Is It Cake? Groucho’s Deli Finds Out!
A local baker in Columbia, SC made fans and friends alike do a double-take when her Groucho’s Deli sandwich cake showed up on social media this October.
Connie Robinson, owner of C.R. Sweets and a baker with 15 years of experience, moved to South Carolina from Pennsylvania two years ago. “It was a little rough to be honest, not knowing anyone down here. We came down here knowing my one cousin. Coming from Pennsylvania where we had a lot of following, a lot of friends, a lot of people to, you know, come in and check out the business and order from us. We didn't have that anymore, so it was a little rough.”
Social media has been big for Connie as a baker in a new town. This cake was a unique request from a neighbor who found her on Facebook. “The client’s name is Kimberly. Very, very nice lady, She reached out and asked if I would be able to make a cake that looked like her son’s favorite sandwich from Groucho’s Deli. So I was honest with her, I said I would love to try this but I have never ever ever made a cake that looks like a sandwich or looks realistic at all. My cakes have been, you know, circle and that’s it! It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, to be honest… Once we got the cake sculpted, putting everything else on the product made it easier.”
Even the marketing department at Groucho’s Deli was fooled. The cake, seen here, is a replica of the Big Diesel, a limited-edition dipper found only at the Sparkleberry location. The sandwich is vanilla cake covered in buttercream and topped with hand-painted fondant icing. All of the detailed features like meat and cheese were constructed from individual pieces of fondant. The Formula 45 sauce was a buttercream and sprinkles confection paired with a fondant pickle, seemingly the only clue that something in the photo was constructed. What took the longest, however, were the custom chips.
“The chips probably took me maybe an hour and that's with baking included. It was 2 sheets of rice paper, painted first and thrown in the oven for about 10 minutes. When it comes out, it's dry and then you cut the shape of chips right out of that rice paper. And then I just took a little bit of brown for the edges, and the whole time I was looking at actual chips trying to match the details.”
Ultimately, baking is a family affair that started when Connie’s [now 16 year old] son was just one. “His first birthday I decided, you know, and I'm just going to make his cake. I'm pretty creative. I think I can do this and so I made my first cake for his 1st birthday. I have a big family so anytime that the kids had a birthday party or baby shower I would just bake the cakes.”
“I realized it was more than just something I wanted to do for fun. And I figured I would put it out there. People were enjoying the cakes on social media so I was like you know what? I think I can do this as a business, so yeah. Yeah!”
As someone with a similar start, our founder, Harold Miller, would likely agree.