Rustic Soap Co., Chilliwack River Valley Natural Honey Ltd., Hamels Fabrics, Little Beetle Bistro, Carla Swope Jewels, Woodturners Michael Hamilton and Brian Murphy, Winks Home Garden and Gifts, and Syixcha’awt Gift Shop.
There are door prizes at every stop and a grand prize following the event.
For more information and a map, go to www.chilliwackcraftcrawl.com.