This is the next in our series of educators featured in our Bake Twentyfive issue. Each weekday, we will spotlight a new instructor or educator in the fields of baking, pastry, and chocolate.

Nationally recognized through her many first-place winning appearances on “Food Network Challenge” and on appearances on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Marina Sousa has been the owner and head designer at her cake boutique, Just Cake, in Capitola, California, for the past 15 years.

After successful careers in visual merchandising and the entertainment industry, a twist of fate brought Sousa to the doorstep of an upscale cake design studio in Beverly Hills, California. There she discovered her passion and unique talent for designing cakes.  She had the rare opportunity to hone her skills while working with world-class event designers and celebrity clientele. She furthered her education at the Culinary Institute of America in California’s Napa Valley, where she not only earned a degree in Baking & Pastry Arts, but graduated top of her class, receiving the CIA’s Baking Achievement Award.

Knowing she wanted to start her own business, Sousa returned home to the Central Coast and launched Just Cake in 2003. She quickly earned recognition for her impeccable style and the unmatched quality of her cakes, resulting in what many have described as the ultimate “cake experience.”

Capitola, Just Cake’s home, is known as Santa Cruz County’s little beachside town to the south. The bakery specializes in extraordinary custom wedding and celebration cakes for clients throughout the Monterey Bay and San Francisco Bay Areas and beyond.

Sousa’s work has since been featured in several magazines including InStyle, Bride, Modern Bride, and People.