The Cake Makers
“Mark has been doing this since he was in diapers. He’s made everything you’ve experienced in a four-star restaurant or a French patisserie—even the croissants.”
Mark and Leslie Randazzo, Owners of Mark Joseph Cakes
Let’s cut to the chase: I have never eaten a wedding cake that was both gorgeous and tasty.
Leslie: You haven’t?!
Mark: That’s our whole mission: We want cakes to taste just as good as they look. A lot of decorators who make beautiful cakes come from art backgrounds, and people who make great-tasting cakes are bakers but don’t have the backgrounds of artistic decorators. We like to bring all that together into one fantastic package.
How do you zero in on a client’s taste?
Leslie: When a client comes in, I sit them down and say, “I want to know everything about your wedding—don’t worry if you think you’re boring me with the details.” I start to find out who they are as people, and through that I get to know their tastes and personalities. We also show them our portfolio, but that’s more about them deciding if they trust us.
What’s the most elaborate wedding cake you’ve done?
Mark: One of my favorites had cascading wildflowers, not the usual roses and peonies. The client wanted thistles and dahlias, which made it really special.
How long does a project like that take?
Mark: The flowers alone take a couple weeks. You have to make each individual petal, let it dry, and then dust it with the right color and assemble it.
Do you have nightmares about wedding guests backing into cakes?
Leslie: Oh my God, that’s my worst nightmare. Mark: For me, that’s fixable. We go on-site with all our deliveries and bring an emergency kit. You have to keep a straight mind and get the work done. I try not to freak out.
Emergency kit? You guys sound like EMTs.
Leslie: That’s what our clients are paying us for. Your wedding day is—hopefully—a one-time thing. Our name is attached to it, and we take that as seriously as clients would hope we would.
How do I tell in advance if my cake maker is going to be that committed?
Leslie: There is a lot of instinct involved. Do you get a strong sense that they take their work seriously and take pride in their product? Do they come to work with goals of perfectionism? If we’re here at four in the morning and something is still not perfect, we are going to stay till five in the morning. We never give up on our product. No matter what you do, if you want to be the best at it, it shows.
What’s trendy in wedding cakes right now?
Leslie: People are really getting into salted-caramel buttercream. I see it in gelato, cookies, you name it.
How do you feel about your work being decimated at the end of the night?
Mark: It makes me feel good to see people eating it. If I didn’t want people to eat my creations, I would be a sculptor.
Do you ever get requests for sugar-free cakes?
Mark: Never. I think that would make my heart stop.
From the Winter 2011 New York Wedding Guide