In the true spirit of El Dorado County, when Nikki D’Agostini couldn’t find a job that suited her, she opened her own business. Since she has been baking since she was a little girl, her business, D’Agostini’s Delights Bakery and Café, features down-home delicious food and irresistible pastries and desserts.
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Nikki started her business at 8031 Mt Aukum Road, in the heart of the South County wine country, five years ago on April 1. Increasingly, her claim to fame is her wedding cakes.
She said her wedding cakes are limited only by her clients’ imaginations and her own creativity. The average size is two or three tiers, but the cake can be higher or lower. The cakes can be circular or square, and all the same size or graduated sizes.
Another option is to have a small cake on top and cupcakes on the tiers. D’Agostine said that a small wedding cake with additional sheet cakes to serve guests is one way to save money.
Her frostings, fillings and cake flavors can be mixed or matched. Starting with the cakes, D’Agostini lists a dozen flavors. They range from classics like vanilla sponge and chocolate fudge to poppyseed and pink champagne.
In warm weather, fruit-flavored fillings are popular, but she also makes two cream fillings and four kinds of chocolate.
She has four different frostings. For outside weddings, she suggests fondant, a sugar paste that holds up better than the creamier frostings.
Each cake is festooned with decorations — fresh flowers, butterflies, cascading ribbons of icing, and other flights of fancy — and any color or combination of colors.
Wedding clients have a theme or a color palette that D’Agostine uses as a guide. “They usually bring their own toppers,” she said, “but I made the horseshoes for a Western-themed cake out of spun sugar.”
D’Agostine said she has always loved baking and desserts.
“I love chocolate. When I was growing up, I would read recipes and practice making them,” she said.
When she graduated from El Dorado High School, Nikki Downing, as she was then, wrote to the head chef at the Coeur d’Alene Resort in Idaho. She sent her résumé and told him of her desire to go into the profession. She was hired and spent the next two and a-half years making desserts for the five restaurants at the resort.
Back in California, she worked to South Lake Tahoe where she went through an apprentice program at Harrah’s. “I rotated through all the baking stations: bread, pastries, desserts, sugar,” she said. She also worked at Caesar’s and a small restaurant called Lorraine’s Café before advancing to head pastry chief at the Radisson Hotel in Plymouth, Minn.
D’Agostine worked there for one year before family illness called her back home. At a cousin’s birthday party, her uncle, a logger, introduced her to a young man who also worked in the woods, Robert D’Agostini Jr. They married at Emerald Bay in South Lake Tahoe in 1999 and have two children: Daisy, 11, and Luke, 10.
She worked at the Safeway bakery in Placerville, then worked from home until she found out she had to have a commercial kitchen to do business in the county. Nikki bought a building in Mt. Aukum near the family home that had been a restaurant and opened it in 2007. The hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Some of her wedding cakes are on display at the café.
To schedule a wedding cake consultation call 530-620-0777 or stop by D’Agostini’s Delights Bakery and Café.
An album of wedding cake photos is at dagostinisdelights.com.