When folks discuss foodie towns in New York, White Plains doesn’t roll off the tongue, but there is some serious talent on the rise around these parts and you are about to learn about one.
Jade Goodman bakes for smiles. When asked why she got into baking cakes, she simply said, “I love birthdays! I love to see the smile on someone’s face when they see their cake.”, but she didn’t begin baking competition-worthy cakes until only a few years ago.
Jade grew up in Dexter, Iowa. Population 575. She was one of 52 people in her graduating class. “It was a super small town. Everyone sort of had their place, and I was the fat kid who made jokes.” She weighed 270 lbs at her heaviest. The story is not that Jade had an addiction to eating sweets. That would be too easy. From about age 16, Jade was simply the designated birthday cake maker for anyone around her. She didn’t make gourmet cakes or beautiful or difficult cakes. She made box cakes and every time, she experienced pure happiness from seeing people enjoy them.
It wasn’t until college that Jade would lose the weight and make her first, “wow” cake. Jade had been comfortable being the heavy funny person in her small town, but she decided she no longer wanted to be that person in college. Her mother and stepfather teamed up with her and together they took on the Atkins diet. Jade shed the pounds over a period of a few years and during this time, she also challenged herself with making more creative cakes and continued to be motivated by smiles.
Jade’s first “cool” cake was a laptop cake for her college boyfriend. Her second creative cake, “The bar scene from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”,was a flop, but her third, a dragon cake for a friend’s boyfriend was the a-ha moment that awakened her inner cake maven. When asked if she had an art background growing up, she answered, “Not really. I was always interested in art but never thought that I was really good at anything until I started making cakes. In high school, I was very studious – my sister would always make fun of me because I would be disappointed if I got a B on something.” However, Jade’s interest in art was sparked by “an amazing art teacher.” “For Mr. Claire’s 3D Design class, I carved a model bathroom entirely out of bars of soap. I made individual tiles, a sink, toilet, and bath. I even made grout in between the tiles. It was so much fun and so ‘out-of-the-box.’ I just loved it.” This attention to detail would surface again years later.
How was Westchester lucky enough to land Jade? After college, she followed a boyfriend to White Plains, which compared to Dexter, was a big city. She worked in marketing and two years later, the relationship that brought her here ended. She was convinced that there was no reason to stay in White Plains, so she headed home to her parents for a week to figure out her next step. When she returned, her best friend declared his love for her. In an “Elaine from Seinfeld” moment, she practically shoved him away, but he confessed that from the minute she had left until the moment she returned, he had felt completely lost without her. Tissue anyone?
Realizing that there was no one that she trusted more or got along better with in the world, she decided to give it a chance. Now happily living with her best friend and in love, Jade continued her hobby of making cakes for friends and co-workers that were tailored to their passions and personalities. She made a sushi cake for one and a Star Wars cake for another and each cake was outdoing the one before. She never studied baking, but has taken a few workshops here and there to hone specific skills like cake carving and making Swiss meringue buttercream. Jade has a particular talent for creating characters from fondant that appear like they could walk off the cake. She conquers cake-tutorials with the ease of a seasoned pastry chef and has created several original cake-scapes that make cutting the cake a challenge, mostly because art is difficult to destroy.
Jade still works in marketing and shares a place with her three loves: her fiancé, Mike, her dog, Astro, and her cat, Wendell in Battle Hill. She doesn’t simply dream about becoming a cake-maker full-time, because just like deciding to lose 130 lbs, Jade Goodman doesn’t waste time dreaming.