She takes the cake

Pocahontas (Pokie) Stewart
Pocahontas (Pokie) Stewart

Cake decorator Pocahontas (Pokie) Stewart has sweet dreams every night.

“I dream about cakes,” she said. “I’m always baking in my sleep. It’s on my mind all day.”

Pokie says she “just kind of fell” into baking in an effort to burn off negative energy after she got divorced. Baking became her passion.

“I love it, and I put 110 percent into everything I do – or I should say 200 percent,” Pokie said.

With a background in art – “I’ve always drawn and painted,” she said – baking and decorating cakes is a natural extension of her talent.

“I give all my cakes a really detailed look,” she said. “I want them to look like they’re real life.”

Although she will make cupcakes if a client requests them, Pokie most enjoys making big, elaborate cakes such as the one she recently did for “DJ Smooth,” complete with turntable, microphone and headphones. She made a Cookie Monster cake for a 13-year-old’s birthday and a Lego-themed cookies-and-cream cake with vanilla buttercream for another birthday party. These kinds of cakes can take three to four days to make. Pokie proudly points out that every part of every cake she makes is edible. Photos of her work can be seen on her Facebook page, Pokie Stewart Cakes.

“My favorite cake to make was my birthday cake,” Pokie said. “It was a full-body dress cake with a biker-look bodice on top. It took about a week to make with the structure and all.”

Most of Pokie’s jobs come through word of mouth from family and friends.

“My clients are just people in the neighborhood,” she said. “I’ll do a cake for anybody.”

Presently, her cake making is more of a hobby than a business because she works full-time in the OB-GYN department at Baptist Health and has two grown children and two grandchildren. But Pokie has thought about opening a shop in the future.

“It’s been on my mind, but right now I’m just so busy with life,” she said.

People who have enjoyed Pokie’s cakes often urge her to try out for a cooking reality show such as “The Next Great Baker” or “Cake Wars.” But she’s not sure that’s something she wants to do.

“My neighbors are trying to pressure me into going on one of those shows, but I would be too nervous,” she said.

Pokie is self-taught; she didn’t go to culinary school, but she learned a lot about cake baking and design on the Internet and through trial and error.

“My advice to other would-be bakers is just to practice, practice, practice,” Pokie said.

After all, as every baker knows, if something doesn’t turn out well, you can always eat the evidence.