- April 6, 2011
Some people choose to express themselves artistically through painting, drawing, sculpting or performing.
As a professional performer and a skilled baker and cake decorator, Baldwin Park resident Erin Cline does all the above and more.
Cline owns Misfit Cakery, previously called Zombie Cakes Bakery, and through cake decorating, she discovered another creative outlet.
“I have always been an artist of some type — whether performance art or painting on canvas,” Cline says. “I grew up with a family who really enjoyed cooking and was quite good at it. Ten years ago, I started dabbling with making cupcakes. I started with flavors, and I realized that I did really enjoy it.”
Cline loved playing with flavors but also understood the importance of baking a quality cake. Tiered cakes can tend to be dry.
“There’s so many wonderful bakers breaking that sort of reputation, and I hope that I’m also one of them, because what’s inside is just as important as what’s on the outside,” she says.
After perfecting her baking methods, Cline wanted to focus on the design elements of cakes, including sculpting, fondant placement and decoration. Her specialty — and the inspiration behind the original name of Zombie Cakes Bakery — is Halloween- and horror-themed cakes.
“I noticed that what I really, really loved was the dead realism with sculpting these horror cakes — making things look gross and disgusting, but you bite into them, and they’re delicious,” she says. “I did a Leatherface cake where it was fondant — I work primary with fondant and molding chocolate and gum paste — and I would just sculpt Freddy Krueger hands or axes or pumpkins. It’s a canvas that you can eat, and it combines all of the things that I love — baking, painting and sculpting. All of my cakes are custom. I’ve never made the same cake twice.”
Cline grew up in a horror film-loving family and is still a massive fan of Halloween and horror films today.
As a 13-year Universal Orlando Resort employee, Cline has worked in Halloween Horror Nights for most of those years. In 2000, Universal created the icon Jack the Clown for HHN, and the character became wildly popular. In 2007, Universal developed a show called the Carnival of Carnage and introduced a new character — a sidekick of sorts to Jack the Clown — named Chance.
Cline earned the role of Chance the Clown, whose character she had a large part in creating. It was a successful show, and for the 25th anniversary of HHN in 2015, Jack and Chance — and therefore Cline — returned for a different show. In 2016, Chance became her own standalone icon.
“She was very popular, and it was humbling how popular she was,” Cline says. “They still remain popular among the Horror Nights fanbase. I had influence in the horror community, and I loved it so much and knew people in that community year-round. I have been doing horror-themed cakes year-round. I hope that I’m the person they will come to — not just because of the connection to HHN but because of my love of that genre.”
She did much of her research when learning to craft the perfect cake while at Universal. On her 30-minute breaks between shows, she browsed Pinterest and researched how to work with fondant, sculpting and design techniques, and more. Cline is a self-taught baker and didn’t go to school for culinary arts. She has an acting degree, and her cake business is secondary, but it’s something she loves.
“I would start teaching myself and watching online tutorials,” she says. “I started looking into Florida cottage law, which does allow you to bake and own a business out of your home (as) long as you’re not shipping or making things in bulk. I started with just friends’ parties. I’d throw large dinner parties or birthday parties, and I got better and better and honed the skills to the point where I felt I was ready to offer this as a service.”
Zombie Cakes Bakery launched three years ago Friday the 13th with a series of Stephen King-inspired cakes. Now, the brand has become Misfit Cakery to expand on Cline’s demographic. Not only does she create horror-themed cakes but also kids’ cakes, smash cakes and wedding cakes.
“I make cakes that bleed when you cut into them, and then I make beautiful, fun girly cakes with flavors (such as) pink lemonade and lavender cream,” she says. “I love the variety. I love the fact that one week I can make a gory, disgusting-looking cake, and the next week, I can sculpt magnolias and put it on a wedding cake, and the next week I can do a smash cake.
“It’s art — it’s hard to cut into when it looks pretty or it looks real — but it’s so fun,” she says. “I get so much joy out of it, and I really do want to expand to the Baldwin Park area, because I think the families here will love the things that I’m doing. We can create together. I like the challenge of being given an idea and being able to run with it, and I love the combination of sculpting and hand painting.”
Cline’s cakes are such a treat for both the palate and the eyes that they caught the attention of Food Network executives, who reached out to her about appearing on the Holiday Baking Championship. Although Cline was grateful for the offer, she knew the show focused on a variety of desserts rather than just cakes, and she declined.
As she rebrands and hopes to begin sharing her talents with residents in Baldwin Park, she’s grateful for the amount of support she has received.
“What brings me the most joy about this is when I see a design in my head, and it’s executed exactly the way I see it in my head,” she says. “I’m so excited for people to see them. ... I hopefully give people more than what they think they’re getting, because people don’t often know what you can truly do with cake.”