New flavors are occasioned by "whatever I'm craving at the moment," Baker says, whether that's the chocolate-hazelnut mousse she sampled in Monaco that inspired a praline confection, or the passion fruit filling that reminds her of her visit to Bora Bora. She also looks to the runway for ideas: "Fashion translates so well onto a cake," Baker explains. Her Valentino creation features a cascade of the designer's signature rosettes. Baker says the aesthetic of her patterned chocolates—often decorated with plaids, polka dots, and stripes—is drawn from the tongue-in-cheek guide The Official Preppy Handbook.
Baker was inspired to pursue her dream of working with chocolate by an unlikely catalyst—a difficult marriage. In 2007 she found the strength that would help her begin to break free: "I thought, If I don't make a small step today, I'm going to be stuck in the same place next year, and the year after that." Within a year, Baker had secured a factory space and ended her marriage. She credits her passion for her work with changing her life—and keeping her going through the hard times. "For a small business to succeed, it has to be something that's really your love," she says. "It has to be something you can't live a day without doing." —Molly Fischer
Photo: John Hall Photography