Michelle DuQuesnay is the owner of one of the city’s many cake design studios and also one of the city’s relatively few erotic cake designers. Working out of the Brooklyn brownstone where her 10-month-old business, Sugar Mama NYC, is housed, she’s fashioned everything from Rice Krispie penises to giant Viagra pills. After reading about her work in Time Out, we called her up to learn more about it, and the business of immortalizing genitalia in fondant. Stay tuned for Part Two of the interview tomorrow.
You also make lots of regular cakes — are the adult cakes a new thing for you?
It’s not too new. Basically, my motto is, Your imagination is my creation.
Is making adult cakes that much different than making regular cakes?
Not really. If you look at the cakes I have on my site, they’re all pretty odd. There are not too many regular birthday cakes. Adult cakes are just another sculpted cake. The best part is having adults try to order them without giggling, like, [whispers] “I’m at the office, I need a cake in the shape of a man’s thing.” Thing? So yeah, it’s pretty hilarious. When they try to describe the ethnicity and try to be PC, it’s like, “Honey, you want a cake in the shape of a man’s penis. Do you want a black one or a white one? What do you want?” If you’re going to eat it you’ve got to be able to say it.
What do people usually request?
I definitely have more female clients. A popular one is a torso with a penis. That’s pretty standard. The fact that [the penis] is made of Rice Krispie treats is pretty hilarious. The very first erotic cake I did was a torso with a Rice Krispie penis. I don’t remember how I came up with the idea, but the client thought it was hilarious. You usually get a cake where the penis isn’t standing up. Mine was the first one I’d ever seen, but now other bakeries have them, which is awesome. It’s added something: It’s hilarious and embarrassing, and on a more technical level, you’re like, ‘How does the designer do it?’
It seems like most cakes, adult or otherwise, are a feat of engineering.
Yeah. I wish I’d paid more attention in physics class.
What did you do before you became a cake designer?
I was designing jewelry, but I’ve pretty much done everything. I’m a jack-of-all-trades.
Has jewelry design influenced your work with cakes?
Definitely. Jewelry designers take raw materials and figure out how to make them into something beautiful yet functional. Cake is the same thing. It makes you think outside of the box. Having that background, I can look at cake and know that anything is possible.
Are there any designs you won’t do?
I won’t do anything that’s racially offensive or offensive to someone’s religion. I mean, there is a line to that — like if someone asked me to make an inside joke in a person’s own religion, I would consider something like that. But I wouldn’t make a cake for the KKK or something like that. But that’s pretty much it.
What are the oddest requests you’ve gotten?
As far as erotic cakes, a penis in a tuxedo. The first time someone requested that, that was pretty hilarious. It’s not as popular as the torso, but it’s popular because it’s funny. It’s a penis in a tuxedo! It’s so cute. I had someone request a heart-shaped cake with three smiling penises. And a guy who’s a judge, for his 70th birthday his wife ordered a cake in the shape of a giant Viagra pill with him molded out of sugar, dressed in a robe with a gavel and sitting on top of it. I hope it went over well with his colleagues: Now everyone knows he uses Viagra.
Do you ever get any feedback?
Not really. If I don’t get an angry phone call, I know it went well. … Sometimes I want to be at the party — I want to know what part they’re chopping into first. And the Rice Krispie phalluses are on a stick, like a lollipop — I’m like, Who gets that?