PHOTOS COURTESY/INSTAGRAM ALORIACAKESNYC
Anastasia Cunningham is one of St. John’s very own who earned a communication arts degree in an untraditional way and went on to start a specialty business of delicious, sweet treats.
Opening Aloria Cakes and Gourmet Sweets Inc. in June of 2015, Cunningham has been featured across various websites including The Knot, HuffPost and weheartastoria.com. She remains a specialty bake shop, as she is a one woman show who bakes, decorates and delivers each cake herself.
“Part of what I love about my business is that it is small, there is great attention to detail and everything is baked to order. I would never want to lose that,” she said.
Her passion for cake decorating drives her to create anything and everything specialty for weddings, birthdays or any special occasion. Not only can she create delicate art with her icing skills, it also tastes delicious.
“I have always loved crafting, making things by hand, and I honestly never thought I would be able to express myself artistically through sugar, but here I am!”
According to the testimonies on her website, (http://www.aloriacakesnyc.com), everything she creates is outstanding. “The cake was not only beautiful, but also delicious,” said Maria, a former client who ordered a birthday cake.
Starting with Greek cooking and baking at the young age of seven, Cunningham’s then interest in baking that blossomed into a career.
“I have always loved to cook and bake, and for years, I baked every Greek confection you can imagine and gave it out to neighbors, friends and family. Once I had children, I started making cakes for their birthdays, which got more and more elaborate as time went on,” she said.
Her biggest inspiration for all of her baked goods, Cunningham said is her children. “In fact, my business name, ‘Aloria’, is a combination of letters from all of their names.”
One could assume that the passion of a baker would be desserts and pastries. For Cunningham, desserts are not her only passion.
“My passion is creativity and giving people something that is not only beautiful to look at, but delicious as well.”
Whether it’s making a sculpture out of sugar, a figure out of fondant, or any other creative design made out of sugar, Cunningham will figure it out.
“I love what I do, and I hope that comes across,” she said. She is the “Cake Boss” of Astoria, Queens.
Cunningham’s communications arts degree helped her to hone her writing skills and taught her about marketing, which continues to help her with the business aspect of running a bakery.
“I did find that I was able to use a lot of the information I received while in college to help with the marketing aspect of my business,” she said.
Talking about her journey at SJU helps people understand Cunningham’s preserverance when it comes to accomplishing what she wants.
“My journey, [at SJU], was longer than average. I attended SJU for five years, and then left just short of graduating. Years later, I decided to finish what I started.”
After earning a degree, Cunningham has marked it as one of her biggest milestones. “Any time I talk about my career and life path, I tell people that I am proof that it is never too late to follow your dream.”
Cunningham added that current students should “always do your best, make the most out of what your given and don’t give up, when you find your passion, you have to go for it.”