Nothing But Cakes has been featured on WMUR TV9's Chronicle. New Hampshires Hippo, and in the Concord Monitor newspaper, Concord NH. Please feel free to check out the video as well as the article below.

Tina, Nothing But Cakes’ pastry chef, professional resume is not a piece of paper but a photo album packed with pages of pictures of fancy cakes. She has made cakes shaped like ballet slippers and a grand piano, a Louis Vuitton bag and a policeman's cap.

Everything on the cakes is edible, from the faux ribbons and pearls made of rolled fondant frosting to the intricate flowers handmade from gum paste.

"I love the art of cake decorating," Tina said. "Wedding cakes are my favorite. I like the feeling when you finally get it on the table and walk away. You know you did something for someone's special day. It's very rewarding."

Thursday afternoon, Tina sat quietly at a table in the center of the kitchen sketching a banana to make a plastic stencil. She uses the stencils to airbrush designs on her cakes with food coloring.

She makes everything from scratch - no prepackaged cake mix or canned frosting. She has racks of food coloring in dozens of shades. Her specialty cake menu includes golden Kahlua fantasy cake, a gold and chocolate cake with Kahlua buttercream frosting; golden raspberry cake, a four-layer cake with raspberry and buttercream filling and buttercream frosting; tiramisu and pineapple upside down cake. The prices range from $18 to $90 or more depending on how complicated the cake is to make.

Tina said she dabbled in simple birthday cakes as a young girl, but the first serious cake she made was for her oldest sister's wedding when she was 16. It was a four-tiered cake with handmade roses that she made without a recipe.

"I wasn't even schooled or anything," said Tina. "I just did what I thought was right."

She has conjured up most of her recipes over the years from trial and error, not cookbooks.

Tina and her three sisters grew up in Manchester where their single mother was a bartender and is now a hairdresser. She said she has always enjoyed cooking and she cooked often for her family.

She went to culinary school in 1991 but quickly found that she enjoyed baking more than cooking, a distinction between making cakes and pastries, or cooking dinner dishes and four-course meals.

She later took a few classes specifically on decorating cakes. She worked at several bakeries before deciding to start a cake business out of her home.

Mary Christopher, a nurse from Auburn, said she has been ordering a cake from Tina once a week for more than three years now. She likes to have a piece in the evening, and she often takes them to work for people there to enjoy.

Christopher got hooked on Tina cakes when she was a baker at a shop in Windham.

"She made this wonderful mocha cake," Christopher said. "It was stunning."

At the time, Christopher didn't know Tina was the baker. When the shop closed, Christopher called around until she found Tina again - this time, Tina was baking cakes out of her home.

"When I was a kid there was a shop that was 1,000 years old where everyone got their cake for birthdays," Christopher said. "I never could find any kind of cake as good as that. Tina's are better."

By LISA ARSENAULT

Monitor staff