By Deb Malewski

Contributing Writer

Most cake decorators spend years learning their craft. Others, like Jeremy Davis, seem to be born with the ability to instinctively create artwork out of fondant and royal icing. Davis is the owner of Designed by Daddy Custom Cakery in Charlotte, a home-based business. He took one class in cake decorating and soon started his own business making custom cakes for every occasion. In less than three years, he has progressed to appearing on national television — showcasing his talent with some of the country’s best cake artists.

“I’m the guy to come to if you want something customized, something with a real ‘wow factor’ for your guests,” Davis said. “And I hang my hat on the fact that my cakes taste just as good as they look.”

The first cake he made, for his daughter’s birthday party at a local restaurant, turned out so good that the other parents didn’t believe he was the one who made the cake.

“No, really, where’d you get it from?” was the feedback. He had his first custom order just days later.

His favorite cake creation so far is a pair of size-ten roller skates, Davis said, which was for a wedding in a skating rink. Another favorite was a golf bag cake.

“Every cake I make is unique and different,” he pointed out.

Cake decorating is his “fun side” job, Davis explained. “And it’s a way to scratch my creative itch.”

The reaction of his clients when they see their custom-made cake is incredible, he added. He learns new techniques from hands-on experimentation and with some occasional guidance from YouTube videos.

During the day, Davis is the director of the Business and Economics Department at Lansing Community College. His wife Shawnae is “vice president of quality control,” for the business.

“She keeps me from ‘over-doing’ a cake.”

The Davises have three children and live in Charlotte.

Davis has a background in graphic design and marketing but no formal art training. He is also the cubmaster of Cub Scout Pack 45. Family is extremely important to him, and his business helps so that his wife can be home with their children during the day.

You’ll find Designed by Daddy on Facebook. But it was on Instagram where Food Network staff found photos of his cakes and contacted him to be part of a new show they were developing — “The Girl Scout Cookie Challenge” with host Alyson Hannigan.

The goal of the show is to transform Girl Scout cookies into over-the-top edible art, the Food Network’s website explains. Davis and four other cake artists from around the country traveled to the Food Network’s studio in New Jersey to film the show. Davis was the only “home baker,” he said. The others were professionals.

The details of the competition are still top secret due to Food Network rules. The winner of the competition will win an outdoor adventure vacation and a year’s supply of Girl Scout Cookies, the website explains. The four-episode show will air on Monday, Feb. 3 at 8 p.m., with Davis’ episode showing on Monday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. He and his family are planning a watch party at Eaton Pub and Grille in Charlotte that evening.

Davis also offers cookie decorating classes to the public. You can contact him on Facebook or by phone at 517-618-1995.