Behind the glass display of nearly-too-pretty to eat confections at Alpine Bakery, is an entire division of the company which also supplies custom creations for weddings, special events and simply family gatherings.
Alpine Custom Cakes was founded in April 2016 as a wholesale department of Alpine Bakery, which has retail locations in Alpharetta and Woodstock. Within the Custom Cakes division, the pastry chefs create a wide variety of cakes and pies for both the retail sites, as well as to more than 100 other restaurants across the Southeast.
“The Custom Cake division solely focuses on special orders from clientele requesting unique products tailored to the needs of their special occasion such as weddings, anniversaries, retirements, graduations, and other events,” explains Kate DeTommaso, who along with Marea Charitat is part of the creative team behind Alpine Custom Cakes.
In a typical month, the duo makes anywhere from 60 to 75 special occasion cakes, offering cakes in more than 20 varieties. In addition, Alpine Custom Cakes also creates a dozen different styles of cheesecake, and over 30 different cookies, cupcakes, pastries and pies – many of which can be found within the bakery cases of Alpine Bakery.
DeTommaso says wedding cakes are the most popular request of their clients, with raspberry and white chocolate the preferred flavors among the wide array of choices. While most brides lean towards the traditional side of wedding cakes, the two love creating unique designs as well.
Television baking shows, such as “Cake Boss” have certainly fueled the trend in custom cakes, with many conversations with brides beginning with “On Cake Boss I saw...” laughs DeTommaso.
“The reality shows definitely help with custom cakes,” she added. “It allows people to get creative and draw inspiration for their next event.”
These shows push the limits of creativity for cake decorating; something both DeTommaso and Charitat enjoy.
“We have seen lots of different trends in wedding cakes emerging,” said Charitat, who has been with Alpine Custom Cakes since she graduated from The Art Institute of Atlanta in June 2015.
“Some examples include naked cakes, shiny accents or decorations, and liquor soaked cakes. We are also seeing more brides and grooms selecting nontraditional flavors, and this makes it a more unique experience for the guest.”
The two chefs approach each wedding cake design as reflection of bride and groom, with each cake taking on its own unique “personality.”
“Each cake is tailor made for the wants and desires of our brides and grooms. We’ve decorated cakes with household plants, childhood toys and even 24karat gold!” said DeTommaso, a 2013 graduate of Keiser University’s baking and pastry department in Florida.
She notes the term “wedding cake” can apply to any cake served at a wedding, and there is a wide range of flexibility within that definition.
“We have customers that want to make a cake and/or dessert bar using the items that are provided from our retail bakeries,” said DeTommaso. “We can make any cake a wedding cake. Brides are getting more creative with how they would like to display their dessert.”
The range in size and cost of wedding cakes varies with the bride and groom. DeTommaso says they’ve created wedding cakes to serve from two to 200 guests, and ranging from $100 to more than $5000.
And last minute weddings are not completely out of the question for Alpine Custom Cakes.
DeTommaso and Charitat have delivered cakes in as little as 12 hours; but most take several days depending on the intricacy of the design and the size.
The parent company for Alpine Custom Cakes -- Alpine Bakery -- has been a part of the metro area for nearly three decades, beginning as a wholesale operation supplying restaurants with their cakes, cheesecakes and pies.
The company was started by William Clementi and Stephen Bishop in the basement of their home.
The retail operation spun off about 14 years ago with the arrival of the third partner, Anthony DeTommaso, and the expansion of the pastry menu to include cookies, pastries, cupcakes and truffles.
The first storefront was located off Houze Road in Alpharetta, focusing primarily on the bakery, with a pizzeria on the side.
About a decade ago, Alpine Bakery moved down the street to a much larger (and more upscale) location near the silos in Alpharetta, where it added a full service Italian restaurant to its well-established bakery. The Woodstock location currently is a bakery only.
All three owners are very much involved in the everyday operation of both the wholesale and retail operation, and the recipes used for all the desserts have either been created or “reimagined” by the trio.
Looking to the future, the Custom Cake Division of Alpine Bakery will continue to grow and expand, said DeTommaso.
“Adding new tools, techniques and team members will allow us to stay on the forefront of this industry as well as reach new clientele,” she noted. “In five or 10 year’s time you will likely find us creating cakes in locations throughout the Southeast or possibly nationwide!”