Frances Kuyper

Frances Kuyper, more commonly known as The Cake Lady, revolutionized the cake-decorating world. Born in 1918 near Chicago, her fame began as a singing act in vaudeville with her sister Charlotte called “The Singing Schultz Sisters.” After getting married, Kuyper moved to Los Angeles in 1948 where she mowed lawns in order to buy baking ingredients to make cakes for the children in her neighborhood. From there, she worked in Torrance Bakery before opening her own cake decorating business. Her experience on vaudeville laid the groundwork for her outgoing and quirky personality that captured the audience of the Howie Mandel Show in the late 1990′s. Her appearances on the show as a special correspondent led to a variety of commercials and advertisements as well as an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Kuyper is most known for pioneering the use of airbrushing for cake decorating. The use of an airbrush allowed her to more accurately and realistically capture faces and flowers and other artistic elements. She taught classes in eight different countries and almost all 50 states. Kuyper also founded the California Cake Club in 1980. Membership is open to cake-decorators and enthusiast of all skill levels as the mission of the club is to increase awareness of cake-decorating and confectionery arts.

The Cake Museum began in Kuyper’s garage. She would invite cake decorators to teach classes and, during the time they were there, they were given the opportunity to decorate a cake, which she then displayed in the museum. The museum contained 150 cakes featuring professional decorating bakers and artists from around the world. Additionally, there were nearly 100 videos that demonstrated the methods of cake decorating used in different countries as well as over 500 decorating books.

The large collection of specimen cakes were rescued and preserved after Ms Kuyper passed away by Susan Holtz, the director of the Culinary Department of the Occupational Center in the Division of Adult and Career Education of the Los Angeles Unified School District.  Susan donated the entire collection to SoFAB in September, 2012. See the Kuyper Cake Collection, presented by Domino Foods, Inc.

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