This weeks Meet a Mom, we have the pleasure of introducing you to Laurie Petrolino. Laurie is the owner of Room for Cake. She’s extremely talented and we are so happy to interview her.
Hi Laurie! Where are you from originally and How long have you lived in Santa Barbara? What made you decide to live here?
I grew up in Santa Rosa, CA. I remember taking a road trip to Orange County with some friends in the early 90’s. We missed our freeway in LA and ended up coming through Santa Barbara. I knew as soon as I saw it, that I needed to live here. I moved about a year later to go to UCSB and never wanted to leave! After about 12 years, I moved to San Diego for a life change. I met my husband, opened a retail bakery and we had our son Leo. We were there for 9 years, and about 6 years ago, my husband was offered a job back up in SB, and here we are! I’m so happy to be back, we love it here, how could you not? It’s paradise!
It truly is. We are beyond lucky to live here. How many children do you have and what are their age(s)?
We have an 8 year old, Leo who just started 3rd grade. He is full of energy and is sweet, sensitive, and full of love. He loves playing soccer, playing with his friends and video games!
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world?
I own Room for Cake I make specialty cakes and desserts. I primarily focus on weddings now, but I love making sculpted cakes for special occasions. I recently made a 3D Armadillo cake for @blakeshelton and @Gwenstefani I love a good challenge!
Oh thats awesome! They seem like an amazing couple. I personally can’t wait to see them on the voice together this season. Lol! How did you decide to be a baker/ cake decorator? How did you know you had a talent for it?
I actually knew in high school that I loved decorating. I worked at a Baskin Robbins in my hometown and I would always get these cake decorating magazines and make crazy ice cream cakes. I never really thought about it at the time, and that I’d end up doing it for a career. I worked in a local bakery decorating cake while attending UCSB. After graduating with a psychology degree, I had just returned from traveling the USA, and I ended up getting a job as a baker for a local cake bakery. I loved it! It was a whole new element to what I had already been doing for many years. I kind of just fell into it, and have loved it ever since.
I used to work with you at that local bakery and I remember being in awe of your skill level. You could do anything and that was over 18 years ago. HA! To see how much you have grown is mind blowing! What’s the hardest cake you have ever done? How many hours did it take?
Definitely the most challenging cake(s) I’ve made were two 3D elephant cakes that were commissioned by the San Diego Zoo for their new elephant exhibit. They were both about 4 feet tall and weighed several hundred pounds each. They easily took a combined time of 100 hours or more. I did the whole thing by myself somehow! I still remember when my awesome team of helpers came to help me deliver them, I broke down in tears when they picked the first one up. Partly because of pure exhaustion, but partly I just thought, oh my goodness, what if something happens to them on the way there?! Overall it was an awesome experience, the zoo filmed part of the process for their website and I was also featured on Entertainment tonight!
OMG! Ok that is absolutely incredible and unimaginable! You really can do anything, what an accomplishment! What’s your favorite family activity in Santa Barbara?
We love so many things about SB, there’s always something to do. You can usually find us on the weekends with our 2 yellow labs either at Haskell’s, down by the Harbor, or hiking off of Paradise Road.
Where is your favorite place to eat and/or shop in Santa Barbara?
Sooo good! Love those places! What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Ironically, I’m actually not much of a dessert person, seems funny considering that’s what I do! If anything, my go to is sour candy!
That is pretty surprising but at the same time not really… you are around sweets all the time. How do you balance work/ mom life?
I love the flexibility of owning my own business. Most of my work schedule is towards the end of the week and one day of the weekend. I feel like it gives me the ability to be a hands on Mom and still have a career that I enjoy. I’ve really downsized my business since being back in Santa Barbara. Owning a retail bakery in San Diego was very demanding, and didn’t allow me very much time with my family. I take only a few orders in a week so that I can still have time with my family.
Yes that is so important, it’s invaluable. What is the best advice given as a parent?
Oh gosh… best advice? Make time for yourself. Make time with your partner without your kids. It’s good for you, and good for your kids. Enjoy the time, it goes so fast!
Absolutely! What are a few of the most recent things you’ve pinned on Pinterest and/or who do you follow on Instagram?
Pinterest, Most of the things I pin these days seem to be kids’ birthday party ideas and things that revolve around kids. Instagram- Aside from following my fellow event professionals in town, I recently started following the medical medium @medicalmedium. It’s pretty interesting to see all of the health transformations people have experienced with his protocols. I also follow @natgeotravel I love traveling- we used to do it a lot more before we had Leo. It inspires me, and I save posts about places I want to go when the time is right.
I also have a love for traveling. What is your favorite place you have travelled?
I’ve been to some amazing places, but if I had to pick, it would be Italy. It reminded me of where I grew up in Santa Rosa, but also the architecture, and all of the art work was stunning. I took a lot of Art History classes at UCSB, and it honestly felt like I stepped into a text book, but a million times better! The people were so nice and friendly, and don’t get me started on the food and pastries! The food is so fresh and they use vegetables that are in season at the time. You walk by pastry shops, and everything is just full of meringues and different kinds of cookies and cakes. Everything is just amazing there. I can’t wait to return to see more of the country in the future.
Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
Besides my parents and my older sister who have seen it all? lol My village of course. It really does take one, and I’m super thankful for mine!
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
This community is great! So many people in the event industry are working parents, and everyone is always supportive and great with referrals. My friends are always available to have Leo over if I have to work or do a delivery if my husband isn’t home to care for him. I appreciate everyone’s support and feel so grateful to live in such an amazing place!
We do live in an amazing place! No wonder why everyone wants to get married and raise a family here! You are for sure in the right business for a town like this.
If you are looking for an extraordinary cake or specialty desserts for an event, Laurie is a master! She’s a fantastic person and it shows through in the quality of her work with her attention to details. Her creations are not only beautiful- they taste delicious!!! Be sure to scroll through her spectacular masterpieces on her website and social media. All her work is stunning!