By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Northborough – Imagine the perfect cake for a wedding, birthday, graduation. Then describe it to the artist-bakers at CocoBeni Confections and they will create it.
This specialty bakery turns out cakes, cupcakes and other confections to make an occasion truly special. And a quick stop to pick up treats for the family will make an ordinary day special.
Jennifer Shay, who bought the store last summer after the death of founder Mary Beth Benison, describes her decision as “divine intervention. I fell in love with the business and the people who worked here.”
Jess Sutliff, head baker, and Rachel Cooke, baker, have continued with the store. Shay describes them as “artists who work in frosting and sugar,” and recommends customers look at their designs on the website, www.cocobeniconfections.com. “People can describe what they want, what the birthday person loves, or send a picture, and Jess and Rachel create a cake. They can do anything.”
For its cakes and cupcakes, CocoBeni uses an Italian meringue buttercream frosting, flavored with vanilla, deep chocolate, peanut butter, lemon, caramel or specialty flavors.
“It’s creamier and not as sweet as the usual buttercream,” Shay said. “People always comment on how good our cupcakes taste as well as how wonderful they look.”
Eight cupcake flavors are almost always available, including peanut butter cup, vanilla, mud pie, and carrot and red velvet cupcakes, the last two topped with cream cheese frosting. That standard list is supplemented with rotating flavors such as s’mores, salted caramel and chocolate coconut.
Custom flavors, combinations and designs, as well as mini cupcakes, are available as special orders.
A CocoBeni specialty is cupcake cakes, cupcakes grouped to make a shape then iced as one cake. They pull apart for easy serving. Shay recalled one done recently for a bridal shower in the shape of a wedding dress, decorated like the dress.
For weddings, CocoBeni makes traditional tiered cakes or will rent a tower stand for cupcakes, perhaps with a small cake on top, all decorated in the wedding’s colors and theme.
The wedding couple can come into the store for a tasting and choose the cake and frosting flavors they prefer, even a different cake flavor for each tier. Shay notes the earlier a couple comes in, the better, but CocoBeni can turn out a wedding cake quickly.
One couple recently ordered 300 of the bakery’s cake pops. Cake pops are made from cake, crumbled and mixed with frosting, formed into balls on a stick and dipped into chocolate or white chocolate, then decorated. Couples are also opting for dessert bars with a variety of smaller treats.
Shay noted that, for graduations, cakes or cupcakes can be frosted in school colors, and added that some of the store’s other confections, such as chocolate-covered Oreos or Rice Krispies treats, decorated sugar cookies or chocolate chip cookies sandwiched with frosting, hold up well at outdoor parties.
The store includes a party area. Children’s birthday parties can include decorating cupcakes to take home along with a birthday cake. Shay also noted the space is good for a girls’ night out or other casual adult get-together.
“We are also committed to making a difference in the community,” Shay said. “We want to give back and help with charitable events.”
CocoBeni features artwork from area schools and local artists on the walls of the store.
CocoBeni is located at 247A W. Main St. (Rt. 20) in Northborough, in the Rocky’s Ace Hardware shopping center. It is open from 2 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and is closed Sunday and Monday. For more information, visit the website, www.cocobeniconfections.com or call 508-393-2253.