The youngest-ever contestant to win one of the adult baking competition shows on Food Network, Max Soto, has just opened his own Bay Area cake shop, called Max's Cakes.
Max's Cakes debuted in December in downtown Hayward, and as the Mercury News reports, it's been a family affair, with Soto's mom and dad, Monica and Mario Soto, co-owning the business with him, and other family members working in the shop.
"We wanted to create an old-fashioned bakery with classic recipes and feel-good food," Soto tells the paper.
The shop's interior features a black-and-white color scheme, and in addition to doing made-to-order custom cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and cakepops (email [email protected] for a quote), the bakery case features ready-made cakes, cookies, brownies, and more.
Soto, now 22, was 19 when he appeared on the short-lived Food Network competition show Big Time Bake. On his episode, which originally aired in July 2020, the theme was "The Roaring '20s," and Soto's final creation was a gravity-defying cake sculpture featuring a speakeasy as its base, and a tommy gun shooting up vertically from there (see below).
The base was a brown sugar cake with vanilla bourbon buttercream and burnt butterscotch cream in the center.
Soto got his start baking at age 14, per the Mercury News, making "a square red velvet cake with pink and purple buttercream for a couple’s 10th anniversary."
"I faced a lot of stigma when I was younger," Soto tells the paper. "In school, I was told this was a job for a female, and that I should become a doctor or lawyer. That hurt a lot. But I never let it deter me."
Following his Food Network win, and a subsequent appearance on Hulu's Baker’s Dozen, Soto got a lot of orders for custom cakes. As he tells the Mercury News, he knew he needed to open a full-time cake shop as soon the day came along that he had to turn down 40 orders.
You can get an idea of Soto's other, more recent creations via his Instagram.