PARRISH -- Alla Levin of Parrish's The Cake Zone played a sweet part in Nik and Erendira Wallenda's renewal of vows ceremony. Her work will be featured on the second part of TLC's show "Say Yes to the Dress: The Big Day" at 10 p.m. Friday. The first part of the show, featuring Erendira Wallenda's dress, aired May 29.
During an initial phone call, Levin had no idea whose cake she was designing. The Wallendas are known for their record-breaking and breathtaking acrobatic stunts and circus performances. Both come from families with long histories in performance.
"They called and they never were flashy or anything, he just said, 'I'm Nik and I want to talk about our
cake,' " Levin said.
It wasn't until Levin received the questionnaire she usually sends out to clients that she realized who these particular clients were.
She began working with the Wallendas last September and about a month later, TLC contacted her about appearing on "Say Yes to the Dress: The Big Day." On Jan. 4, the Wallendas renewed their wedding vows at the Ca' d'Zan at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art to mark their 15th wedding anniversary.
When customers come into Levin's meeting room in Parrish to discuss cake ideas, she listens to what they want and creates a mental sketch of the cake. The cakes are highly customized and Levin assures the cake stays within the couple's budget.
Levin began her journey in the kitchen as a child under the guidance of her dad, who was a pastry chef in Belarus, where she grew up. After a stint in fashion design, Levin moved to Florida and began baking again. Her design background helps her sketch ideas for cake clients and create aesthetically pleasing final products.
Erendira Wallenda was a joy to work with and had many ideas of her own.
"She wanted vintage elegance," Levin said. The cake was four tiers with additional cupcakes to accommodate the number of guests at the ceremony.
"She used burlap and lace in her wedding, so we made burlap and lace decorations out of sugar," Levin said. "And we made ruffles to match her dress and flowers out of fondant."
The Cake Zone never uses anything inedible and crafts cake decorations a couple of weeks ahead of time. The cake itself is baked 48 hours before the event and the entire creation is usually assembled at The Cake Zone, but sometimes is transported in pieces and assembled onsite.
The Wallendas, who got married in a small ceremony in 2000 because they didn't have the money for a larger celebration, received a recommendation for The Cake Zone from several vendors and may have noticed the shop's appearance in Cake Central Magazine as one of Florida's top three bakeries.
The majority of cakes made by The Cake Zone are for weddings, Levin said. The feeling she gets from making a couple happy with her cakes has kept her in the business for more than 11 years.
Levin said she enjoys hearing from brides who work with her "the experience was wonderful."
Janelle O'Dea, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow her on Twitter@jayohday.