Known as Tri-C’s “cake boss” during her time in the culinary arts program, December graduate Shant’e Dunton already runs her own cake business out of her Cleveland home. Simply Cakes by Shant’e produces custom cakes for a long list of clients, some as far away as the East Coast. “I’ve baked cakes for weddings, graduations, birthday parties, you name it,” Dunton said. “The designs have been a little bit of everything. I’ve done a blue jean cake, a liquor bottle cake, shoes, animals. I even traveled to Maryland to make a cake designed to look like a Louis Vuitton handbag. I try to draw inspiration from everything around me.”
Dunton earned an Associate of Applied Business in Culinary Arts degree from Tri-C, as well as certificates for professional baking, personal chef and professional culinarian. Her top priority now is to get her business plan finalized, with the goal of moving into a storefront space. “Right now, it’s a home-based business,” she said. “In order to grow, I’ll need a bigger space and employees. Five years from now, I’m hoping I have an actual business space and a staff of maybe six to ten people.”
Thanks in large part to her Tri-C education, Dunton is confident she can attain those goals. “I learned a lot in my classes,” she said. “Everything from how to purchase ingredients to kitchen safety, to how to make a kitchen sanitary. I gained so much knowledge during my time at Tri-C.”
Together with Tri-C culinary arts professor Maureen Leonard, Dunton was recently invited back to the Fox 8 Morning Show to demonstrate how to decorate a chocolate cake with raspberry filling and vanilla buttercream frosting. A recording of the segment, and the recipe, can be found on the Fox 8 Cleveland website. It was their second visit to Fox 8 - Leonard and Dunton first appeared on the show last October with a Halloween-themed recipe.
Dunton is grateful to Tri-C’s culinary arts instructors for their willingness to go the extra mile for their students. “The teachers at Tri-C are amazing,” Dunton said. “I’ve worked very hard, but I’m also grateful for all the help I’ve gotten along the way and especially to the culinary program at Tri-C. The people in that program are a big reason why I’ve already made it this far.”