South Park Magazine

Snapshot: Jill Delmastro


Jill Delmastro of Cake Lady Jill in Pineville isn’t afraid of creative challenges. While the classically trained 1994 graduate of Johnson & Wales University is known for her crafty cakes for all occasions, she also can whip up winning gingerbread house looks, too. She’s a two-time winner in the professional division of Gingerbread Village, the annual holiday season competition at Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge. The eighth annual event is a fundraiser, too: after judges pick an official winner on Dec. 11, the public gets a say through Dec. 26, casting ballots for their favorite creations with a minimum $1 donation per vote. All proceeds go to Levine Children’s Hospital, the beneficiary since 2008, which has received $5,248 through combined donations from The Spa at Ballantyne. Delmastro’s gingerbread art pieces aren’t necessarily houses. But they’re always inspired by family. Two years ago, she crafted a train to impress her now 4-year-old son, Dominic (pictured here with her). Last year’s winning white castle was named after daughter Elisabeth, now 10. “This year, I think I will do this one for my husband (Jeff),” Delmastro says. For more Cake Lady Jill looks, visit

I knew I wanted to be a cake designer

since after the birth of my daughter. I quit my pastry chef job and was bored stiff. This business just started slowly and took on a life of its own. How lucky am I?

My most favorite cake design ever?

No faves. I am here to make the bride and groom happy. If that happens, I have won. I do love when the brides use color, and take a chance on a more modern design. Makes life fun. Let’s face it – “simple elegance” is code for boring.

I decided to participate in the gingerbread competitions

because the director of catering called and asked. I had never built one before and won first try. I try to do something funky that my kids or husband are into at that particular time. Just because it’s gingerbread, it does not have to be a house. I keep trying to think outside of the box.

Making gingerbread houses

is like building a house. It’s all balance, engineering, architecture, and prayers!

This year, for the gingerbread contest,

I am doing something wild for my husband. He is into motorcycles big time. I may need a nap in January. Or a padded room. Stay tuned.