Chelsea Barney couldn’t stand the sight or smell of birthday cake as kid. Now, she’s hoping her homemade cake and dessert recipes can provide her with a career — two eggs, one cup of flour and one cup of sugar at a time.
For Chelsea Barney, watching TV shows like “Cake Boss” or “Ace of Cakes” was fun. But after a while, she got bored of just watching. She wanted to be the cake boss.
So, one day, Barney, 19, and her sister, Christen, 14, decided to bake a cake. It was a Betty Crocker cake-in-a-box mix, Barney recalled.
The Barney sisters were happy with the outcome.
A few months later, in October 2010, Barney was attending her grandfather’s 70th birthday, in North Carolina. The family took a big RV to the party.
Barney and her sister baked a two-tiered cake, topped off with a replica John Deere tractor made out of Rice Krispies treats. Barney knew her future, after the cake was gobbled up by everyone.
“That was like the breaking point,” Barney recalled in an interview last week, adding that the entire cake was baked in a small kitchen in the motor home. “I decided baking was something I was going to pursue.”
‘Boring and gross’
Barney hasn’t always been entrenched in the kitchen, covered in flour and fruit. In fact, as a kid, she didn’t even like the idea or taste of birthday cake. She never ate her own birthday cake.
“I just thought it was boring and gross,” she said. “I think that maybe had something to do with the fact that I have more than 20 cupcake flavors now.”
Barney always liked to cook, though, she admits, primarily for herself. She said the stress for cooking for other people might make her lose her appetite for being in the kitchen.
“(Cooking) is my favorite thing to do, and it’s always been a stress reliever for me,” she said. “I was afraid to do it as a profession out of fear that it would take the passion out of it.”
However, after that memorable John Deere birthday cake, she has been baking ever since.
And after she started baking cakes and posting pictures to Facebook, people started asking her to bake for them.
“It’s just snowballed, and it happened so fast,” she said.
As a response, she started her own company, Sassy Sweetery. Though she’s still in school at Daytona State College and works a part-time job at a restaurant in Daytona Beach, she still finds time to bake most days during the week.
Barney is working on a bachelor’s degree in business from DSC, along with a program certificate in baking and pastry. She hopes to graduate within two years.
Barney has plans to open up her own shop before she graduates, though. She recently worked out an agreement to sell some of her baked goods at A1A Smoothie Café, 1842-B S. Oceanshore Blvd., Flagler Beach.
She has plans to open her own shop within a year.
“I feel like this cupcake thing is a trend,” Barney said as she sipped her iced coffee. She said she’d consider selling coffee in her shop to accompany her baked goods, too.
She knows starting a business isn’t easy, especially at 19 years old.
“Every trend has a risk of taking a plunge,” she added. “But you just have to roll with it.”
Barney said her company offers cakes, cupcakes, pies, chocolates, muffins, cinnamon rolls, cookies and brownies. She also has baked several wedding cakes and hopes to offer dessert bars, which essentially are dessert platters of all different types of goodies.
“I love what I do,” she said.
Barney said she couldn’t even pass drawing in high school, but baking takes a ton of creativity. It’s also about finding the right ingredients. Trial and error. Barney said she uses fruit in almost everything she makes, and everything is made from scratch.
“We go as far as scraping pure vanilla out of the bean,” she said. “I don’t even use extract.”
In other words, Barney has full intentions of having her cake, and eating it, too.
If you’re interested in placing an order with Sassy Sweetery, call 931-5710, email [email protected] or search for “Sassy Sweetery” on Facebook.
Contact Andrew O’Brien at [email protected]. Send business story ideas and photos to [email protected] coastobserver.com.