Meet the Chef – and Her Cakes!

by Carly Cerniglia

Hello! I’m Chef Carly, your friendly neighborhood baker and food lover. I’m a Fox Valley Technical College Culinary Arts and Hotel and Restaurant Management graduate who’s spent time learning and living in Neenah, Door County, and Milwaukee. I’ve been in the culinary industry for 12 years. This is my fifth year creating recipes for Appleton Monthly and all you dear readers, and it’s been so much fun. 


Ever wonder where a chef gets their passion? Creativity? What they do when they can’t be in a restaurant? 2020 left us culinarians in a weird position and many of us were put on hold for the year. So how did I stay occupied? I didn’t. I got very bored and was going stir crazy. So, I started making cakes out of my home kitchen! Why cakes? Because that’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid. I’ve come a long way from my Easy-Bake Oven, and that’s easier to say for more reasons than a full-sized oven doesn’t have a small hole you can drop your small cake pans down while trying to put them in the Easy-Bake (shout out to Mom for taking apart the Easy-Bake so many times).


Anywhoo, quarantine gave me the push I needed to finally start doing what I wanted to do with my career and skill set. I started making small 4” cakes and selling them online to my friends. Soon I had orders coming in for all sorts of baked goods, further allowing me to refine my skills. I started doing holiday decorated cookie orders and birthday cakes. Now I’ve done it all from 100+ royal icing cookies for marketing events to a 2-foot-tall-3-tier wedding cake. It’s been an amazing ride watching my skills improve and growing my little hobby business. 


Because of the freedom I have with orders, I can experiment with flavors and styles. I love getting creative with cakes and cookies. I look at baking as my art form and frosting and sugar as my medium. The part I love most is using seasonal fruits and figuring out how to incorporate them into a cake. My favorite frosting recipe to date that I have created is my Roasted Strawberry Buttercream. Bursting with strawberry flavor, but not too sweet, this is my most requested flavor. 


Thanks to Wisconsin’s Cottage Law, I can fuel my creative outlet and bring cakes and sweets to many happy customers. If you would like to contact me for some baked goods, you can find me on Instagram at: @chef.carly or email me at