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Cake maven creates sweet art one design at a time

Date: 3/21/2012

March 21, 2012

By Lori Szepelak

WESTFIELD — Phyllisa Phillips of Russell Road is making life sweeter — one tasty morsel at a time.

Phillips is the owner of G.I.L.T.E. Phyls, a unique licensed commercial shop that specializes in cookies, cakes, pastries, and favors for any occasion. She took a break from her baking commitments to sit down with Reminder Publications on a recent late Wednesday afternoon.

Phillips' forte for more than 20 years has been in the creation of original designs for a host of events, especially for weddings, showers, birthdays, graduations and anniversary celebrations.

"From classic to crazy, each design is an original creation," she said, noting that meeting with someone to discuss details is always an important part of the overall project. Since she does not have a retail shop, she personally delivers all orders. Her service area includes Western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut and delivery and set-up are offered free of charge for special events.

One of her most recent creations was a pirate ship on an ocean of blue frosting, decked out with an anchor, treasure chest brimming with coins and jewelry, three masts, a keg and cannons — all edible. The rum cake, which was designed to serve up to 60 people, took Phillips 12 hours from design consultation to the finished product. The cake was created to mark the opening of the new Kaptain Jimmy's restaurant in Agawam.

"It can be very complicated," she said, but this mother of two excels when the pressure is on.

Phillips has two daughters, Hannah, 18, and Allyson, 9, and she notes that both are supportive of her entrepreneurial spirit.

"I was using Play-Doh with Allyson one day and realized how much I loved sculpture," she added. From that moment on, Phillips knew her baking had turned a page.

Her website details the many guilty pleasures she has created over the years, but notes that the sky's the limit if someone has a special event that they want to make memorable.

Phillips said she realized she had a talent after seeing the same class of cakes on display throughout the region during her 25 years as a sales technician for several bakery ingredient manufacturers.

Today, Phillips has a particular specialty — Snack Krack — that was showcased at the Westfield YMCA's March 3 Chili, Chowder and Chocolate fund-raiser. The gourmet treat includes several salty and sweet ingredients, all coated with caramel and drizzled in dark and white chocolate.

Her Snack Krack package is available at $13 a pound and in the coming months she hopes to secure several local retail stores that will sell the snack mix. In addition, she is working with Westfield State University officials on a "Campus Cookie Connection" business that features chocolate chip, cinnamon sugar or brownie rainbow chip cookies. Her packaged goodies of 20 for each flavor are $18 and are delivered in a brown pizza box. She also hopes to be an Owl Bucks vendor soon through the college.

"I get lost in my work because it all comes down to details," she said. "I feel so lucky to create art every day. It's a gift."

For more information, visit or call Phillips at 454-4024.

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