Niles’ own ‘ace of cakes’

Published 12:35 pm Monday, July 13, 2009

Niles Daily Star

Some could argue the bridge between the spring and summer seasons to be the sweetest time of year.
Fresh cut fruits and produce make their way to farm market stands all across the state and this time of year also ushers in a season of backyard celebrations marked especially with graduation ceremonies and weddings.
Ceremonies marked with the sugary sweet crescendo of – the celebratory cake.
Jean Paustian Johnson, of Niles, knows her cake. As a matter of fact, she knows her cake, icing and decadent desserts of all kinds.
The owner of S’Wonderful Confections, Johnson creates colorful and carefully designed cakes and desserts from inside her kitchen at her new location of 222 N. Front St.
“I have always been interested in creating desserts,” Johnson said. “I was always one that would volunteer to bring desserts for the holidays.”
Johnson’s fondness for confections led her to take decorating classes (at Shirley’s in Niles).
As she honed her skills Johnson’s talents built traditions at home, with specialty chocolate Christmas gifts for family and friends.
S’Wonderful Confections is Johnson’s passion, but not her only job. An employee at Tyler’s, she said it was about eight years ago that she noticed plenty of store bought cakes went uneaten after company birthday parties and eventually the cakes stopped. Johnson offered to make them herself and “the employees have been hooked on them ever since.”
Soon enough, the requests came in for graduation cakes, birthday cakes, wedding cakes and family events. Johnson got a state approved kitchen and started her business.
That was three years ago.
Since starting her own business, Johnson has operated out of Five Pines Christian Camp and Food by Karen and Co. before getting her own space downtown.
The cakestress’ talents are seen in the four, five and even seven tiered cakes adorned with floral detailing and unique designs, sheet cakes with bold school colors and rows of delicately assembled fanciful desserts.
“I do make cakes and chocolates or specialty desserts for all occasions. Birthday, weddings, graduations, anniversaries, holidays or for any occasion,” Johnson said. “…Although I make mostly decorated cakes, I enjoy making different desserts the best, such as Brownie Truffle Dessert, cheesecakes and caramels.”
Johnson describes her cakes as designed in contemporary style. “I am always willing to work with the client to come up with the dessert or cake that best fits their needs.”
For Niles area residents, Johnson brings a passion and a wealth of experience to every batch of batter to present a sweet centerpiece to every event.
It is one of the most anticipated moments of a wedding ceremony, the cutting of the cake. Guests wait for it and look forward to seeing the bride and groom cut through the sugary sweet icing to the fluffy center.
“In my opinion, what makes the best wedding cake is the taste. Everyone looks forward at the wedding for the cake to get cut, anticipating how it is going to taste.  If you have a great tasting cake, that is what people will remember the most about it.”
Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, Johnson’s days are pretty busy as she balances her home life, full time job and passion for the perfect desserts. It’s something she said she couldn’t do without the help of her boyfriend and sister Jodi Fisher.
But the rewards of her business go beyond what’s put on the plate.
“The most enjoyable part of my business is getting feedback from my clients. It is so nice that people take the time out of there busy days to call or email just to let you know how pleased they were with our product, that it tasted wonderful,” she said.
At the end of a long day and a long process of building the perfect dessert…that’s a pretty sweet deal.
At S’Wonderful Confections, Johnson accepts orders for made to order specialty cakes and chocolates through email and by phone, as the business currently doesn’t hold regular store hours. Orders are needed at least seven days in advance.
To contact with questions or orders, email Johnson at or call (266) 449-3407 or 687-2596.