Sinsational Cakes Bakery
5750 Davis Blvd.
North Richland Hills 76180
If you are a foodie, you probably are also a purveyor of Food Network with shows such as Cake Wars, Cupcake Wars, Cutthroat Kitchen, Cupcake Showdown and other culinary competitions.
North Richland Hills’ Sinsational Cakes, owned by sisters Anyatta Nicole Ward-Williams and Sonjii Ward-Jones, has been featured on the Food Network five times and won twice. The bakery is now known for its Food Network award-winning cakes and cupcakes.
Nicole and Sonjii were first featured on-air in a November 2013 episode of Cupcake Wars, in which they “took the cake,” going home as first place winners.
Getting on Food Network wasn’t a quick and easy process for the sisters, Nicole said.
“Cupcake Wars was the first show we did together,” she said. “We auditioned for season five with a video made on an ipad and weren’t picked. Then, four seasons later, they emailed us and asked us to send a new tape.”
Nicole and Sonjii say it’s important to them to help others who are trying to get started and get their name out there, so when they needed a new audition tape for Cupcake Wars they sought out and up and coming videographer Johnathan Taylor who was advertising his skills on Craigslist.
“When we are going on a show, we always try and use people and resources from small businesses,” Sonjii said.
After their Cupcake Wars success, in February of 2016 Nicole went back for Cake Wars Champions, again, taking home the gold. That same month, Cupcake Showdown Canada aired an episode featuring the sisters in which they took home third, the same place Nicole received in her April 2016 time at Cutthroat Kitchen.
“After Cake Wars, the next show we did together was in Canada – we didn’t like that one,” Nicole said with a laugh.
Sonjii chimed in, saying, “We appreciated the opportunity, but never has a mixer went so crazy on us.”
Finally, and most recently, Nicole took fourth in an episode of Cake Wars Champion that aired February 2017.
Back in June 2011 when Sinsational Cakes opened, these ladies couldn’t have pictured their future of being a Food Network award-winning bakery, much less getting ready to open a second location. In fact, before June of that year Sonjii wouldn't have imagined herself in the kitchen at all.
While Nicole was just 7 years old she began baking with her mother and has continued to bake ever since, Sonjii didn’t start baking until six years ago when she and her sister bought the bakery.
Now with 15 years of culinary experience, Nicole graduated in 2002 from The Art Institute of Dallas’ Culinary Arts Program and went on to bake out of her home before working as a pastry chef at the Hyatt.
The sisters say everything just sort of fell into place for them to start a business together.
Nicole had been looking for a place to open her own bakery since she started culinary school and wasn’t having much luck. It was May 2011 and Sonjii was laid off from her job, two days later Nicole was offered a building in North Richland Hills to start her bakery – opportunity and circumstance brought these sisters back together to run their own business.
To fund their new business venture the sisters borrowed about $2,500 from friends and family and used their 401k’s for the rest.
“My first day of culinary school I wanted my own bakery, it just took nine years to get it,” Nicole said.
Sonjii said it had always been her goal to be working for herself by the time she was 40, and the pair of them starting their own business would allow her to do just that. Sonjii, now 48, has been achieving her goal for six years now.
Gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins but that stops no one from enjoying sugary sweet treats. The “sinful” aspect of baked goods is what led Sonjii to the name of their business – Sinsational Cakes.
Their business has been so successful that the sisters are getting prepared to close on a second location by the end of the month at 6432 Brentwood Stair Road in Fort Worth.
“We’re looking forward to coming to Fort Worth,” Sonjii said, adding that there used to be a bakery in the location and the landlord was looking for a local cupcakery to fill the slot.
Nicole anticipates having more walk-in traffic at the new location and says they may have more pre-made cakes available there for customers to come in and pick up a slice.
Sonjii and Nicole plan to keep both locations running and thriving, as it is their ultimate goal to have Sinsational Cakes franchises nationwide. Though the sisters say, the Fort Worth area will always be their home and their flagship, as Nicole is from Arlington and Sonjii is from Southwest Fort Worth.
The pair hope to hire four new people to maintain the new Brentwood Road location and help man their cupcake truck. Their team currently includes the two sisters, one staff member and several on-call interns.
Being a successful business owner isn’t something one does on their own, though, it takes support from family, friends, loved ones and mentors.
Nicole looks up to the people who trained and worked with her from “Mrs. Benny” who taught her the ins and outs of the grocery store industry as they worked together to “Chef Katy” who worked alongside her at AT&T Stadium.
For Sonjii, her mentor is a local business owner with several businesses in the Fort Worth area, including the car wash diagonally across from their bakery in the shopping center.
“I go to him a lot because he’s been in it for so long,” she said. “For me, he’s somebody to be truthful about it with me as far as the ins and outs, what to do, what not to do.”
Nicole and Sonjii consider themselves very hands-on leaders and as business owners, they wear many hats. Though they haven’t yet closed on their Fort Worth location, the ladies are already hoping to have a second North Richland Hills location by summer 2018, in addition to smaller cupcake kiosks in towns like Azle and Saginaw.
With franchises and kiosks on the mind, the sisters have big plans for Sinsational Cakes, but their goals don’t stop there. Sonjii says that some of the customers come to the bakery for the frosting more than the cake, and the sisters hope to sell their products – especially frosting – in stores in the future, once they get things lined up with a mass producer and distributor.
Additionally, the pair plan to start offering gluten-free options daily beginning 2018 to appeal to their diverse range of customers. After all, everyone has a sweet tooth.