Thursday, March 7, 2013


"Courage is letting go, doing this feels brave." - Zilly Frazier Rosen

Two weeks ago I sat down with Zilly to share a sweet and coffee and to chat with her about life, business, and cake.

She began with cookies, and ten years of hands on learning in a small bakery in Chicago. Followed by pastries and pie in St. Louis, and eventually as a baker at Dolci here in Buffalo.

Dolci is where she found her passion. Feuled by cake and her love of teaching, her imagination, artistic expression, and the unique ability to listen to others as they shared their story helped to create some amazing pieces. As the demand for her pieces increased she made the big decision to take up residence on Elmwood at her aptly named shop, Zillycakes.
From baby shower cakes with baby bottoms peeking out, to wedding cupcake towers like what she created for my wedding, Zilly listened and put her best into every piece. Artisanal, unique, singular. Among the other extraordinary pieces she created was the portrait of then candidate Barack Obama displayed at Buffalo's Democratic headquarters in 2008.

A year later, an installation of a double portrait featured the new president side by side with his hero, Abraham Lincoln, during the Smithsonian's celebration of Lincoln's birthday bicentennial. There was also the Food Network's 9th season of Cake Challenge, which had her talents once again shining on the national stage.

Over the last few years the pressures of being a mother, a daughter, a wife, a business woman, a boss, an artist, a baker all began to exert a great deal of strain.
The nature of the business is one of challenges. With a thin profit margin, staff needs and demands, Fridays and Saturdays taken up with cake, years of missing so much, Zilly came to the conclusion it was time to seriously consider what needed to take precedent.
She made the decision to slide out of the front end of the business and tried to present the opportunity to take over the business as a sweet deal. It sure was a sweet deal, but not one that too many people were in the position to take on. At the time of our meeting, she had six people who were considering it.

You can imagine how surprised I was when Zilly messaged me this past Wednesday to invite me over to hear the details. "We have our big announcement ready, with a press release and everything, so there's a happy "end" to our story!"
Wendy Egloff, owner of Firefly Cupcakes, will be creating a second location. This Spring Wendy will be coming in and renovating the space to mirror her East Aurora's Firefly cupcake location's theme.

So inspired by her "Elvis", Wendy will create a cake studio space for Zilly to be a master teacher and creator. Which of course, when Zilly told me, I burst into happy tears which had her starting to tear up too. It's so good to know that the spirit of Zillycakes remains, as does the exceptional Zilly herself! 

Keep an eye out for a second article to feature Wendy and Firefly!

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