The sweet phrase, “made with love,” rings especially true for celebrated cake designer Maria Teresa Nitti.
Nitti, owner of Isabella’s Creations in Dyker Heights, grew up the youngest of four children of a single working mother and delighted as a girl in the sweet aroma of baked goods stemming from the kitchen. One of her most joyful childhood memories was watching her sister bake, and learning the finer points of delicious dessert-making from her sibling and grandmother.
Nitti’s love of baking flourished and her hobby blossomed into a small business. Today the mom of two boys owns and operates her own custom cake shop with entrepreneurial triumphs that are red hot.
“I’m proud of the business I have built,” says Nitti, a self-taught cake decorator. “I made something amazing from a hobby and wouldn’t change it for the world.”
The Woman of Distinction counts celebrities among her loyal customers, and has even walked the red carpet with some of them, including late “Mob Wives” star Angela “Big Ang” Raiola, who became a devotee after Nitti provided the cake for a premiere party.
The most luscious part of all is sharing in her customer’s memorable moments, claims Nitti.
“I love my job because we become a part of a special moment in a person’s life,” she says.
The creating extends far beyond the kitchen, and Nitti’s cakes have become focal points at milestone celebrations, memorable moments, and other good times for people she comes into contact with, including many children. She runs a program with other area vendors called Operation Birthday Party and travels to a local homeless shelter once a month to celebrate the special days of youngsters, bringing them gifts and throwing them a party — a first for some of them.
“The birthday parties are a little break from reality for these kids, and some have never had them before,” Nitti says. “Unfortunately, it’s something that their parents would love to do and just cannot do for them at this time, but I want them to know that there is someone out there who cares, and is willing to go that extra mile to make sure they have a great and memorable birthday party.”
Best friend and former colleague Barbara Crawford says she saw something special in Nitti as soon as the honoree hired Maria to start a business development center at the automotive dealership where she worked before turning her attention full-time to cake-baking.
“Maria multi-tasks like no one else I have ever met,” says Crawford. “Her outgoing personality, infectious smile, along with her intelligence truly stood out to me right away.”
Nitti’s acumen as a businesswoman and her compassion for people less fortunate make her a personal heroine, adds Crawford.
“Maria is passionate about people and 100 percent committed to giving back and touching as many lives as she can,” she says. “She is an inspiring and positive force of one because when Maria sets her mind on something, there is basically no stopping her!”
Neighborhood: Bensonhurst-Dyker Heights.
Occupation: Cake designer.
Company: Isabella’s Creations.
Claim To Fame: “I’ve designed cakes for celebrities who have become regular customers.”
Favorite Brooklyn Place: Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Woman I Admire: “My grandmother because she taught me the ins and outs of baking delicious cakes.”
Motto: “Work smarter, not harder!”