Fitz Freeby’s business is more than just icing on the cake.
The rising second-year theater student runs One Cake Fitz All, which she said she started when she was a high school student in Minnesota. She also started an Instagram page and website to document her business which specializes in making realistic cakes, she added. She started out baking for friends and family, but began getting offers to bake cakes and cater different events, she said.
“Sometimes you just have to eat a cupcake and be happy about it,” Freeby said. “And sometimes that is the thing that’s going to make your day.”
Freeby’s mother, Shannon Fitzgerald, said her daughter has been baking ever since she was three or four years old. She used to go into the kitchen and mix things together on her own – cooking escapades dubbed as “clean kitchen experiments,” Fitzgerald said. Freeby said she used to help her older sister make cookies from a young age, and that family has also been an integral part of her support system while running this business.
“They’re really big influences and great inspiration and great help and have always been just amazing supporters of me and my work,” Freeby said. “I owe everything to them.”
Freeby got into making realistic cakes as her medium for sculpture, Fitzgerald said, and started out with cake mixes to create creative cakes that other people would enjoy. The first cake Freeby said she got paid for was a guitar cake for a birthday party with 100 people when she was around 14 years old. Her dad had shared a picture of Freeby’s cake with a friend who then asked her to bake for the event, she said. This is when she said she worked out the details of creating a realistic cake large enough to serve many people and other detailed logistics of her business.
Since then, Freeby said she took on more projects, from saxophone cakes to camera cakes to boxing cakes to the Arc de Triomphe. Freeby said she has had to come up with creative solutions to mimic the appearance of the object. For example, she said she tried different materials to mimic the ropes on the boxing cake and ultimately ended up using chocolate covered pretzel sticks.
Lily Tung Crystal, artistic director of the performing arts organization Theater Mu, said she commissioned one of Freeby’s cakes for her son’s birthday soon after hearing about One Cake Fitz All from her coworkers. She said her son drew the Minecraft skin that he wanted the cake to look like, which he sent to Freeby. When the cake arrived, he and his friends were delighted by the result, Crystal said.
Freeby said her passions for baking and theater have influenced each other. Theater has complemented her love of baking in terms of her inspiration and has also opened up opportunities for catering, she said. Her connections in the theater world, Freeby said, have expanded her cake business and vice versa. She said she was in a play in high school that needed cookies as a prop, so she would bake them, and the cast would eat them at the end of each show night.
Crystal said she sees both baking and theater as very creative pursuits. In addition to onstage performances, Freeby is interested in backstage aspects like design and tech work in theater, which require visual expertise and creativity, Crystal said. She said she can see how the creative talent that goes into aspects of theater translates to the skill that Freeby has in creating her realistic cakes. Fitzgerald said she sees creative problem solving as an essential part of any art form, adding that the message of love that Freeby communicates with her theater and baking is another common thread.
Freeby said she advises other aspiring bakers to learn from their mistakes as they may lead to better outcomes. She said trying new things and figuring out how to problem-solve are important skills she has learned through her business. Through the process of making mistakes and overcoming challenging situations, Freeby said she learned valuable lessons that taught her how to manage everything she is capable of today.
“I know at the end of the day – no matter what goes wrong, no matter what’s happening in my life – if I put together a certain amount of ingredients in the right order and the right amount, it will come out as a lovely tasting cake,” Freeby said.
Going forward, Freeby said she hopes to continue her cake business. In terms of career path, she said the options are still wide open for her, as she would like to continue with theater and baking – her two greatest passions in life. One idea she said she has would be to work in a bakery in the mornings, while also pursuing her passion for theater at night.
“If I grow old and gray and I’m still just making cakes in my kitchen for friends and family, I’ll be happy because I love baking,” Freeby said.