There’s a new bakery in town that is making the Northshore a little sweeter one cake at a time. Since opening their first store in Haverhill during October of last year, Cakes by Erin’s creativity and skill has quickly and rightfully earned them a spot on the top tier in the cake business. By Lindsay Gabrielski
As a single mother with no culinary or artistic background, owner Erin Erler is certainly in a league of her own considering in the past nine months she has found herself on TV, radio, and baking for Conon O’Brian. When Northshore Magazine heard of this uprising star in our own backyard, we relished in the opportunity to discover Erin’s recipe for success and perhaps get a taste of it too.
Prior to sampling, Erin’s skill in the kitchen is obvious due to the aroma of freshly baked cakes, sweet butter cream frosting, and chocolate that fills Cakes by Erin. We were greeted warmly by Erin, who eagerly began to tell us how baking cakes for her family transformed into a thriving business.
Although her favorite thing to bake is her grandmother’s famous apple pie, as a single mother with 3 kids Erin saw her fair share of cake baking whether for birthdays, holidays or just to put a smile on everyone’s face. Over the twelve years baking for her family, Erin finally accepted the prognosis that she had a talent. Without sacrificing her job as a teacher’s aide, Erin created an out of home business called Cakes by Erin and began taking orders locally. Before long, Erin’s cakes were so popular her orders could not be contained to her own kitchen and in 2011 Erin, her sister and brother in law invested in the small building that would become the home base of Cakes by Erin.
With a loyal client base and the marketing genius of Erin’s sister Kelly, their growth in the last nine months has been, in Erin’s words, “insane” — or in social media terms, 10,000 Facebook friends in under a year. From building a Fenway Cake for the Cake Wrecks Tour to having just watched herself air on the Food Network Challenge, the last year for Erin has, in a word, been “surreal.”
“You set your goals high at the beginning,” said Erler, “but how quickly it all happened…no one was expecting this.”
So of all she has accomplished what was the frosting on the cake for Erin?
“It would have to be the Food Network Challenge. It was unreal. You know you have reached a certain level when people want you to compete at that caliber.”
Even with the hurdle of dealing with cereal bars that did not want to adhere, Erin and her right hand woman, Candice, left the Food Network challenge with smiles on their exhausted faces. They finished their “Star Wars” cake in the time allotted and even managed to get through their first time on TV without speaking in Yoda’s voice or saying “Oh Crap” more than once on camera.
In addition to returning to the Food Network Cake Challenge for season nine, goals for the future include expanding Cakes by Erin. Due to increased orders, the future seems to be right around the corner as Erin sees this goal become more of a necessity.
“We are already feeling the need for a bigger space. I hate turning people away, but I also won’t sacrifice our quality for quantity.” Also on the menu for the future are more options for vegan and gluten free bakery products. Not to worry though, even these products with a notorious reputation for being bland, will not go on Erin’s shelves if they “taste like dirt.” Although expansion seems inevitable for this Northshore gem, for Erin “this is home” and there will always be a local Cakes by Erin to find the ultimate treat.
After some “sampling” we recommend the Samoa cupcake, the pastry version of the Girl Scout Cookie, a vanilla cupcake, dipped in ganache then topped with butter cream frosting, toasted coconut, and chocolate and caramel drizzle. Or for a warm day, the cocktail inspired “Margarita Cupcake” is always a summer favorite. And how can one pass up a Red Velvet Cupcake. The perfect combination of savory cake with sweet cream cheese frosting exceeded any expectation we had. But we highly recommend you bring one cupcake for each person, the sharing routine simply wont satisfy anyone’s tastebuds.
Check out Erin’s website here and make sure to ‘Like’ her on Facebook! facebook.com/CakesbyErinLLC