By Travis S. Taylor
July 15, 2016
Birthdays, wedding receptions and many other milestone special occasions are celebrated with cake, and have been since ancient times. I’ll save the history lesson for another time and avenue. Today, allow me to share with you a recent interview granted by Mark Lotti, who is now celebrating the 30th anniversary of his company.
Mark Lotti, baker and proprietor of Classic Cheesecakes & Cakes, is a multi-decades trusted partner to Affairs to Remember Caterers. He wasn’t always a baker, though.
When asked how he got started, Mark said, “Quite by accident. My former career was in computer software for the hospitality industry. When I moved back to Atlanta in 1990, I was helping a friend who owned the business and was working it alone. The company was originally started as a wholesale cheesecake business—launched at the height of wedding season in June 1986—selling to restaurants and caterers. Today, I’m the sole owner.”
Mark’s reputation for magnificent wedding cakes rivals that of even baker-to-Hollywood-stars Silvia Weinstock in New York City. On a local note, Mark created the wedding cake for our colleague Jennifer Farmer, Assistant General Manager here at Affairs to Remember.
Jennifer and husband Thomas celebrated their 10th anniversary in 2015. More than ten years ago, Mark created for them a multi-layer cheesecake wedding cake that was covered with chocolate frosting and decorated with fall colors and fresh fruit cascading down the cake.
Jennifer said, “A chocolate-frosted cake was a very ‘forward-thinking’ cake at the time. It wasn’t the traditional white wedding cake, but it was exactly what I asked of Mark. I was married in autumn, so I wanted fall colors. And it was massive—it fed 300 guests! Not only that, it wasn’t on a traditional round table. It was centered on a six-foot table that served as a dessert buffet, filled with other sweet treats.”
Mark tells me that the top three flavors requested from clients are classic vanilla, amaretto and “anything chocolate!” Jennifer’s favorite was the amaretto layer of her wedding cake.
Mark admits that his forte is an elegant, highly detailed, classic wedding cake, typically white, ivory or blush in color scheme, but he’s no stranger to bright, fun colors or being wholly inventive, especially when it comes to birthday and grooms cakes.
While I didn’t see an armadillo groom’s cake in Mark’s photo collection, akin to the one many of us know from Steel Magnolias, I did see, to name a few, practically every conceivable cake interpretation of golf, a selection of stunning humidor cakes and an awesome Millennium Falcon cake that Han Solo himself couldn’t resist diving into at hyperspace speed.
When asked about his ‘cake philosophy’, Mark said “It’s all in the details…details, details, details. And our unique ability to create beautiful cakes out of cheesecake! We make as many cheesecakes as we do cakes. The key is to listen to the client.”
What is Mark’s favorite cake that he has made? “My all-time favorite was one I did in 2000 for Backstreet Boy Brian Littrell and his beautiful wife Leighanne. It was a labor of love, and by ‘labor’ I mean that it took three months to create the details for the cake!”
What’s in a Classic Cheesecakes & Cakes cake? Mark tells me that his shop is a scratch-house—he makes everything from fresh ingredients. Mark says that although it may be more expensive to cook from scratch, boxed cake never makes its way into his shop. The difference “is like night and day!”
Also, the intricate detailing you see on Mark’s cakes is all created by hand; he does not use printed icing sheets. Any artwork you see is drawn by hand, and if it’s something unique, he will base the rendering on (lots of) photos provided by the client.
Speaking to his reputation as one of the country’s finest cake artisans, his clients never see their cakes in-process. After the initial sketches Mark provides, the client’s first glimpse at their confectionery masterpiece is on the day of their special event, often at the same time they join their guests to celebrate the occasion!
That same kind of trust is why Mark Lotti, and Classic Cheesecakes & Cakes, has been a valued partner of Affairs to Remember’s for twenty-five years.
By Travis S. Taylor
Director of Communications
Affairs to Remember Caterers
Travis manages the Communications Department for Affairs to Remember Caterers, which includes internal and external communications, media relations, website, Social Media and other Communications-related responsibilities. Travis holds a Bachelor Degree in Technical Management with a concentration in Web Graphic Design and he is a prolific blogger.