Dawn Pologruto said she was desperate. Her 3 year old son was allergic to raw eggs and his birthday was approaching. How could she order a cake and not allow the birthday boy to have a taste? Wandering into Locust Valley’s Wonderful Wedding Cakes, she asked co-owner Kristan Newman if she could help.
“She was so kind,” said Pologruto, who lives in Laurel Hollow. “Kristan really is a wonderful person. She made a cake for us without eggs and it was delicious.”
Wonderful Wedding Cakes won first place in Bethpage Federal Credit Union’s Best of Long Island in the category of Best Wedding Cakes for 2021. The competitive business awards program accepts votes cast by the public for their favorite people and businesses.
This isn’t the first win for the custom cake shop. Wonderful Wedding Cakes was also awarded second place in 2012 and first in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 for Best Wedding Cakes.
Specializing in couture cakes, cupcakes, cake pops and favors made to order, the custom cake shop only uses the finest imported chocolates and natural ingredients in its baking, which is always from scratch. A limited number of orders are booked each week so every cake can receive the individual attention to detail it deserves. And Kristan, 41, strongly believes that every cake should taste as good as it looks.
There are photographs on the Wonderful Wedding Cakes website of beautiful wedding cakes with all types of trimmings and simpler cakes too. Customers tend to return, said Kristan, 41.
For eight years, she and her wife Jennie Newman, 43, have continued to make cakes for the Pologruto family. One year Dora came in cake-form to one of the children’s birthday parties, as did Super Mario a few years later. The three Pologruto children have had magical birthday parties each year, which is all due to the Newmans, Pologruto said.
“Kristan has made so many cakes for us,” Pologruto said. “She makes all of my children’s favorite characters.”
Kristan’s love for cake design began when she attended Glen Cove High School. She worked at the local Carvel, where the manager immediately recognized Kristan’s talent. She loved the job so much that she continued to work there once she attended Johnson and Wales University in Providence, R.I., driving home on the weekends.
“They let me do what I wanted,” she explained. “I would make little snowmen for the flying saucers and made all kinds of decorations on the ice cream cakes. They got fined, but the owner paid it because I got him so much business.”
After earning an associate degree in baking and pastry arts, Kristan returned to Glen Cove and started working at Kakes By Karyn in Glen Head, first as the assistant pastry chef and later, as executive pastry chef.
When Kakes By Karyn closed in 2002, Kristan was hired at the Metropolitan, a wedding venue in Glen Cove, as its executive chef. She met Jennie in 2007 and fell in love. The couple, who live in Glen Cove, married in 2011.
Kristan asked Jennie, whose background was as a makeup artist, to help her at the Metropolitan in 2010. It was around that time that Kristan said she began to dream of owning her own cake shop.
Jennie liked working at the Metropolitan. “It was second nature to me,” she said. “Cake decorating is very different then makeup, but it’s very creative and I get to sculpt.”
Admitting that she always liked playing with Play Doh, Jennie compared cake decorating to her childhood passion. Soon she cut her hours working in the makeup industry to be at the Metropolitan more often.
When the couple opened Wonderful Wedding Cakes in 2014 they were busy, since they had a dedicated following at the Metropolitan. They are also able to obtain many new customers from word of mouth and social media, Kristan said.
The couple work well together, both said. “It’s easy to do this because we get along,” Jennie said. “We don’t even have to talk sometimes because we know what the other person is thinking.”
Kristan bakes everything and decorates the buttercream cakes and Jennie decorates the fondant orders. Both said they put a great deal of thought into what they create.
“I think a lot about a cake before I start,” Kristan said. “I consider what the cake should feel like. I enjoy the creative aspect of this, taking someone’s idea and creating a cake based on the theme of their event. Sometimes people come in and know what they want but the best cakes come out when I have full reign of the cake.”
Jennie said she too thinks before she begins to decorate. “When someone tells me of their idea I make a scene in my head and I make the details, like little flowers,” she said. “I prefer to work my own idea, for someone to let me do what I want. People usually love what I make.”