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The Story of Sugar Ambush

Hi! I'm Michelle Janota, the owner of Sugar Ambush, a cottage bakery. I've loved baking and decorating cakes for as long as I can remember and during the pandemic, I used my spare time to bake and decorate more regularly.  I decided to start my own business doing what I love. I would be honored to make your cake for your wedding or special event!


What's your favorite cake flavor?

Honestly, I'm pretty basic - chocolate is my absolute favorite.  Bonus points if the cake has chocolate ganache and fresh strawberries for its filling


What is your favorite cake you've decorated?

It's always the last cake I decorated. I say to my family, "I know what I said last time, but this one is my favorite!" It's often met with eye rolls, but agreement that this one is also their new favorite.  Some consistently favorite cakes included a 4 tier blue marble cake as well as a palette knife flower cake.


Why is your business called "Sugar Ambush?"

My job pre-pandemic was working as an intern at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore (working with giraffes) and the Smithsonian National Zoo in DC (working with giant pandas and river otters). When I opened my business, I wanted to incorporate my love of animals into the name somehow. An Ambush is actually a group of tigers (although tigers are not generally found in a group)! That's why my logo features a tiger! Of course, while my tiger is eating a cake, we don't recommend actually feeding a cake to a real-life tiger.


Favorite animal?

My dog, Marble. Followed closely by giant pandas, lions, and cheetahs. And red pandas. And foxes. And leopards. And....the list keeps going!


Favorite movie?

The Lion King - it's no wonder I work in a Zoo.


Is this your full-time job?

In August 2022, I started a full-time job at the Smithsonian Conservation and Biology Insitute (SCBI) working as a keeper for ungulates (hooved animals). So I am back in zoos! I still take cake orders through Sugar Ambush regularly and, with it being a passion instead of a “job”, I ensure that all of the cakes are special and treated that way in my kitchen.

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Favorite kitchen utensil?

Aside from my Kitchen Aid mixer, probably my flexible spatulas. But my favorite item in my kitchen isn't a utensil. It's a canvas print of Mickey and Minnie Mouse (and the rest of the gang) decorating a cake.

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Harry Potter House?



Favorite place you've traveled?

South Africa for a safari. Though I have trips coming up in London and Greece, so we'll have to see what my favorite is after that.

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Any formal training?

When I started working on cakes, I was completely self-taught.  Luckily, I have been able to increase and maintain my skills through working with other cake decorators as well as working at bakeries as a cake decorator.

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