Vartine Garabet, left, moved here from Lebanon with her husband, Rev. Fr. Yesai Bedros, in 2016. They are raising their three boys while Vartine runs her business, Spirit Made Cakes. Photos contributed
Written by Frank Lopez
In 2016, Vartine Garabet stood for the first time in a Michael’s Arts & Crafts store, amazed at all of the baking tools available. She had recently immigrated to the U.S. and saw an opportunity.
Since age 12 growing up in Lebanon, Garabet — who is of Armenian descent — had been known as the “Baking Lady.” The praise she received after baking a peach pie for her next-door neighbors gave birth to a passion for baking.
Whenever her mother or aunt would bake something, Garabet would say, “I need the recipe.”
Since then, her love for the science and challenges of baking, her faith in God and her perseverance has led to where she is today — the owner of a thriving home-based business and a baking reality show star.
Garabet, 36, is the owner of Spirit Made Cakes in Clovis, and was a contestant in Hulu’s baking competition show “Bakers Dozen” in 2021.
If national attention from one of the major U.S. streaming platforms wasn’t enough, last week Garabet — along with her husband Rev. Fr. Yesai Bedros (baptismal name Sarkis), reverend at St. Paul Armenian Church in Fresno — officially became U.S. citizens.
A self-taught and licensed cake designer, Garabet specializes in baking and designing unique creations for any occasion. Along with raising cakes, she is also busy as a mother raising three boys ages 14, 11 and 5.
In 2005, Bedros and Garabet married, then lived in Iran for four years while Bedros served in a church there. They then moved back to Lebanon to be with her family. In 2016, they moved their family to the U.S for Bedros to serve in Fresno.
It was after she made a special cake for her son’s baptism five years ago that she felt God put in her heart the notion to pursue baking as a business.
Friends and family had also urged her to start a business, but she felt she wasn’t ready to deal with the logistics — or customers.
“I think it was from the Holy Spirit, which is why I chose ‘Spirit Made Cakes’, who gave me the feeling to start a business and gave me the idea,” Garabet said. “I’m not making the cakes, the Holy Spirit is giving me the strength, and I bake the cakes.”
She said she is thankful for the success. Every year the business grows and her skills sharpen.
At first, Garabet was donating cakes for church and community events. Profit wasn’t a primary motive — she wanted to share her God-given gifts with friends, family and community.
After seeing demand grow, and putting so much time into baking, she felt it was time to start making money for all her effort.
At first Garabet did the marketing for Spirit Made Cakes through Instagram, where she currently has more than 4,000 followers. She said the platform was instrumental in helping her business grow, and even garnered attention from the Food Network for their baking shows.
But she didn’t feel ready.
Hulu was also sending her email after email to audition for the Baker’s Dozen show, but she still didn’t feel it until things changed.
“I believe I got a sign from God and decided I need to try it and have the experience,” Garabet said. “It was a great experience.”
Garabet made the show, traveling to Los Angeles for two days of filming. She reached the second phase of the competition — similar to “The Great British Bake Off” — before being voted off.
She said the experience has expanded the profile of her business.
She is also very proud of becoming a citizen, saying she now really feels like an American. Garabet said it had a long been a dream of her husband to move his family to the U.S., faithful that they would have a “good and blessed life” here.
Garabet is currently building a studio in her home that will have a dedicated kitchen for baking and space for classes.
She expects it to be fully built and ready for baking in a few weeks.
You may recognize her from @Hulu’s "Baker’s Dozen". Vartine Garabet stepped away from her prize-winning Fresno bakery, Spirit Made Cakes, to bake up a win of her own when she and husband Sarkis Bedros became #NewUSCitizens. Congratulations! pic.twitter.com/7DrNLqF7fL
— USCIS (@USCIS) April 27, 2022