Don Donneruno is an artist at heart – growing up in New York, he sketched, drawn, sculpted, painted, did it all, but coming of age he ended up working “in the American company. “.
At 42 in 2010, he was approached by a friend with the opportunity to show off his creative talents in a different way.
And he thought he had done everything.
âMy friend Meredith asked me to help her with a cake,â he said. “She knew my artistic abilities and we made a King Tut cake which was insane – I posted it on Facebook and 90 seconds after posting it my friend commented” you are the Cake Don. “”
The name stuck, and the rest is history.
People started contacting Donneruno for cakes and he started cooking at his home in Northport for about a year.
He even landed a spot on Season 4 of the TLC reality show, âNext Great Baker,â in 2014, which then took his baking and exposure to a whole new level.
From that point on, he decided that was the career path he wanted to take.
He opened Don cake at 455 Westbury Ave. at Carle Place six years ago and the business has thrived.
However, this year he says the pandemic has caused “all cakes to be canceled.” As the parties and special occasions ended, Donneruno had to improvise.
âOn the first day we had 30 cancellations so we started making cupcakes,â he said. âI posted on my Instagram that I would deliver a dozen cupcakes anywhere in Nassau County for $ 36 because people were locked in their homes with their kids, and at that point they were really nervous about going anywhere, and it really took off. ”
He was lucky not to have to close his shop; the cupcakes really âkept the lights onâ as it says on the company’s website.
One day he walked past an empty storefront at 605 West Jericho Turnpike in Huntington, quickly signed a lease and turned the place into his second business, Don Cupcakes Cake, which officially opened in August.
Since then, there has been a constant flow of customers every day, says Donneruno. He even caught the attention of Long Island Medium, Theresa Caputo.
Walking inside Cake Don Cupcakes, one is struck by a wave of nostalgia, especially for those in one of the five boroughs, or who grew up in the 1980s.
The decor reflects Donneruno’s New York roots and his early years in Whitestone, Queens.
âTrain 7 from Flushing, Queens to Manhattan is the train I took as a kid,â he said, pointing to the backdrop of the subway car inside the store. “I learned graffiti, rap music, fashion, art and different cultures, this train 7 was my crash course in pop culture.”
The tapes lining the walls are some of Donneruno’s favorite jams he has listened to on the go.
An inspirational quote from Will Smith’s movie “The Pursuit of Happiness” stands out in the store alongside the cupcake and angel wing logo that the baker himself designed.
The main attraction is the range of aesthetic cupcakes: red velvet, s’mores, a Samoan-flavored cupcake, cookies and cream, dipped in chocolate with a cherry on top, and much more.
Cupcakes don’t have to be overly complicated, in Donneruno’s opinion – just a simple, sweet fix.
Donneruno said that once he realized he could tap into his inner artist and support his family, there was no turning back.
The plan is to grow and make Cake Don Cupcakes an established name all over Long Island.
âNo matter how long it takes, there is no expiration date on the dream,â he said.
Scroll down for photos of Cake Don Cupcakes.
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Above: The Don cake, Don Donneruno, Owner of Cake Don Cupcakes are now open in Huntington.