Chef Marney White has been looking for a permanent spot to make her intricate buttercream creations for brides dreaming of an elegant East End vineyard or beach wedding.
Now she thinks she found that place in downtown Riverhead.
Ms. White is negotiating to lease space in the downtown area to open her business, Marneycakes, where she will make her multi-tiered cakes complete with flawless piping and realistic looking gum paste flowers, animals and sea shells. She hopes to open by early fall.
“I’m very much a foodie,” she said in an interview. “The way it tastes to me is just as important as the way it looks.”
But once its open, passersby will not be able to stop in for a seven-layer or seeded “S” cookie.
“There is not going to be a case of pre-baked goods for buyers,” she said. “It’s an exclusive, but very friendly and not snobby shop.”
She said she might, however, display some of her gum paste details, such as flowers, seashells or butterflies, inside the West Main Street shop. (Ms. White didn’t want to publicize yet exactly where the shop will be.)
All cakes will be custom made and are available by order only, she said. Cookie, cupcake and brownie favors are also available, as well as vegan and gluten-free options.
This will be the first time Ms. White will be renting a storefront. She currently leases kitchen space for her three-year-old business.
Ms. White also plans to take on interns from the Suffolk County Community College Culinary Arts School and to hold baking classes at the store.
For a bride or groom interested in Ms. White’s cakes, she will bake three six-inch cakes for tasting. The tasting fee is $75 which would be applied to the total order.
She said she makes all cakes by hand, using all-natural ingredients, which is time-intensive as it takes about two and half days to complete a wedding cake. The day of the big event, Ms. White packages all tiers separately and assembles the cake on-site.
But Ms. White wasn’t always exclusively in the baking business. Less than five years ago, she was working in the insurance industry when someone asked her how she would spend her time if she did not have to work.
“I just grumbled, ‘I’d make beautiful cakes,’” she said. She decided to switch professions and before she knew it, was studying under world-renowned baker Betty Van Nostrand.
She has since been honored three times by Martha Stewart’s Wedding Wire for the Bride’s Choice Award.
Riverhead Town’s Community Development Director Christine Kempner said she has introduced Ms. White to the department heads in town, in an effort to facilitate the permit process.
“It’s the type of business everybody wants to see down here,” Ms. Kempner said. “It plays off of everything going on the East End.”
Ms, Kempner even brought her down to the Suffolk County Legislature meeting at the county center in Riverside Tuesday.
Ms. White introduced herself at the meeting and handed out cupcakes to town and county officials, who raved about the confections after.