NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- What started as a maternity leave diversion has led to a "batter-ful" business for one New Rochelle mom.
Jaclyn Dinko started baking five years ago soon after having her twins. A registered nurse by trade, she decided to recreate her grandmother's long held family recipes -- into cupcake form. Her point of difference: unusual flavors like pineapple coconut, Italian rainbow cookie, cannoli and peanut butter cup.
Next, she started experimenting with cakes, and soon after, enrolled in classes with some of the top artists in the industry.
Dinko, who for the most part is self-taught, now owns Cake'D OUT Creations, which specializes in classic party and wedding cakes. Specialty cakes -- think elaborate, detailed fondant cakes -- are among her favorite things to bake. "I absolutely love sculpting and creating figures," said Dinko.
She also bakes dream cakes for families affected by childhood illnesses, through a non-profit called Icing Smiles. And, she donates cakes and baked goods locally, as well as annually to "Cupcakes for a Cure" held at The Westchester and benefiting the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society.
"I'm a cancer survivor and a nurse...so being able to give back, help others, and bake a difference is one of the main reasons I love what I do," said Dinko.
And, If all goes according to plan, she hopes to spread the love more with her own cake studio, ideally in the New Rochelle area (she is presently shopping for places). Her goal is to have a space to sell her cupcakes and cakes, but also teach kids and adults how to make their own desserts and cakes. (She presently teaches private and group lessons, along with teaching children's baking classes at Annas Treehouse in New Rochelle.)
"I was born and raised here and I've received so much support from our community," she said. "I would love to do this not just for me, but for all of New Ro."
Watch her in motion when she, along with friend and fellow baker Natasha Jagopat from Bake My Day NYC , compete on the Food Network's "Cake Wars," on Monday, Oct. 17 at 9 p.m.
Go to www.facebook.com/CakedOC/ for more information.