Sweet: Yum Bunnies Cakery Brings Sugary Delights to Belmont

By Alin K. Gregorian

Mirror-Spectator Staff

BELMONT, Mass. — Warning: If you have a sweet tooth and are on a diet, you may want to look away.

Not only does Yum Bunnies Cakery have a sweet name, it delivers the goods. The beautiful cakes and cupcakes made by Jessa Sahakian win customers over with their gorgeous looks and delicious flavors.

In fact, in 2013 and 2014, Yum Bunnies was voted tops in the Best Birthday Cake category by the Boston A-List.

It has also been featured in two movies shot in the area, “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” with Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner, “Pink Panther 2” with Steve Martin and “What’s Your Number?” with Reese Witherspoon.

The bakery also was one of the contenders on Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.”

“‘Cupcake Wars’ was fun for me but there were crazy things,” she said. “We had to close the shop for five days. It was a lot of work but it was really fun. It brought in a lot of good business from all over.”

Baking came easily to Sahakian from a young age. “I made desserts all the time,” she said. Her mother decided to sign her up for a pastry baking class while she was in middle school. She recalled that she was the only child in the room full of adults.

After graduating from high school, the Watertown native attended Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island, where she specialized in pastry and baking arts, receiving her bachelor’s degree.

Before starting her own bakery — or cakery — Sahakian, 31, worked for several years at Icing on the Cake in Newton. “I learned a ton of stuff,” she said. “Then I decided to branch out on my own. It was seven years ago in May” that she opened Yum Bunnies.

The name of the bakery comes from Sahakian’s childhood. “When I was a kid, I was a really picky eater and to make me more interested in food, my mom would say something is yum bunnies, meaning that it is tasty,” she recalled with a laugh. She and her friends and family came up with many, many potential names, but Yum Bunnies kept her attention and eventually became the name she picked.

“So far, everyone thinks it’s cute,” she said.

Yum Bunnies gets some walk-in customers looking for cupcakes. “We keep some cupcakes on hand,” she said, adding that the majority of her business comes from people who contact her looking to order cakes. She needs at least one week’s notice for one of her eye-catching cakes.

“They ask for something very specific,” she noted. Sometimes, though, they give her more leeway, just telling her of a theme or the guest of honor’s favorite animal or motif. “Most of the time they tell me the basis of the party and the theme and let me do what I do best,” she explained.

As for prices, they depend on the size and complexity of the cake.

Sahakian joked that she cannot draw on paper but that she expresses herself clearly with fondant and frosting.

Another popular thing for customers to do is to get Sahakian to recreate inside jokes. “They want that to make sense and I have to try to understand,” she said.

It can be tougher to recreate existing items such as cars or buildings, as they can be compared to the original.

As for flavors, vanilla is the big favorite, followed by red velvet.

Sahakian’s clients come from all over the greater Boston area, including Belmont and Watertown and nearby Arlington, Lexington and Cambridge, but also from the South Shore. “If they are looking for a cake and have heard the reviews, they travel to make sure they have the cake they want,” she said. “Lucky for me, word of mouth is pretty amazing.”

She also said that she was pleasantly surprised by the types of events for which she delivers cakes. “When I first opened, I didn’t know what would happen. It could have gone the wedding route but it didn’t. It has been more bar mitzvahs, showers, some corporate events and birthdays. If someone wants something over the top, they come here.”

She added, “It is great for me. It is more fun stuff. I get to sculpt something.”

Sahakian said she is planning to expand soon, since during busier times, she has had to turn away customers.

“This is a really, really happy job,” she gushed.

For more information, visit www.yumbunnies.com online or in person at 241 Belmont St.