Cake Decorating Workshop with Emily Nejad from Bon Vivant Cakes at World of Whirlpool

So last week I had a cool opportunity to be invited to be part of an intimate group of 12 to participate in a cake decorating workshop by Emily Nejad of Bon Vivant Cakes. Emily is known for her wildly creative, tall and lavish custom cake creations. I went into it with very little confidence in my cake decorating abilities and left with an adorable monster cake that I was proud to claim (and that my teenage boys enthusiastically devoured).

I love her story - how she wasn't formally trained as a pastry chef and that her life simply changed after she received a Kitchen Aid stand mixer as a birthday gift about five years ago. Since then she's built a reputation as one of the most sought-after custom cake creators in the city.

Emily did a great job in explaining step by step how to do each part and why not to do some things. We had the luxury of having the cakes already baked for us and the frosting prepared in advance and in pastry bags, so basically we just got to come in, drink mimosas and do the fun stuff.

Our cakes were yellow chocolate chip cakes and in between layers we added Oreo buttercream and filled in a layer of candy pieces from a candy bar Emily had laid out. My cake was stuffed with Reese's chunks, Reese's pieces, Oreo pieces, chunks of waffle cones, candy corns and a couple other things I can't quite remember. But it was loaded with chocolate between each of the three layers. Emily explained that people who say they don't like cake, probably just don't like that there's no texture to it, so she aims to incorporate texture into the cakes in different ways.

A team of Whirlpool employees helped us out with pointers on how to hold our frosting bags, how to smooth the frosting and how to get the cakes to balance with so many layers.

At the conclusion of our 3-hour workshop, we each left with an adorable monster that was finished off with shaggy buttercream icing, cookie eyeballs, sugary teeth, white chocolate coated waffle cones for horns and lots of sprinkles. I named mine Egor.

It was a fun group in our class - there were fellow bloggers, photographers, an actor, a chef, a Kitchen Aid employee and others. It was a lot of fun.

By the way, the cake tasted amazing! I've had some cakes that were absolute works of art covered in fondant, but were not as good to eat as they were to look at. This was the best buttercream frosting ever - not overly sweet, but so satisfying.

World of Whirlpool is a fun storefront on LaSalle next to the Chicago River that highlights their products and appliances, although none are sold there. It's an experiential space where you can learn about their products, get tips and life hacks and attend workshops like this one. Take a look at their calendar of ongoing workshops, most of which are just $25 per person. There's a wide variety - from knife skills to homemade pasta and bread workshops to yoga and cocktail nights.

Emily also does a number of cake making workshops and you can subscribe to her email list at to get updates on upcoming events.