Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Oprah. Martha Stewart. Mariah Carey. All were clients of Sylvia Weinstock, a Jewish cake designer who rose from humble Brooklyn roots, started a luxury cake-baking business at age 50 and became known across the globe as the “Queen of Cakes.”
Weinstock died on Monday, Nov. 22 at age 91, according to People magazine. A representative told the publication the famous designer died “peacefully in her home in Tribeca, surrounded by her loving family.”
Weinstock had been credited with revolutionizing the wedding cake industry, insisting the cakes taste as good as they look. Though she made cakes in shapes as varied as a Bentley automobile or Masada (“replete with an edible replica of the salty Dead Sea at its base,” according to the Times of Israel), Weinstock became most famous for her realistic floral designs. “What made her work really stand out was her incredible attention to detail,” reads the People obituary. “She learned to create her signature flowers by deconstructing real blooms, petal-by-petal, painstakingly reforming them in sugar dough by hand.”
It’s a remarkable journey for someone whose own Jewish wedding featured a store-bought honey cake. “We were poor, college kids,” Weinstock told The New York Times in 2019 about her 1949 wedding to Ben Weinstock. “We got married at a Jewish seminary in Manhattan in front of 20 people,” referring to the Jewish Theological Seminary. The couple was married for 69 years; Ben, an attorney, died in 2018 at the age of 93.