The Sweetlife

John Harrison

Inside a magnificent house in Rosinka, a large group of women and children are waiting anxiously to be invited in to sample cupcakes and cakepops made by hand by ‘The SweetLife Moscow’. Fortunately, there was no delay, and bang on time tens of people crammed into Angela Leveridge’s kitchen to behold a truly amazing sight

On the kitchen table was a universe of multi-coloured cupcakes laid out carefully by Jennifer Sherman and Oxana Donskaya. Small and large, butterfly cakes, cake balls (called cakepops), gourmet cupcakes and many other versions of this great culinary tradition which can be traced back to the 18th century and was part of many of our childhood experience. Some of the tops were sprinkled with edible glitter and decorated with fondant stars. In between the trays were displays of cakepops, some created in the form of Rudolph the reindeer, others as ghosts and pumpkins. A treat for the children whose short height gave them an advantage in grabbing as many goodies as they could whilst slightly more inhibited parents looked on. Parents ate surreptitiously, taking the cupcakes out of the general arena and demolishing them in private or small groups, and then carefully came back for more.

Meanwhile a young boy over by the window gave his full attention to digesting a delicious collection of cakes and pops. He wasn’t worried about being on a diet. Jennifer Sherman and Oxana Donskaya, the two creative geniuses behind this project told me how this was all put together. I decided to do something that I am skilled in and passionate about, now that my youngest child has started detsky sad, said Jennifer Sherman in a beautiful Lancashire accent. “I’ve lived in Moscow for five years, I decided to set up this business with my friend and now business partner Oxana. I’ve done courses in the UK in baking and home culinary, then when I had my third child I was thinking of doing something from home, but it was impossible because I was too busy. Now she is almost 3, the timing has worked out and everything has fallen into place perfectly.”

Oksana added: “I also am a mum with two children. I spent about ten years working in offices as a marketing and PR manager for Russian and Western companies. Then I decided to change my office job to something that I really like to do. I took a lot of cooking classes with world famous pastry Chef’s in France, Italy and the US. So cooking and baking is my passion. We feel very fortunate to be able to work together doing something we love and being part of our customers special occasions!” A publisher friend who runs a culinary magazine lets them use his kitchen. “We also experiment with new recipes at home and design and create new ideas for our fondant work,” said Jennifer. “All the details are hand-made, they all have to be created and dried, and this takes a lot of time. We are constantly learning,” she continued.

Most of the special ingredients that make these cakes particularly tasty are imported. “We import from the States and the UK. We buy quite a lot of basic ingredients here, but all the ingredients that we can’t get here we have to import in. For example, Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, gum paste, gel colours and fondant We like to have a special fondant that we work with. All the colours that we use are GM free and Kosher; we like to make everything as pure as possible for the children to eat.” Said Jennifer

Oksana explained that they don’t require a shop, as just about everything they need to do in terms of marketing and getting orders can be accomplished on-line. “We don’t keep stock, because everything has to be freshly made on the day or the day before. The butter cream, for example, has to be used straight away. Then we deliver to people directly, anywhere in the Moscow area.” The SweetLife team are concentrating on the expat market at the moment, but plan to expand and cater for Russians as well. The market is vast, from children’s parties to Corporate events. Life is certainly Sweet in Moscow!!



The SweetLife team:

Jennifer Sherman
+79175988145; Managing Director
Oxana Donskaya, Managing Director.
Email: [email protected];
[email protected]
FaceBook: The SweetLife Moscow