By Briana White
Love makes the world go round, but desserts are a close second. The confections at Love Made Edible, owned by 25-year-old Shamara Ray, are the best of both worlds.
Despite funding challenges and spending her life’s savings, Love Made Edible opened in Brentwood on Jan.2. Now, as the bakery approaches its first anniversary, it has become a go-to dessert destination. Boasting a 5-star rating on Yelp, and a 4.9-star rating on other platforms, such as Google and Facebook, Love Made Edible proves that Ray is passionate and skilled in baking and customer satisfaction.
After earning an associate degree from the Baking & Pastry Arts program at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. in 2018, Ray faced difficulties finding a job at a local bakery.
“I applied for countless bakery jobs, but no one would hire me,” she says.
So she decided to be her own boss.
“I knew I’d never have to do anything I didn’t want to do, baking-wise. For example, I really don’t like making bread. In college I’d have nightmares of baguettes chasing me,” she says.
Fortunately, she didn’t let those nightmares stop her from following her dreams.
Ray, who grew up in Pittsburgh’s West End, fell in love with baking from watching shows on TV, namely “Cake Boss.” She’d often receive baking supplies as gifts from family members.
By the age of 14, Ray ran a small baking business named Shamara’s Sweet Shoppe, where she would primarily bake for family and friends as well as for members of her church, Jerusalem Baptist, who would pay her to make cakes to celebrate the congregation’s monthly birthdays.
Ray interned at Grandview Bakery on Mt. Washington while she attended City High Charter School in Downtown Pittsburgh.
Although she ended up being a baker, Ray says her love for people is just as strong — she did consider becoming a counselor. But owning a bakery allows her to combine her love of people and baking into one.
When asked what is the most rewarding part of her job, Ray says, “Being able to do what I love every day and building relationships with people through baked goods.”
However, being a business owner isn’t all sweet; Ray has faced challenges finding trustworthy and reliable employees. When she first started, she was often the only one in the bakery. Love Made Edible now has four employees.
The bakery is welcoming, boasts bright colors and even has a cupcake wall of fame, where customers are encouraged to take pictures. On the opposite wall, a portion of Ray’s favorite scripture, Corinthians 13:4-8 Love Never Fails, is in bold lettering.
Love Made Edible features an array of gourmet cupcakes and a variety of decadent cheesecake slices, along with puddings, cookies and brownies. One of my personal favorites is the banana pudding cheesecake — it’s dessert heaven every time I eat it. The cheesecake is sweet and soft and the Nilla Wafers on top provide the perfect texture contrast.
Cupcake flavors include Strawberry Crunch (a bestseller), Cookie Butter, Pretzel Salad, Banana Pudding and more. Some even have pieces of other desserts on top like pumpkin pie or a chocolate-covered strawberry. Cupcake prices range from $2.50 to $4.25.
In the future, Ray would like to open a larger location with seating and a cupcake truck. She also would like to start a nonprofit baking program to teach at-risk youth how to bake.
Love Made Edible is located at 4030 Saw Mill Run Boulevard and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Order online for in-store pickup.
Pittsburgh native Briana “Bree” White is an avid traveler and best friends with a 20-pound fox terrier named Murphy. She is also the founder of the blog Breelicious Bites, where she chronicles her journey all over the city of black and gold to taste what local eateries have to offer and share her thoughts about everything from the magnificent to the mundane.