This Mechanical engineer appears to have a bit of a double life, aeroplane parts designer by day cake designer by night...
Shirley Bensimon works full-time at Bombardier Aerospace; her specialty is systems installation and electrical wiring and she is currently designing parts for the new Global 7000 business aircraft. But get this she is superwoman, well that's what we think, evenings and weekends she works as a home baker at her growing business, Shirley Bensimon Cakes. Her cakes are stunning and she creates them for occasions such as weddings, birthdays and baptisms. Sometimes they are show-stopping three-tiered cakes which can take from 15 hours over three days to bake, assemble, frost and decorate; but she will often create chocolate covered cake pops, profiteroles or madeleines to go alongside her orders.
“I find the time because I am passionate about creating beautiful cakes and desserts — about the art of it, really,” said the married mother of two young children.She recently won first place in an online competition and got a total of 1,287 votes online. Her creation was a red velvet, cream-cheese-iced cake decorated whimsically with ruffled fondant, or sugar dough, for the celebration of Montrealer Savannah Miller’s baptism in December.
Nathalie Jarjour, Savannah’s mother, had been following her for a few months on Instagram — most of Bensimon’s business comes through word of mouth and she is active on Facebook and on Instagram — “and I messaged her and asked how I could get one of her beautiful cakes.” Not only did the cake look incredible but by the end of the party not a single crumb was left.
Although her engineering work is more technical than baking and requires a greater measure of meticulousness, Bensimon said she finds some commonalities between engineering and baking. “I like to design things and to create things,” she said, and both fields involve “making something out of nothing. Creating. I start with a blank slate.Sokthy Meas, section chief of engineering design to whom Bensimon and 18 other team members report at Bombardier, called her “very meticulous and very organized” on the job. Bensimon bakes and decorates late into the night while her husband puts the kids to bed, the television set tuned to a news channel at low volume as she enjoys the quiet, meditative aspect of the work. “You get into the zone,” she said. “It’s my way of disconnecting from my day job.” Although she has had no baking disasters to date, Bensimon’s biggest fear is dropping a cake. “There is always a sigh of relief once I have delivered a cake,” she said. A dedicated fridge in the garage at holds her sweet bakes until they are delivered and her husband, a bit of a joker, occasionally pretends to drop a cake as he carries it out to the fridge. There will be the sound of a heavy box dropping and he’ll cry out, “Oh, no!” She falls for it every time. This story first appeared on The Montreal Gazette