This isn’t your average baking competition, and Carencro baker Nina Marie Charles is up to the challenge.
Netflix’s newest cooking series, “Is it Cake ?,” is showcasing the trend that took social media by storm: hyper-realistic cakes that look like everyday items Carencro baker Nina Maria Charles is one of nine bakers selected to participate in the show. What started as a small passion project has landed her national recognition.
Born in Lafayette and raised in Carencro, Charles grew up liking cakes but not considering herself much of a baker. Some of her fondest baking memories came around her birthday when her mother and aunts would bake cakes from scratch. When her brother had a child she wanted to continue that family tradition.
“My brother had his first child, my godchild, and I wanted to recreate that kind of memory for him,” Charles explains. “I went ahead and (baked a cake) for his first birthday. And it was an absolute disaster! It was embarrassing.
Acadiana Makers:This Carencro woman works at a bank by day and bakes cakes by night
Food finds:Looking for vegan or gluten-free options in Lafayette? Try Karma Collective
“The next year, I was like, ‘I’m going to redeem myself. I’m going to study and figure out how to do fondant cakes and all this other stuff.’ I did a Snoopy cake and it came out amazing. I posted it and everybody started asking and it became a business. “
Prior to baking, Charles studied fashion design at the Art Institute of Dallas. Her love of fashion and understanding of textures and materials transferred seamlessly to baking for her. Excited to express a new side of her creativity, she began taking orders and creating cakes that could fool most onlookers.
Being on TV was not a goal for Charles going into the year, but she was excited when approached with the opportunity. The filming of the show lasted about four weeks and she was excited to have her unique shoe collection featured alongside her amazing cakes. While filming she was happy to meet an actor from her favorite show.
“My favorite part was meeting everyone,” Charles said with a smile. “Great celebrity judges and making the long-lasting friends that I have now. One of the episodes I actually competed in had one of the actors from ‘Narcos,’ my favorite shows and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh!’ I was such a fangirl then. “
Her business, Nina Bakes Cakes, offers a variety of desserts including wedding cakes, tasting boxes, cookies, decorated cakes, cake bouquets, cake bowls and hyper-realistic cakes. When she is not baking Charles runs her food truck Nina Creole, known for the creole eggrolls and lobster corndogs. Cake orders are currently booked out the next five months but future orders can be placed on her website ninabakescakes.com.
All eight episodes of “Is It Cake? “Will be available to stream Friday on Netflix.
You can connect with Charles online Instagram @ninabakescakes or @ninacreole, Facebook ninamcharles or NinaBakesCakes and TikTok @ninamariacharles
Connect with WaTeasa Freeman by email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wateasaf