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Buttercream Bakeshop partners Tiffany MacIsaac and Alexandra Mudry-Till would wallop the competition if Cake Wars was still a TV show. In addition to cranking out cinnascones and breakfast bombs for on-the-go consumption, the Shaw bakery creates custom cakes throughout the year. “We fall in love with every one before it leaves,” MacIsaac says. While it was hard to choose, City Paper asked MacIsaac to describe her six favorite sugary creations from 2019.
Bowl of Ramen
MacIsaac says Buttercream Bakeshop has a pair of clients who try and one-up each other every year for their birthdays. “Every year they get cakes for each other,” she says. “We look forward to it. It’s become a tradition over the last three years—their little cake battle.” Almost everything is edible on the ramen cake, except for the hidden wire propping up the fondant-covered wood chopsticks.
Old Fashioned Cake
Modeled off of one of D.C.’s favorite classic cocktails, this cake was a hit on Instagram. While MacIsaac says she’s most proud of the cherry and orange twist on top, one of the bakery’s cake artists painted the golden-hued drink and ice cubes onto the cake using edible watercolor paint. “It feels timely for New Year’s since everyone is going to be drinking,” MacIsaac jokes.
Celebration Cake for Chef Kwame Onwuachi
This fall, Chef Kwame Onwuachi of Kith/Kin told City Paper that 2019 was the biggest year of his life thus far. Not only did he win a James Beard Award, but he published a stirring memoir that’s going to be made into a movie. Buttercream Bakeshop baked him a red velvet cake for his 30th birthday in November. MacIsaac says it exemplifies what an amazing year he’s had. The bakery used an edible image print to make the book cover affixed to the cake. There’s also a James Beard Award medal sitting atop a chef’s coat.
Harry Potter Cake
Buttercream Bakeshop met a family at Chance For Life, a local fundraiser for pediatric cancer research. MacIsaac donated a custom cake as an auction item. “The family we gifted it to had a daughter who was obsessed with Harry Potter,” MacIsaac explains. “They said it was probably going to be her last birthday so we wanted to do something nice for her. It was sad, but the biggest honor you can think of.” The bakery gets a lot of requests for Harry Potter cakes. The little girl who was getting the cake wasn’t fixated on quidditch balls or the sword of Gryffindor. Her favorite part of the cultural phenomenon was the forest setting and the deer who live there.
MacIsaac is one half of a restaurant industry couple. Her husband, Kyle Bailey, is the executive chef and partner at The Salt Line. For the Navy Yard seafood restaurant’s two-year anniversary, Buttercream Bakeshop crafted a Cthulhu cake. “It’s apparently some demonic creature of the water that’s got all these tentacles,” MacIsaac says. The maritime monster was first introduced in the short story “The Call of Cthulhu” by Howard Phillips Lovecraft. It was published in American pulp magazine, Weird Tales, in 1928. The couple’s house is full of Cthulhus, MacIsaac reveals. Everything is edible, including the eyeball fashioned from cooked down sugar. “I like to say it’s edible, not palatable,” MacIsaac says. “You don’t want to eat it, but you can if you want to!”
Chefs for Equality Cake
Each year, chefs bake special cakes for the Chefs for Equality fundraiser benefitting the Human Rights Campaign. It’s a festive evening honoring equality under the law and otherwise. This year, Buttercream Bakeshop researched and identified monumental Supreme Court cases that dealt with gay rights. They stacked them up under the scales of justice. It took a week to make. “This was the right year to do a political cake,” MacIsaac says.
Buttercream Bakeshop, 1250 9th St. NW; (202) 735-0102; buttercreamdc.com