Hannah Belanger is all about being fun and unique. Afterall, her friend Chris Fruci did give her the nickname “The Bakeist,” which ended up just sticking amongst her group of friends.
“Knowing full well it wasn’t an actual word, I thought it had a cute ring to it,” she says.
After she graduated from pastry school in 2013, she knew that wedding cakes were her calling and started a homegrown bakery that specializes in weddings and special events called The Bakeist.
Why wedding cakes? Belanger says it’s because there is a more personal interaction with her clients, and being able to see the joy on their faces when they see the final product makes every part of the process worth it to her.
“I also have a slight obsession with anything wedding related,” she laughs. “It’s one of the best days of every couple’s lives, so why wouldn’t I want to be a part of that?”
Belanger says she feels like she’s found something special in her homegrown bakery. “I feel like Cincinnati doesn’t have much to offer in the way of specialty wedding cakes, and so far people have responded quite well and are thankful to have some bakery diversity in the city,” she says.
Currently, Belanger is the only one behind The Bakeist. “As of now, it’s just something that I’m starting out of my home,” she explains. “I hope to eventually grow into a bigger kitchen one day, but I enjoy entertaining my passion with cakes on the weekends.”
Since launching The Bakeist, Belanger has had help with branding from The Storytelling Company, who also happens to be her wedding videographer Benjamin Nelson, which has helped her to get a good head start in the direction she wanted to take her business.
Aside from wedding cakes, Belanger says she’s open to any custom desserts. “I have done pies, cheesecakes, cupcakes, mini desserts for bridal showers, etc.,” she says. “Custom desserts are what I like to offer, opening the creativity to anyone involved!”
The Bakeist is a unique venture to join the Cincinnati bakery scene, and Belanger says that she doesn’t think there are many Cincinnati bakeries that offer custom desserts. “I find that people gravitate to someone who can create exactly what they are looking for,” she adds.
Belanger also makes all of her desserts from scratch. There are no shortcuts and she uses real ingredients, which she thinks makes all the difference in the baking world.
When asked what her favorite cake is, Belanger says that it has to be a peach vanilla cake layered with goat cheese buttercream and pistachios. “The flavor combinations will blow your mind and, in my opinion, it’s absolute perfection.”
Belanger says you can purchase a slice of cake from The Bakeist for $3. Wedding and birthday cakes range from $25 to $35. Any other small dessert items are individually priced out accordingly with each client.
While Belanger will continue doing cakes from her home, she says that she has participated in some styled shoots and has some opportunities for more in the near future. “I love to do those because then I can really let my creativity fly,” she adds.