What’s Makes Us Sweet
Welcome to our dreamy-delicious world of Sweet Cheeks Baking Co., a Women-Owned & Operated small business, baking cakes & desserts for weddings & special celebrations for San Diego & Southern California! It’s been incredible to be a part of our clients’ continuing celebrations for a decade already. Our clients become our friends, and we continue creating the showpiece cakes & goodies – not only for your weddings but for years of baby showers, 1st birthdays, graduations, and so on…
We’re not a storefront, so please be sure to call prior to popping by – we’d love to have a snack for you when you pick up your orders 🙂
Through the years, our favorite recipes have come from the strong women of our lives (moms, grandmas, aunts, and friends), and we’ve created others along the way. We incorporate top quality ingredients of local butter, cage-free local chicken eggs, local organic field lavender, whole wheat flour, flaxseed & wheat germ, farmers market berries, French nut & fruit purees, and single sourced/ sustainable chocolates.
Our style is CLEAN and elegant, organic & natural, fun & flirty (or “down-n-dirty,” depending on your needs). We customize for your event & taste, based on your vision & our artistic license. Our passion lies in EXCELLENCE of artistry, taste, and service. Our love is people-pleasing.
For more information & answers, please see our FAQs
“We LOVE What We Do!”
We LOVE what we do and what we produce, and it shows to our clients & industry friends through our amazing Cheeks team (sometimes it shows if we skip Pilates & workout classes too!) The name “Sweet Cheeks” came from a former nickname for Elaine years ago (HEY, it wasn’t THAT long ago…), and we felt it best represented our love of sweets & fun. We take orders seriously but not ourselves. “The Right Cheek” and “The Left Cheek” names were coined by Donna – “Elaine is always right, and I’m always left in the kitchen…” and thus the titles stuck.
Meet the Owner
Elaine Ardizzone, AKA “The Right Cheek” – Shares her creativity in style, flavors, and background. As a graduate of Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration and former restaurant owner, she has started up & operated businesses for three decades. A Certified Sommelier, Elaine earned the highest score of her class at the World Trade Center in 1995; her sense of taste goes beyond cake. Donna knows to accept this Right Cheek’s scattered brain waves, as they usually create something really great…despite the somewhat backwards way they come up. Rather obvious and extremely loyal, she is known for her Monday “Board meetings” (Paddleboard, that is) with industry friends and for doing whatever she can for her family, friends, employees, clients, and fellow vendors. And yes, the buck typically stops right here…
Our Client Relation Specialists
AKA Those with “Direct Dealings”
Call it HQ, or call it the Home, our office meets, greets, answers, and emails to hundreds of people daily and handles the endless stream of questions, order requests, budget issues, and last-minute beggars. These beauties entice the masses, manage so much, and please so many. These are the “voices” and the “faces” most seen at the bakery, the lovelies who take great care of details but aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.
Known for her incredibly CALM demeanor on the phone, even with telemarketers, Kayla keeps the office under control daily. Kayla is our wonderful Logistics Specialist. Using her ability to figure out ANYTHING technical when none of us cake-brains has a clue, she covers the gamut of helping with not only Administration, Client Guidance, 2nd Geek in Command, and perfect extra set of eyes for all random questions.
She is also our “House Vegan. Taste-Tester”
AKA “Wedgal,” Lauren is our key contact for clients planning their Big Day! She is our Instagram Designer and Wedding Guru, who patiently satisfies even the fussiest of clients with her grace & delicate hand to beauty. Lauren sought out an Admin position originally, having worked for Nordstrom’s (incredible training in Customer Service & attention to detail), but we ended up creating a new position for her due to her passion for the craft of BEAUTY – with cakes, dessert stations, and flowers.
I honestly could not have written a job post for the perfect candidate to join our Wedding & Events team than meeting Malissa Sanfilippo – Fine Artist, Mom, Cake Decorator, Multilingual Cultured Italian Lover, patient Yogi – What a blessing to have her walk into our lives suddenly!
Malissa has traveled the globe, from her roots in San Diego to experience in NYC & Boston to cake design in Raleigh, NC and Charleston, SC, she has EVEN lived in Verona, Italy, where she immersed herself in the Italian arts and culture and taught English to pay the rent – we certainly relate to THAT dream! Malissa is a native San Diegan with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the USC; her background in cake design, painting, Italian pottery, and Italian glass blowing makes her a unique addition to our team.
Now that her (ummm, Sicilian) husband has retired from professional soccer, and her two boys are school age, she is back to focus more on the bakery world!
From Malissa: “My absolute favorite thing about the cake world is that it is always changing. From an artistic viewpoint and someone who loves to learn, I find the trends to be fascinating! It keeps things exciting. Makes the job that much more enjoyable. My favorite foods are sushi & northern Italian delights, like risotto & gnocchi. Hobbies include yoga and painting.
My dream is to one day own something small in Italy… Even a studio apartment, just so I can go back whenever!”
You said it, Malissa, we couldn’t agree more with that plan! Grazie, Bella, for joining the Cheeks!
Baking & Production Team
The HEART of our world starts in the kitchen. They mix, whip, fluff, cream, create, build, pipe, and master all sense of flavor & design challenges…through heat, chill, urgency, and laughter.
Raised in a family of classic bakers and a wedding cake mom, Jeff then trained and worked in United States Air Force for 20 years. Now he is our Executive Chef & Chief Flavor Master, lucky for us! He steps into every job with enthusiasm and ideas – OH, how valuable that is, finding solutions with the COOLEST methods of baking greatness! He creates delicious fun, whether he’s sculpting a chocolate Yoda, suggesting time-saving methods for buttercream, or torching mini lemon meringue pies.
Bring it on, PA! Wow, another Philly-bred baker, Noel is now our 3rd! Noel is our new Kitchen Manager! He has stepped in with so much talent, so much varied Food & Music experience, and the perfect smarmy humor to keep us all laughing… He’s toured the country as a bassist in numerous bands (we’ve even gotten to see him perform live here in San Diego!) But Noel’s true loves really shine when he talks about his fantastic wife Kate, his Award-Winning BBQ Team, and of course his memorable upbringing by his wonderful baking-genius of a mom (AKA “Franny”), known for the pies, cakes, and custard cream puffs that they baked together since he was a little boy. We adore you, Noel, and we are proud that you represent us both as a baker and on our wholesale deliveries!
Baking Princess & Cupcake Embellisher Mel carries pressure with the grace of an angel – unflinching and cool, never visibly phased by high stress orders and last minute add-ons. She masters every technique that we ask her to learn and then presents it to clients with a smile! There is no job she won’t tackle…especially if it allows her to wear Mouse Ears.
What a joyful soul Julie is! “Family” keeps her life whole, and she is blessed to have her two grown sons nearby. She brings that loving passion to our kitchen as well, and we are so happy to have her on our baking team. A former aerobics instructor (she used to kick butts after watching Southern cooking shows), BONGO player (shhhh, no one here knows that yet), and Chef Instructor, she has many talents…oh, and did we mention she recently piloted a small plane from here to Calabasas? Julie is new to San Diego, coming to us from OC, and she’s loving all the great hiking, kayaking, and restaurant-hunting. We’re super excited to see her already shining with her sweet & maternal nature as our newest instructor for our kids’ classes… Go Julie!
Design & Decor Team
“I started decorating cakes after being inspired from the show Cake Boss when I was 13 years old. I knew I loved art, and grew up cooking in a very Italian house hold, so my eyes lit up when I saw that I can make art out of food for a living!”
A gorgeous woman herself, Christina makes everything more beautiful with her impeccable attention to detail! Art runs in her family, and she learned the beauty of painting & drawing at a very young age from her talented Grandma. You can see her skilled handiwork in many of our cakes through painted letters, florals, animals, and full watercolor art.
A native New York Italian, she loves all food. Any food. Every food. (Just one more reason we love Christina). She stays a lean, mean fighting machine by hiking local waterfalls, weight lifting at the gym, and playing beach volleyball. (Of course, she wouldn’t be a Décor Cheek if she didn’t also spend time cuddled up with her fat cat Diesel! – what IS IT with all the cat-lovers here???)
“I love the cake world – using a client’s ideas and thoughts to create an edible masterpiece for their big day is extremely rewarding! We get to make someone’s most special day even more intimate.”
Cali natives are oddly rare around here, and we found one! This UC Berkeley alum has been baking for decades (clearly because she started as a newborn) and started really fantastic cake decorating in SD after great baking experience in Santa Cruz. Britt paints incredible watercolor, kicks butt on Nintendo, and loves rock music, Star Wars + all things SciFi. She’s played Dungeons & Dragons all her life and continues this sort of brainiac vision every day at work with us now…. And how grateful we are to have her!
I haven’t yet nicknamed Britt myself, but starting with our Decorating Team for this 2019 season, she comes to us with a fantastic humor as well as a gifted & artful hand for cakes. She has already proven herself a worthy recipient of any fun, silly, nerdy nickname – and apparently her dad beat me to the punch by calling her “Hambone” since childhood….LOVE it.
To see Britt’s INSANELY cool Etsy store of her self-designated “geeky” artistic work, here’s her link: www.etsy.com/shop/pixelperks.
Boston coming in STRONG!!! Meet Diane, a recent transplant from the Boston area (and the kick-ass accent to prove it) and an awesome addition in the summer of 2018 to our Cheeks team. She’s barely 5’3” and skinny as a rail, but don’t kid yourself…this lady can lift the heaviest of cakes and proves it now every weekend at wedding deliveries. A trained powerlifter, she can pick up not only the 40# cake but the wedding coordinator with it! Diane adds speed, smarts, and smiles to our kitchen – she uses similar methodology to her work with cakes as she does during her lifting sessions. Both require focus, dedication, and practice to be perfect. You can find her most weekdays cutting out & filling cakes, then on weekends meeting with clients and setting up & beautifying those big, yummy cakes and dessert stations. We couldn’t be happier to have her here! What a fantastic new member of Team Cheeks!
OUR FOUNDERS – Elaine & Donna, AKA The Right & Left Cheeks
We started this company on a shoestring budget in early 2007, as two friends who had cooked & baked for as long as we can recall standing upright. We used a friend’s apartment to test recipes, next rented space in a pretzel bakery, and finally found our own kitchen, where we’ve been ever since.
The Rest of our Team (T.R.O.O.T.)
We would be remiss to forget the man & his company www.INFIX.us who helped make 2016 a much brighter year than anticipated…thank you, Andy, for showing us the path to scrapping all those silly menu items that were killing us!
The Cheeks in Pictures
OUR SILLY STORY ON FOOD NETWORK finding us:
Seriously, my cell phone rang, and I thought it was a joke. “WHO is this?” I kept asking…not believing the person on the other line who kept saying, “blah, blah, blah,…TV Producer…blah, blah…FOOD NETWORK…” My cell # was of course not listed, so it was a shock + a half! Apparently, they’d seen us present at the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival and win “BEST DESSERT OF THE FEST” during our first month in business. I’d forgotten that our hanging banners at the booth listed our only phone number = my cell.
We were asked to be on the “Road Tasted with the Neelys” series, which focused on companies around the US who ship their products… Well, we not only didn’t ship but didn’t even have a website yet! But who says “NO” to FOOD NETWORK??? So we said we’d get them the info they needed ASAP. This involved building a website WITH a storefront page that WORKED (a FREE one, since we had no money) as well as creating PACKAGING for these said items we planned to ship…What the heck did we even make that we could ship across country without it dying in transit???
Thus the Chewy Chocolate Cheeks were born. When the show aired, we didn’t even have the packaging yet, so when my cell phone started ringing at 4am with the orders from the east coast viewers, I started to panic. Scoopers unite! We started scooping those cookies and packing them in vacuum bags, hoping that we could fend off the orders until the packaging came through. Well, it all sorted itself out, and we got through the madness.
After that, we were called by FOOD NETWORK for a few years once to participate in “Cupcake Wars!” We aren’t much for TV competitions, but Krista asked if she could step up and do it if we got the request again…the rest is history, as many people continue to appear in our “Appointment Only” door, just to say hi, ask to meet Krista, and buys some cupcakes!
Absolutely, Positively, Unbelievably,
The Best Cake Around