Sears resident shares love of baking with community

SEARS — No matter the occasion, Sears resident Cindy Stitt loves to bake cakes and other items to satisfy anyone's sweet tooth.

"It's sort of relaxing for me," Stitt said. "I am a lab scientist by trade, so sometimes I'd come home and it's just relaxing to do something creative. I listen to music while I bake, and sometimes the TV is going in the other room."

Upon discovering her love for baking as a teenager, she began harnessing her cake decorating skills through a class at her school in her Pennsylvania hometown. She made cakes for family members and special family events and friends, then progressed to larger events like graduation parties, baby showers and birthdays.

Depending what the client asks for, she will make a cake from scratch or from a mix, then decorate in the theme desired using frosting, fondant or both.

"When I first started decorating cakes, you didn't do fondant at all," Stitt added. "You might have had a gum paste, but all of the decorations, like flowers, were made with frosting, so I learned how to do roses with frosting. Now you do so much more with fondant. There's so many things you can do with it, but it's more challenging."

Throughout the years, Stitt has increased her skill with fondant, which can be used to make a variety of features such as flowers, animals, people, shapes, letters and numbers. Through the years she has created sheet, tiered and topsy-turvy cakes featuring romantic, children and farm life themes among others.

"For me, the most challenging thing about cakes is getting them all smooth," Stitt said. "I can do fondant, but most people around here don't like the fondant taste, so I usually just do the buttercream and try to get it as smooth as possible. Trying to get the cakes smooth is hard for me and trying to get them stacked well is hard, too."

But cakes aren't the only thing Stitt enjoys making.

"I do cupcakes and I like doing cheesecakes, brownies and cookies," she added. "I sometimes try different things. I will look at recipes first and then add or take out something. Usually I'll try those out on friends or family first.

"If I was going to take a class I'd do a culinary class. I'd love to do that if I ever get the time, and they do cake decorating, too."

In the future, she hopes to acquire additional cake pans and learn the technique of airbrushing for cakes.

Stitt's newest endeavor places her baked goods in the hands of local and visiting patrons to the newly opened business on the corner of U.S. 10 and M-66, The Gathering Place. There, she will offer a selection of cookies, brownies, filled cupcakes, cheesecakes, pie, cake rolls, cinnamon rolls and more for dining in or take out.

"Baking for The Gathering Place will allow me to expand my options a little bit and try different things," she added. "I look forward to seeing people eating and enjoying my things. It makes me happy."