Cakes Become Edible Sculptures at One Belle Bakery in Wilmington
photograph by Millie Holloman Photography

Feature image: Yes, that bucket of oysters is really a cake! Owner Anna Echols also offers doughnuts, cupcakes, cookies, and more in One Belle’s café area.

One Belle produces its fair share of traditional, tiered wedding cakes — they’ve made as many as 18 in one weekend — but is best known for its custom creations.

Think Madame Tussauds meets Willy Wonka: An ice-cold keg. A big bucket of shimmery-shelled oysters. That bass you caught fishing last month. They look like sculptures but are actually carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, or banana cake with chocolate fudge, or coconut-rum cake with pineapple custard.

From start to finish, most designs take three days or more. One Belle has even constructed a replica of Kenan Memorial Stadium at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The assembly alone occupied four decorators for more than eight hours. To owner Anna Echols, disbelief is the best compliment: “I always want someone to ask, ‘Is that a cake?’” 

One Belle Bakery
1616 Shipyard Boulevard
Wilmington, NC 28412
(910) 769-3280

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Emma Laperruque works as a food writer and recipe developer at Food 52 in New York City.