The Accidental Baker

martinis and your money

The Accidental Baker

March is Women’s History Month, and I’m featuring women who inspire and motivate me on the podcast. On this episode of Martinis and Your Money, I’m talking to Cheryl Smircich. Cheryl and I attended high school together over 20 years ago, but really got closer over social media the last few years. I’ve watched via Facebook as Cheryl went from creating cakes for fun to starting her company, Cherrypie’s Custom Cakes, as a side hustle to leaving her full-time job to make custom cakes for a living – including making the cake for the grand opening of the first Financial Gym in New York City!

Most of us want change in our lives, but we’re not willing to put in the time and energy to do it. Cheryl’s story is a great reminder of just how much work you need to put in to accomplish something big. I am incredibly inspired by Cheryl, and I hope you are as well! Cheers!

As a side note: the first Financial Gym location has opened in New York City at 226 5th Avenue, 5th Floor. Please stop by and have a drink with us if you are in the area or check out The Financial Gym online for its tools and resources to help you break free from your financial challenges and live a financially healthier life! We’ll kick your assets into shape!

What are we drinking?

Cheryl — A glass of red wine – malbec

Shannon — Financial Gym house wine – also a malbec

Podcast Notes

  • Cheryl broke her ankle and tore the ligament about a month ago and had surgery a week later so she is sitting on the couch recording this episode in her walking boot that is just for show right now!
  • She didn’t start baking until later in life when she made a birthday cake for her son’s first birthday.
  • Someone saw a picture of it on Facebook and asked Cheryl to make them a similar cake!
  • Shannon remembers seeing pictures of Cheryl’s cakes on Facebook and seeing them continuously improve over time.
  • After almost 3 years of baking cakes on the side, Cheryl left her full-time job to build her business.
  • Cheryl says there are lots of sacrifices that happen when achieving your dreams.
  • Her husband has fully supported her decision to build this business and pursue her passion, and she couldn’t have done this without him.
  • After her surgery, her husband followed her around and learned what he needed to learn about baking and decorating and everything else to help her complete 15 orders!
  • Cheryl made the cake for the grand opening of the first Financial Gym in October 2016.
  • She also made the rubik’s cube birthday cake for Shannon’s son Will this past February.
  • Cheryl has not only made birthday cakes but has also made adult cakes for bachelor/bachelorette parties and a strip club.
  • She still decorates and stores the cakes at her home and keeps them in separate refrigerator outside of her house.
  • She had no investors and zero startup capital when she began this business.
  • She found the refrigerator she uses on a buy and sell Facebook group!
  • On average Cheryl bakes about a dozen cakes every weekend.
  • She often takes Mondays and Tuesdays to recover from her weekends and plan her coming week and orders.
  • She tries to bake as close to pickup as she can for freshness.
  • All of her decorating techniques are self-taught.
  • Shannon asks Cheryl how she figured out how to price herself.
  • Cheryl says that has been a big struggle since day one and, for the majority of time she has been in business, she has been underpriced.
  • Shannon says getting paid what you deserve is big struggle among female entrepreneurs.
  • To market herself, Cheryl joined different local moms’ groups on Facebook and searched who was asking for cakes – she found everyone was asking for cakes!
  • She started posting pictures of the cakes she created and receiving great reviews.
  • Now she receives orders from word-of-mouth!
  • TAKEAWAY: Understand the importance of hard work in achieving your financial or career goals!

Random Three Questions

  1. What is your biggest business regret?
  2. What is the most favorite cake you have created?
  3. What do you do for downtime?

Connect with Cheryl:




If you could start a business, what type of business would you start?

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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.


  1. I’ve discovered that I’m pretty good at baking. I offered to make some cookies and some other stuff on occasion and they have turned out so well that I’m now asked to do it even when people have time. Two of my great uncles ran bakeries decades ago after the emigrated from Poland, so I guess it’s just in my blood 🙂 No business for me from it though 🙂

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