Meet The Cake Artist Taking Over Instagram
It’ll come as no surprise that the woman behind everyone’s new favorite cakestagram @thegeminibake is good at the internet. The mind behind @tasteofstreep, Sam Raye created The Gemini Bake as a hobby when she saw that there were only stoner weed cakes on Google images. Raye, an actress and artist, is now making edible masterpieces commissioned by NYLON magazine and designers. Here’s how her hobby-turned-artistry got started and why she stans buttercream.
How did you get started baking?
My mom always made really beautiful cakes for my sister and I growing up, so I guess I you could say I was predisposed. Somewhere along the line over the past 10 years I’ve taken on the responsibility of the dessert table at my family’s big Christmas party, but that’s mostly cookies, pies, and gingerbread houses. As far as cakes specifically, a few years ago when I couldn’t order a Madonna Inn cake for a birthday party I took a chance and made it myself.
Here’s a picture of the cake.
Why weed designs?
If you Google image search “cannabis cake” or “weed cake” you get a lot of hideous and stereotypical “stoner” cakes; giant fondant joints or leaves with big cartoon bloodshot eyes. There is nothing delicate or traditional or really thoughtful in my opinion, it’s just not attractive to me. I am a regular cannabis user, and the last thing I’d want is a cake that looks anything like that. It’s also perpetuating a stigma.
At the end of the day, cannabis is still a plant that has flowers. If you think about it, it’s no different than covering a cake in gorgeous buttercream roses or marizpan, so why not treat them the same way.
Are you classically trained?
No, this is strictly a hobby, I’m sure any trained pastry chef/baker would scoff at my amateur technique (editors note; showed this to a pastry chef, they didn’t scoff). I’ve always been a fan of the “fake it till you make it” motto. I loved watching my mom bake and decorate cakes as a kid (she’s insanely talented) so if i ever have any questions or something goes awry I can give her a call and she has the answer. But, she wasn’t a trained baker either, it was very much a hobby for her as well.
Apparently she got her start after she picked up my 1st birthday cake from a bakery and was unimpressed. She thought to herself “I could make this, and make it better.” She was right. From then on out she made every birthday cake for my sister and I until we left for college.
How did you get scouted to be in photoshoots?
It’s crazy, but just by word of mouth! I love making cakes for shoots, something about it is really rewarding, feels more like a piece of art.
Instagram is a crazy place so it almost acted like my portfolio and it just spiraled from there.
Why cakes? can we expect any new bakes? cookies etc.
Cakes just happen to hold a really special place in my heart, they remind me of home, my mom, and my childhood. I use some of the same recipes that my mom uses, so it’s super nostalgic. However, I do love to bake in general, not just cakes. I’m working on a pavlova tower this week, but cakes are probably my favorite thing to make. They’re so transformative. They can be any shape, any color, any flavor, insanely elaborate or classic and simple…once they’re baked and have a crumb coat I essentially see it as a giant edible arts and crafts project.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I collect vintage wilton cake decorating magazines from the 1950’s - 1990’s, and I find a ton of inspiration from them. I hate the whole fondant trend that has replaced traditional buttercream, they don’t look like cakes to me. They also don’t taste great. I’m also heavily inspired by film, from old Jacques Demy films like The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Donkey Skin, and The Young Girls of Rochefort to Dangerous Liaisons, Marie Antoinette, and the Stepford Wives remake from 2006. I like a lot of color, a lot of pastels - all things overwhelmingly beautiful and whimsical.
What's your favorite cake recipe?
I made pink champagne cake for the first time a few weeks ago, and its quickly become my favorite. I think my favorite recipe though is just straight up traditional American Buttercream. It’s so simple and everything that icing should be in my opinion.
For someone who wants to get started with baking, what's the easiest thing they can make?
I feel like cooking and baking seem pretty daunting at first, but it’s a lot easier than you think. For recipes that are easy to follow, relatively simple, and guaranteed to impress, I always look to anything Barefoot Contessa. But, if you’re REALLY apprehensive about following a recipe and looking to do the absolute bare minimum, honestly (and I realize this is an unpopular opinion), you can make a really delicious cake from a box for $3-5.
It was my college go to. I recommend Duncan Heinz brand, all you need is a few eggs, some vegetable oil, and water. It’s actually impossible to mess up. No one will know the difference.
EDIBLES; if New York legalizes what would the first edibles cake be?
Hopefully that’s a WHEN New York legalizes! Oh gosh I don’t know, probably traditional birthday cake with American Buttercream. I’ve always associated that cake with big celebrations throughout my life. Legalization would be a big reason to celebrate.
Why the name gemini bake :)
I’m really indecisive, and all of the names that I originally came up with were taken - so I figure you can’t go wrong with anything related to your astrological sign.