Can mother and daughter get along in the kitchen? Especially when that kitchen is producing high-end, one-of-a-kind cakes for discriminating customers? The answer for Joan Borzomati, and her daughter, Dana Borzomati Matturro, is a resounding yes, and the cakes they turn out are a testament not only to their commitment to fresh ingredients but to each other.
The mother-daughter duo, residents of Montclair, opened Mrs. B’s Cakes this past spring, in the Farnese Piazza on Route 23 South in Little Falls, right next door to the Fine Grind Coffeebar. Their cheerful, 1200 square feet includes a bright spacious kitchen and an elegant, comfortable consultation area where future brides and others who want a fabulous cake can sit, sample and discuss flavors, looks and budget.
Mom Joan was baking for years at another location, but when Dana left a career in fashion to join her mother in business, they searched for a location where they could get a lot for their rent money, and benefit from drive-by traffic and off-street parking.
The pair divide culinary duties along their strengths and what interests each. Joan handles the creation and baking of the cake itself, formulating flavors, fillings, and frosting to suit each customer’s taste. Dana then takes over, using her artistic skills and pastry expertise to fashion eye-popping decorations and finishes.
Even before opening up to the public, Mrs. B’s had developed a reputation for Joan’s deft use of buttercream and whipped cream icing to deliver an elegant look and satisfying taste.
While 80 percent of Mrs. B’s business is custom-order wedding and special occasion cakes, since they’ve opened a storefront, there are also always freshly made cupcakes, cookies and smaller cakes in the bakery case daily. Three-layer, eight-inch cakes can also be ordered with two-day notice, from a menu that includes lemon coconut, chocolate raspberry, red velvet, carrot, rich chocolate, cookies and cream, banana caramel, and lemon curd raspberry mousse.
The day I visited, there were five varieties of cupcakes on hand – banana with salted caramel buttercream frosting, chocolate fudge, peanut butter and jelly, Oreo cookie and raspberry mousse-vanilla — as well as cinnamon coffee cake, brown-eye Susan cookies, and pecan dandies; and I could smell the apple crumb cake in the oven.
Dana attended pastry classes at the French Culinary Institute, where she developed important cake decorating skills, but it’s her mother’s influence that has had the most impact. Everything, she says, is one-of-a-kind, and they create the look, flavors, colors and aesthetics of each cake from scratch. Elaborate, festive, unique and unbelievable are how customers have described the finished product, and I was amazed by the smooth, glass-like finish they were able to achieve using buttercream and whipped cream. They also specialize in a penuche frosting or filling, which builds from a brown sugar and butter base. Nothing, they say, comes out of a tub, tin, package or box, or is frozen or pre-made. If a cake is needed say, for Saturday, nothing gets started until Thursday afternoon or later.
Mrs. B’s has also been asked to craft unusual requests, including a cake that looks like a Ferrari, a Rapunzel scene, and they recently made book cookies for the 125th anniversary for the Newark Public Library.
One of their specialties, sometimes given as favors and other times ordered to serve as dessert at weddings, are thin, flakey cookies in three circular sizes, stacked to resemble a minimalist wedding cake (see top photo). One of their cakes is featured in the Winter 2012 issue of (201)Bride magazine, which was designed to bring alive the look of a particular wedding gown.
Mom and daughter are now working to become better known to area restaurants and banquet facilities, which tend to use only a short list of approved cake providers. They are already recommended by the Glen Ridge Women’s Club, Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, and several others.
Mrs. B’s, 101 Route 23 South (Farnese Piazza), Little Falls; open Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Sundays from 10 to 2. 973-200-0333.