Geek Sweets: A Conversation with Ant Roman of Nerdache Cakes
About a month ago, we introduced you to the amazing, edible, and nerdy creations of Nerdache Cakes. We decided we didn’t want to stop at enviable images, so we got in touch with the immensely talented Ant Roman, the brain behind the oven, to find out just what Nerdache Cakes is all about. The answers we got were just too fun to cut down, so read on to see the entire interview, unedited.
AGTM: When and why did you decide you wanted to be a baker?
Ant: I think it all started with the cake craze 3 years back, where every network just had to have a cake show. There was Ace of Cakes and then Cake Boss and Amazing Wedding Cakes and then of course all the cake competitions like Cupcake wars. So I sit there and I’m just like ‘Hey, that doesn’t look that hard!” and boy, was I wrong. Like, incredibly wrong. As wrong as anyone can be. But I just kept practicing and working and now I’m pretty confident is what I can do. I still wake up every morning and go “What would Duff do?” Even when I brush my teeth. Tiny circles or back and forth? I gotta’ ask him one day.
AGTM: What made you want to fill this particular niche in the cake/cupcake world?
Ant: I’m a nerd at heart, So It’s just kinda’ easy for me. I actually had a bakery that was all pink and polka dotted and it did well, but it just wasn’t who I am. I wasn’t happy making pink birthday cakes and white wedding cakes, when all I really wanted to do was make an Impala cake with an angel on the side.
So when I started ‘Nerdache Cakes’ as a blog and started posting the cupcakes I made in my free time and people just loved it- I knew that I had an to opportunity do exactly that. I completely re-branded with some help from new friends. And i’ve just been filling nerdy cake orders every week ever since. It’s like going to High school and not worrying where to sit in the cafeteria. It’s awesome.
AGTM: What was the first nerd-themed design you tried?
Ant: The first… oh dang- that was the Castiel cupcake! It was the first time I made a ‘Cosplay cupcake’ (That’s what some people call them now and it’s such a cute term I use it too now.) and it literally had 100 or so feathers that I made out of fondant and layered them one at a time. It took several hours and it was a huge pain in the tookus but I run on candy corn.
AGTM: What has been the most difficult design you’ve done so far?
Ant: They’ve all been pretty difficult, but I know that Jayla’s Tea partying superhero cake just killed me. Not so much the design because I knew what I wanted to do for months (She’s very chatty for a 3 year old. She told me exactly what to do!) But I was working on that cake in a 2 day span- that was a lot of work for 2 days! There was tiny tea cups to make and the figures that had to be detailed and tiny food. It was crazy. The day before the party I worked through the night until 11 AM and took a 2 hour nap and then forced myself to actively party with a bunch of 3 year olds. But everyone loved it and the look on Jayla’s face was worth it.
AGTM: And what about your favorite?
Ant: My favorite? Ughhh that is so difficult. Um, I think my favorite would be Deadpool cupcake. I remember thinking that there just had to be a leather-like texture on the fondant (I use a technique where you use a clean paper towel and some cling wrap and it makes that awesome texture.) and how I wanted him to have a bunch of little pouches. It was just one of those ideas you have in your head but your not sure if there is any way to actually do it. I live by ‘Do it now, think later.’ Which is helpful now, but is a great way to get in trouble when your 3, and you think that blank wall needs a hand turkey, man.
AGTM: What design or character are you most interested in making next?
Ant: It’s funny you ask that because it’s become a longstanding debate in the bakery. I have become pretty determined to make a Rick Grimes [The Walking Dead] cupcake, complete with his Sheriff uniform, hat, and of course a tiny fondant revolver. And everyone (My brother cricket mostly!) tells me I’ve gone a bit too crazy if I think I can make a fondant revolver. So far I’ve bet Cricket that if I can indeed make a fondant revolver, he has to grow an unruly mustache. Mustache bet! Mustache bet!
AGTM: You mentioned your brother. Does your family help out a lot with the business? What is that like?
Ant: My family does help me a lot. Not so much actual cake work but they are a good team.
I like to call my brother, Cricket, the opposite of help. Because when it comes to handy work like detailed figures or filing cakes, he’s pretty awful at it. But he is really good at keeping me awake when I have late nights in the kitchen with Walking Dead trivia and ‘I bet you didn’t know that Marvel…’ questions. He’s also really good at rolling big sheets of fondant because let’s face it, I have no upper body strength. (Which is funny because well, my name is Ant. Come on, you can’t script this stuff.) I also have an older sister named Lady who takes all my photos. She’s just a brilliant photographer and when it comes to lighting she is a wizard. My dad helps me with most of my deliveries. I’d like to say I get my sense of humor from him, but I’m too hilarious to admit that. My mom is basically my pricing/book keeper. Cake is my friend- numbers are a whole nother’ story.
My family has become my A Team!
AGTM: How have people responded to your work so far?
Ant: Oh gosh, the response has just been amazing. For someone who just started a teeny blog, people just loved my work. My biggest fear was that I wouldn’t be taken seriously because I wasn’t trained professionally. But that really isn’t the case and I couldn’t be happier. I take orders from big clients now and have the pleasure of working with the nicest people. I also have overwhelming support from my family and friends and even complete strangers who reach out to me and give amazing compliments.
You can check out all of Ant’s creations (all of which are far too pretty to eat, so I don’t know how people can do that) on her website, or Tumblr. Best part? Even if you don’t live in the NYC/New Jersey area, they now ship custom cookies, so you can have a tasty nerdy treat all your own, delivered right to your door.