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the cake lady harriman hudson valley
Adobe Stock / Netrun78

The Cake Lady Bakes From the Heart in Harriman


Sharyn Sherman’s story is full of trials and tribulations, but the ending is sweet as can be. As “The Cake Lady,” she bakes cakes and confections from her Orange County storefront.

How does one become known as “The Cake Lady?” Like many stories that end in triumph, Sharyn Sherman’s journey begins with a bout of hardship. Before baking professionally in the Hudson Valley, she lived in Bergen County, where she ran a medical transcription company. “I had 40 women around the country working for me,” she notes with a touch of pride. At home, she was constantly cooking and baking “elaborate meals” for her husband and two sons on the weekend. “I loved being in the kitchen. To me, it was very relaxing. I started teaching my boys to cook when they were eight and nine.”

Often baking for friends and family, she garnered a reputation as quite the cook. Once, as Sherman was chatting with the owner of a local Italian restaurant, he asked her to make him a cheesecake, “and the rest is history.” Word that she was a superlative baker continued to spread, and she began making confections for restaurants and coffee shops from her home—all while running her medical business. “My living room and kitchen looked like the local bake shop,” she says.

“But in the end,” Sherman reflects, “technology was changing, and so was my marriage.” Sherman and her husband divorced, and she gave up her company to pursue her passion for baking full-time. “I baked wherever I lived, which was not always optimal,” she says. Sherman recalls climbing up and down the steps of a two-story walk-up with her commissions in-hand, loading her car with deliveries for local restaurants like Rhodes Tavern in Rockland County. She baked anywhere she could, whether in a friend’s kitchen or the facilities at a synagogue or inside a small house that had been converted to a professional kitchen. “Lots of trials and tribulations—don’t ask,” Sherman says.

Then came the pandemic, which shuttered the restaurants that sold Sherman’s creations. Her business slowed to a halt. That summer, out of the blue, a loyal customer called and asked if Sherman would whip her up a batch of cupcakes. Sherman agreed, going as far as to offer to deliver them herself. “While delivering the cupcakes, a lady stopped me in the parking lot and asked if I was ‘The Cake Lady’ from Sloatsburg,” she says. Sherman explained to the woman, Rhonda, that she hoped to find a brick-and-mortar location from which she could sell her desserts.

As it would happen, Rhonda owned a space in Harriman that had formerly housed an alcohol-infused cupcake retailer. “I was nearly broke, but with the help of friends, we whipped the place into gear,” she says. “All that I worked so hard for and dreamed about finally became a reality: ‘The Cake Lady.’ I wasn’t looking for Harriman; it fell in my lap,” she remarks, adding, “It was definitely meant to be.”

Sherman’s shop, situated at the crossroads of 17M and Harriman Heights, is a pastel-hued wonderland of sweets and treats beyond your wildest imagination. Think Cake Boss—each cake is a delicious canvas to be adorned with messages, designs, figurines, and small scenes. She accepts major custom orders with one to two weeks’ notice, but keeps a glass display stocked with cake slices, cookies, cupcakes, macarons, and more to satisfy her sweet-toothed regulars. If you want to get a sense of her talent, scroll through her Instagram feed, which showcases her creations along with—oftentimes—hilarious captions. “Hopefully we will see you after you break your New Year’s resolution,” she quipped in a post this week.

The Cake Lady is so good, in fact, that Chef Gordon Ramsay—host of Hell’s Kitchen, where he’s known to berate professional chefs on account of their incompetence—called Sherman’s carrot cake “the best he’s ever had.” In the late aughts, he filmed an episode of Kitchen Nightmares at Bazzini in Ridgewood—which has since closed—and she provided the final course. In a clip of the episode embedded in her website’s homepage, she exclaims, “Oy vey!” when she’s told Ramsay is digging in to her cake. “The last thing people eat is dessert,” she says. “And if the dessert sucks, that’s bad.” When she emerges from the kitchen to meet Ramsay, he gets up, hugs her, and asks for the recipe. “[The episode] has helped sell plenty of carrot cake, I must say, but in the end, the cake has to taste amazing,” Sherman muses. “And if I must say so myself, it really does.”

You can visit The Cake Lady in Harriman Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. After her years of baking in makeshift kitchens, Sherman is grateful to have a home in the Hudson Valley. “I have made my life here in Harriman,” she says. “I feel very blessed as the people of [the surrounding area] have embraced the Cake Lady. It is very much a neighborhood.”

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is back this April 8-21!