Reel to Real
Charmaine Jones Enjoys a (Cake) Slice of Soap Life

From Soap Opera Digest, October 31, 2000

If there's one thing soaps know how to do, it's celebrate: From weddings to birthdays to shindigs for no reason, soaps are full of reasons to focus on the sweet things in life. And there's one person who knows sweet things as well, it's Charmaine Jones, proprietor of Isn't That Special Outrageous Cakes.

"I've been watching soaps since ALL MY CHILDREN came on," laughs the Hoboken NJ-based Jones. "I always wanted to do something for the soaps." Though her mom was a French pastry chef and Jones spent many hours in the kitchen whipping up confections, a baking career didn't initially hit her ¯ she wanted to write music for soaps. When that door didn't open, Jones found another way in. With persistence and a boost after contributing a wedding cake in the 1993 book Jumping the Broom: The African-American Wedding Planner, Jones shifted gears. "I heard Hank was getting married on ONE LIFE TO LIVE," explains Jones, "and I gave them a call. And the wedding planner had landed on their desk just half hour before then!"

The yellow rose of Texas (and an icing lasso) blossomed on Asa and Renne's wedding cake on OLTL

OLTL already had someone for Hank's nups, but Jones kept at it and attracted the attention of AMC. She made her first cake for Cecily and Charlie, who wed in 1995 ¯ complete with bride and groom computers on top to celebrate how the couple "met" on the Internet. "One of the crew said, 'These cakes that look pretty don't taste good usually," recalls Jones. "But I promised him it was mocha mud chocolate, and he'd love it. He did!"

From there, Jones went on to continue cakes for (among others) OLTL wedding (Marty and Dylan,; Asa and Renee), birthdays (Starr's second and Matthew's first) and Viki upcoming bridal shower. At AMC, she made wedding cakes for Janet and Trevor, Tad and Dixie, and Hayley and Mateo, among others.

On top of the money and acclaim she's received for making use of an old family recipe, says Jones, she's had the thrill of meeting some of her favorite actors: "Erika Slezak [Viki, OLTL] has been wonderful; Jill Larson [Opal, AMC] - they've all been so nice."

But start saving if you want a slice of Jones' specialty: Cakes for soaps cost from $600.00 to $1,200, and the base price for regular customers is $200. Are they worth it? "There hasn't been anything we haven't been able to do," Jones declares (For now, delivery is limited to the East Coast, Detroit, and the Bahamas.)

"I thought, 'I'm watching TV while I'm making these things - I may as well get something back for it," Jones laughs. But there is one drawback: "I don't eat it anymore. They're all good...but it's enough." Just goes to show - you can bake your cake, but you can't always eat it too.

After Susan Lucci (Erica, AMC) won her EMMY, she also took home a piece of Jones' cake.
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