Love Made Edible: Spreading love and friendship through sweet treats

Cupcakes at Love Made Edible Bakery in Brentwood.

Image courtesy of Love Made Edible Bakery

Cupcakes at Love Made Edible Bakery in Brentwood.

By Gabriella Garvin, Senior Staff Writer

From cookie-butter-flavored puddings, to Girl-Scout-cookie-flavored cupcakes and 3D cakes, Love Made Edible Bakery aims to spread joy through pastries bursting with flavors.

The bakery won “Best Black-Owned Business” in The Pitt News’ annual “Best Of” contest. Upon entering the bakery, customers enter a vibrant purple room with the scent of freshly made goods. The bakery opened about a year ago and is located in Brentwood, which is about 20 minutes from Pitt’s campus.

Shamara Ray, the owner of Love Made Edible, said she had the dream of owning her own bakery from a young age after “Cake Boss” inspired her.

“I was probably 12 years old when I came up with the idea behind owning a bakery,” Ray said. “I’ve just always liked baking and when I saw Cake Boss, where they were making really cool cakes, I thought, ‘Wow, I want to do that.”

Ray said she spent a lot of time trying to figure out the name for the business.

“I came up with the name in college. I didn’t know what to call it, and love is my favorite thing,” Ray said. “[So I thought], if something can be or taste as good as love, like good love, then it’s great. So I named it Love Made Edible.

Torea Barber, a nighttime baker at Love Made Edible, said her favorite part about the bakery is its openness to creativity and experimentation. 

“I started working at Love Made Edible on August 1, 2022. My favorite part about working here is being able to create unique baked goods,” Barber said. “There are no limits when it comes to baking in the Love Made Edible kitchen.”

Shamara Ray, the owner of Love Made Edible Bakery. (Image courtesy of Love Made Edible Bakery)

Barber’s favorite treat at the bakery is the strawberry crunch cheesecake, which she called “heaven on earth.” She said it tastes similar to a strawberry shortcake ice cream bar.

Missy Simmons, 40, resident of Jefferson Hills and frequent customer at Love Made Edible, said she discovered the bakery out of curiosity.

“Funny story — I never travel that far up 51. I had to relocate temporarily and ended up traveling past her bakery daily. I happened to be driving to work down 51 and saw this cute little bakery that had a sign saying ‘open,’” Simmons said. “I was super curious. I had no idea if they were new.”

Simmons said Ray was personable from the start, allowing her to form a strong personal friendship filled with laughter.

“I walked in and let me tell you, Shamara, the owner, was like a breath of fresh air. She made all of your problems disappear,” Simmons said. “I think I would have come back to say hi even if her treats were terrible, but the best part [was] they were the best cupcakes I have ever tasted.”

Simmons said finding Love Made Edible helped her deal with the long weeks of struggling with fertility and the strict dietary recommendations that came with it.

“I have been on a fertility journey for a long time, while in the middle of IVF, trying to stick to a low carb diet and stay away from sugar. Well, that was a big problem after having those delicious cupcakes,” Simmons said. “I made a deal with myself, I would only stop by on Sundays for a treat. I swear it got me through the hard times that year.”

Ray said her favorite thing to make is the custom cakes, which vary for different events. She said it makes her feel like she has a big role in the events she’s baking for.

“I feel like the cake is the life of the party,” Ray said. “When it’s sitting up and it’s pretty on the table, I feel like a good cake makes the party.”

Ray said she makes a variety of 3D cakes to order. Depending on the components and intricacy of the cake, it can take anywhere from six to 12 hours.

“The most unique orders are 3D. I’ve made a Tito’s bottle, or like a bag of money, or stacks of money,” Ray said. “It can take a lot of time.”

The bakery makes treats for any occasion, from gatherings to birthday parties. The flexibility in events allows the bakery to experiment with menu items, whether that be combining or creating new ones altogether.

Simmons said Ray used her two favorite flavors, red velvet and salted pretzel, to make her a special cake with a flavor on each side for her birthday.

“Here she is trying to get her bakery up and running and at the same time thinking of her customers that way,” Simmons said. “She is truly one of a kind.”

Simmons said the warmth and comfort Love Made Edible strives to project is what keeps their customers hooked.

“I always ask Shamara what her secret ingredient is that makes all of her treats so delicious. She simply says it’s because they are made with love. Well, her love of baking has me hooked,” Simmons said. “I will continue to be one of her biggest fans, watching her hard work and dedication make her dreams come true.”

As winner of “Best Of Black-owned Businesses,” Ray said she wants Pitt students to know their dreams are possible and to never give up.

“Even if it seems far away or like it’s never going to happen, it is much closer than you think,” Ray said. “I want students to know that anything is possible.”