The Melody of LA

Melody Nazarian

Behind the Sweets: ProFroster's Arlette Novelli

Melody NazarianComment

I'm endlessly inspired by those — especially women — that follow their heart. I feel fortunate to be surrounded by many women who aren't afraid to forge their own path and pursue their passions, one of them being Arlette Novelli. Our parents have been close friends for decades and I practically grew up at their house (partly since her youngest sister is one of my best friends, but also because they always had chips and salsa in rotation, while my house didn't!).

Arlette, who was once at the same company for 18 years, proves that it's never too late to make your dreams come true. After getting married and having three adorable girls — the inspirations behind her cake business, Three Little Cakes — she decided to pursue baking full time and has recently invented a genius cake frosting tool, The ProFroster, that has changed the way people decorate cakes forever. While many well-known publications have already covered her product, I want the world to get to know the talented, inspiring woman behind the sweets. 

Arlette with the cake she created for Ayesha Curry's birthday bash in San Francisco in 2016. 

Arlette with the cake she created for Ayesha Curry's birthday bash in San Francisco in 2016. 

How did the idea for The ProFroster come to you and do you recall where you were exactly when the idea sparked?

Making cakes look professional is not as easy as it looks; it takes a lot of practice and love for what you do. I had a really hard time making my edges straight, corners sharp, and cakes level. I used a bench scraper like everyone else and fiddled for what seemed like forever to get the desired look and even then I wasn't satisfied. About two and half years ago, I took two bench scrapers and held them in my hand in a perpendicular angle and swiped at the frosting . . . voila! It worked! So my wheels started turning as to how I can make this scraper into a tangible product. 

Once you had the idea, what did it take to go from making the dream a reality?

Once I had figured out what I wanted to create, I downloaded a CAD program on my computer and designed my first prototype, which I sent out for a 3D print. Eventually I had so many revisions that I bought my own 3D printer and went to work. I applied for a US Patent, which was granted this month! WHOOP WHOOP! I decided it was important to make this in the USA, so I chose my manufacturers both for the ProFroster, as well as my packaging right here in California. And the rest is history! 

What is it about baking cakes that speaks to your heart?

Baking cakes and frosting them isn't really what I love to do. What I love is to stare at the blank canvas and see what I can create. There really is so much inspiration out there from architecture to fashion and I like to pull from that and make my own interpretation of it. It excites me to be creative. 

What inspired you to finally take on baking full time?

I always baked for friends and family for years. I was a Director of Operations for a company that I worked for for almost 18 years. But something was missing. Nothing really changed until I had my twins. I had a choice to either stay at home and be a full-time mom, or hand my entire paycheck over to daycare for watching all three of my kids, who are only a year-and-a-half apart. And really, they were so young I couldn't leave a toddler and newborns with anyone else. I had to stay home and be a part of watching them grow up. Once they were about a year old I started baking again, people started ordering cakes, and I was able to be a mom during the day and cake designer at night. 

What is your favorite cake flavor to eat and what is your favorite to bake?

I love chocolate anything so chocolate cake is my favorite to make and to eat. It is the one cake that is ALWAYS moist, you really can't get it wrong. I add drizzles of bourbon caramel and bits of toffee and it becomes a decadent dessert.

Complete this sentence: Cakes makes me happy because ...

It brightens everyone's day. Honestly, I've never seen people be sad when there is a cake around, its always a celebration with cake. Cake helps celebrate milestones, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, showers, it's endless and it's always a happy occasion. 

Can you share a secret or tip to cake making that many people may not know about? 

YES! Adding coffee to chocolate cake makes the "chocolate-y" flavor more robust.