It all started with a cake in the shape of a cat.
“It was one of my best friends’ birthdays and I wanted to make her a birthday cake,” recalls Samantha Eichenberg.
She’s popped into WAG’s White Plains headquarters with special cake pops and a gooey confection for photographing. Even without the sweet treats, her gold fork and knife necklace, offset by a black dress, signals her passion.
Which is for what ends a meal. Eichenberg is the founder of The Dessertist, known for custom-made, artistic offerings that reflect a fine arts/business background — honed in a program that she designed at Kent State. So it’s no surprise that her motto is “If you can dream it, I can bake it.”
“If there’s a particular flavor that you want, no matter how crazy it is, I can create it as a dessert,” she says proudly. “The artwork is unlimited.”
Eichenberg makes everything from cakes to cookies, brownies, mousse, truffles and her signature cake pops. Though she can produce any flavor at the client’s request, some of her most unusual homages include Fruity Pebbles, pineapple upside-down cake, bananas Foster and even a Cosmopolitan, for the legal sweet tooth.
“Everything inspires me with my desserts,” she says. “Anything that I taste or see or someone loves is an inspiration.”
Her muse might be produce purchased at a farmers’ market or a rare spice. But the roots of what she does stem from her childhood, when she first learned to bake.
“My family is my culinary school,” she says. “I actually iced my very first cake when I was 3 years old, and I have a picture of that I keep around. It’s very special to me, because it reminds me of where I came from and where this all got started.”
Eichenberg’s fork-and-knife necklace is an heirloom, serving as a reminder of someone who played a crucial role in her life.
“It’s actually a tie clip that belonged to my grandfather,” she says. “When he passed away, I happened to find this tie clip, something that I hadn’t seen in years. It was a huge wake-up call that he was trying to tell me something, and it wasn’t until then that I had identified the fork-and-knife as, ‘Wow, this is him telling me to pursue what I want to do.’”
Eichenberg fingers the necklace while conducting a cooking demonstration, unexpectedly whipping a torch out of her purse.
“I like to be able to torch on command,” she says, chuckling.
The Dessertist does not yet have a brick-and-mortar store, though plans are under way for one in the near future. In the meantime, Eichenberg operates the business out of her Croton-on-Hudson home along with The Dessertist Jr., her personal assistant and daughter, Charley, 5.
“My daughter Charley is extremely involved in my business. She always has been, since she was born,” she says with a smile. “She has been cracking eggs and measuring ingredients since she was 2 years old and, going all the way back, one of her first words was ‘cupcake.’ I think it’s important for a child to get to be a part of your life in every way possible.”
The Dessertist hopes to run cooking tutorials, particularly for children’s birthday parties. And Eichenberg is also developing a cookbook, in addition to doing charity work for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, No Kid Hungry and City Harvest.
“I have always been a bakery that gives back, and I love to just bring awareness to a lot of different issues,” she says. “Especially ones that I can take what I love to do and just make a difference.”
For more, visit thedessertist.com. To contact Eichenberg directly, email firstname.lastname@example.org