Petal Dust Cakery brings new storefront to Glen Rock

by Yethmie Goonatilleke, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The day Petal Dust Cakery opened its doors in Glen Rock, a line of eager customers wrapped around the corner of the bakery and onto the sidewalk. With plenty of customers snacking on treats ranging from scones to cookies to French macarons, the soft opening of the bakery was a massive success — one that granted Petal Dust Cakery sincere support from the Glen Rock community.

Petal Dust Cakery, owned by Cristina Vasquez, had its soft opening (a test-run opening of a business prior to the grand opening) on Oct. 31, 2021. A week later, the bakery formally opened. The business’s name arose from a cake decorating element Vasquez frequently includes in her cakes — sugar flowers. When shaded with petal dust, the sugar flowers instantly come to life with a realistic appearance.

Although just arriving in Glen Rock as a store, Petal Dust Cakery has operated as a business for four years. Vasquez and her team rented commercial kitchen space in Glen Rock on Rock Road to complete custom cake orders, primarily serving the Bergen County area. With the addition of a brick-and-mortar store, the bakery was able to add a retail presence to the business rather than solely focusing on catering and special orders. It was also a relatively easy moving process to go from a catering business to a bakery with retail presence because of the proximity between the commercial kitchen space and actual bakery.

“We were down the street from where we were building out. So, we literally rolled our refrigerator, our mixers down Rock Road into the new space,” Vasquez said.

Even before owning the business and storefront, Vasquez found solace in baking, often using it as a source of relief in stressful situations. As a teenager, Vasquez’s then high school crush made fun of her in class one day, resulting in a sobbing and heart-broken Vasquez.

“I just remember going home, and I was bawling my eyes out, and then I just baked a cake and I ate like half of it. Ever since then, I baked when I was upset or nervous about something, or I started baking when I was happy,” Vasquez said.

She began to enjoy baking even more and at age 14, the Fair Lawn native walked into a bakery in Glen Rock asking for a job so that she could learn the basics of baking. As she was too young to be professionally hired at the time, Vasquez began working for free after school on weekends. Vasquez learned the fundamentals of how a bakery works and the basics — baking cakes, icing cakes, how to write on cakes properly.

“It all kind of started right in Glen Rock. From there, I’ve always worked in kitchens. I went to culinary school, but it went full circle back into Glen Rock.”

That experience was the ultimate driving force behind why Vasquez decided to pursue baking as a full time career. In avoidance of a mundane desk job, Vasquez attended Johnson & Wales University, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Baking and Pastry Arts and a minor in sommelier, the study of wine. Vasquez became a sous chef in Mystic, Connecticut and continued to work in other kitchens, hotels, and bake shops before starting Petal Dust Cakery.

Vasquez also participated in several Food Network shows, such as Spring Baking Championship and Big Time Bake. She’s also participated as a judge in shows such as Buddy vs. Duff. Although the competitions are often challenging, the experience and exposure Vasquez received from these shows has helped her tremendously as a baker.

Vasquez was stunned to see the amount of support shown towards the bakery, especially on the day of the soft opening. She hopes to further grow the bakery and improve as a baker.

“I want to grow [Petal Dust Cakery] to the point where it’s like a staple within the community. I want to be the [store] that when you come into Glen Rock, you have to go there.”