She calmly holds the pastry bag with a precision eye, slowly squeezing out the icing to form a mummy pattern on cupcakes. Without blinking, Desirae Jones takes special care to complete the cupcake mummy—dotted with itty-bitty black and white eyes—fitting for the upcoming holiday.
Her eyes are steady, like a marksman preparing to fire at a target. She completes the icing pattern and moves on to the next. It's Wednesday night and there are still a couple of dozen mummies that still need an icing wrap.
These days, Jones has been consumed by taking special baking orders over the weekend after launching She Bakes Sweet Shop Co., a new at-home business she began after taking Wilton courses at the store in Lakewood for several months.
"I just wanted to do something that was for me," said Jones, 32. "Then I found out I'm really stinking good at it."
The business—albeit a supplemental job to her legal assistant position for the city of Tacoma—has taken off. Her She Bakes Sweet Shop Facebook page shows a multitude of cupcakes, from almond cherry vanilla cupcakes to orange cupcakes with vanilla butter cream ice cream.
But the designs are what generate comments and have made her small business baking operation a success.
Some of her ideas are original and some connect kids to their favorite cartoon or toy. She designed an Elmo face where the eyeballs are frosting, black and white piped on with a bag. The black mouths were fondant circles cut in half.
Another was Cookie Monster.
You name it and Jones can bake it.
Far from punching keys at her office downtown, her creativity with a slight pinch of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in the kitchen is what makes her projects come out to near perfection. There is little room for error. One wrong move and the project must be redecorated.
Everything has to be done just right.
"I don't think people realize how long it takes," she said, noting that one order could take up to 10 hours from start to finish.
On Wednesday night, she baked mummy cupcakes for her son's birthday party for his University Place Primary classroom. But those aren't the only sinful pieces of goodness she whips up in her home tucked away in the quiet Oakbrook neighborhood.
Her cakes and cake pops are just as impressive.
She recently made a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream icing and raspberry filling for her friend's daughter's first birthday. She uses bright colors so her cakes and other projects stand out. A rainbow cake she made contained four different colors — blue, green, yellow and red — with chocolate filling and chocolate mousse icing. Her cake pops, one of the more popular treats in local coffee shops, are silly-shaped creatures begging to be eaten.
Her pieces of work aren't just tasty. The creativeness came from Jones always having a fondness for arts and crafts. Now she has an outlet to express it.
And it came when her family of three kids and husband needed it.
Chris Jones, her husband, lost his job and was unemployed for eight months. He said her entrepreneurial job at home was helping keep the family above water.
"We didn't have to cut back as much," said Jones, who recently started working again as a manager for the Puyallup Wal-Mart. "Her ideas are impressive."
While he admits it was taking up a lot of her time when she first started, Chris Jones knows she loves doing it, and, "I try my best to support her as much as possible."
Desirae will tell you he's doing a good job of supporting her passion for baking when he tidies up the kitchen after she's finished, which he does.
Who: She Bakes Sweet Shop Co.
Where: In her kitchen
What: Cupcakes, cake pops and cakes of any kind. If you show her a pattern, chances are she can do it.
Contact: 253-324-2666 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or search for She Bakes Sweet Shop via Facebook.