The colorful frosting, bulging berries and intricate details that adorn the cupcakes and sweet treats crafted by Mae Hirota are so beautiful that you’re tempted to leave the desserts in place forever for the eye to enjoy.

But the founder of Faux Sweets — a professional fake food and dessert decorating service that’s garnered international attention — said that’s the exact reason she began crafting the pieces of art years ago while working at a bank.

“My background is art and I think I was hungry for art and to create again,” Hirota said, remembering a holiday fundraiser when a manager asked her and her peers to make a craft for a holiday party.

Photo courtesy of Mae Hirota

“One of the highlights of the bank life is treating yourself with something sweet while you’re on break or lunch, so I wanted to recreate the feeling you have when you treat yourself. I wanted to make something that would make somebody happy.” Hirota said. “And now it’s an obsession — a healthy one but still an obsession. I just love it so much. I wake up and think, ‘What should I make today?’ And when I’m out shopping, I always think of what materials I can add or another food I could make.”

Hirota said she was influenced by the fake food culture of Japan, “where food is thought of as cute or a decor.”

“I am mimicking food but I am creating art,” Hirota said, stating: “My end goal is not to make the food seem as if it’s real. It’s more about the fun that goes into making it and what they would call culinary arts. I’m making food as artwork.”

The self-described banker turned baker said she had no idea her company would become the success that it has when she began creating the Etsy page for Faux Sweets in 2017 with no direction in mind.

Photo courtesy of Mae Hirota

That same year, Faux Sweets received the “Rising Star” Award at the 2017 Harvest Festival, and the company has worked on a 128 piece collection that was designed for the “Let Them Eat Cake” themed event at the Swan, Shakespeare‘s Globe. In 2018, Faux Sweets showed with Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn and West Elm to launch its fall collection, and Hirota said this past April she was featured on Buzzfeed.

“I’m a one person shop,” Hirota said Friday, while driving to a local Santa Monica establishment to present her latest Christmas-themed treats. “I do everything by myself so it’s certainly a challenge but I take it as a fun adventure.”

Only a couple years removed from the founding of her business, Hirota said Friday she’s excited to share her artistic secrets in an upcoming series of Fake Food Classes.

“I’ve been going around to different stores retailing this year and (Le Macaron) was the first one that’s a food establishment,” Hirota said. “They said maybe it’d be good to show demonstrations and offer classes on how I make the product and offered to have it at the shop. One thing led to another and here we are.”

Hirota said she never imagined her business becoming so successful and in demand, but she’s thankful and eager to host her first pair of classes this Saturday.

There will be 12 opportunities this month to create the delicious-looking desserts that will never spoil as Hirota will host two class sessions every Saturday, Sunday and Monday until Nov. 25.

All materials and tools are included in the price of the class and a complimentary beverage and sweets will be served from Le Macaron, according to the class application. “Each student will take home 6 cupcake ornaments in a cupcake box or a handmade salt dough cookie tree… Class will be held at the patio so cozy up and bring (that) holiday spirit.”

Photo courtesy of Mae Hirota

Anybody aged 13 and older are invited to participate and students also have the option to bring their own materials to add some “flavor” of their own, according to Hirota.

“The cupcakes are ornaments so it can be a great Secret Santa gift exchange idea or you can use it to decorate your tree or house for years to come,” Hirota said.

“I’ll also be sharing the behind the scenes secret so if students want they can start making it themselves to sell,” Hirota added. “That’s the fun part. I can teach them and they can continue passing on a wonderful hobby so others can enjoy.”

*More information on the upcoming Fake Food Classes can be found by visiting the website or contacting 310-710-0508.*

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