Beautiful Cakes by the Sea
Kris Murray of Cakes by the Sea comes by her baking and decorating skills naturally.
Kris Murray knows all about the cake business. For as long as she can remember, bakeries have been in the family. Her great uncle, James McMonagle, opened a bakery in Pittsburgh in 1935 and ran it for years. In 1960 her father, Pauly Murray, opened a bakery near Minneapolis, which he ran for 10 years before working for a larger company for years thereafter.
Murray recalls starting to work part-time in her father’s bakery as a teenager. He immediately taught her three things: word hard, stay focused and always use real butter, not lard, for the buttercream icing on a cake because customers can taste the difference.
Minneapolis born, Murray graduated from high school in Minnesota then studied computer science in college for two years. After spending a few months working in a bakery, she enrolled in the U.S. Army as a cook.
After leaving the military Murray worked for a different bakery for 19 years with the goal of eventually opening her own bakery.
“I took a few years to learn even more about running a bakery — the financial aspects as well as the customer service side of things and what ingredients go into baking great cakes,” Murray says.
After owning her own bakery for 12 years in Minnesota, she was looking for a change of scenery and warmer weather and moved to the East Coast. Settling down in Horry County, South Carolina, in 2007 Murray opened Cakes by the Sea in Longs.
“Our 1,300-square-foot shop is in a perfect location because we’re between the bakeries in Myrtle Beach and Wilmington and the area residents needed a bakery whether to order cake for a special occasion or to pick up a cake or cookies to bring to a party without traveling far,” Murray says. “We are buttercream specialists with our very own 40+ year-old recipe that is delicious, and everything we offer is made from scratch.”
By far the most popular item for sale at Cakes by the Sea is the 12-pack of assorted cupcakes. Each cupcake is a different flavor, so when bringing them as a gift there are many choices.
In terms of cakes, customers’ first choice is a marble cake with a fudge filling. The next favorite is the salted caramel cake with the salted caramel filling. The third favorite is the red velvet cake with ganache filling and a cream cheese icing.
“People know what they like and they tend to stick with it whether it’s for them or as a gift to someone,” Murray says.
Wedding cakes are big at Cakes by the Sea, and Murray works with the bride and groom to help them choose a cake they will enjoy and remember forever.
“Some want a cake with one flavor only and others chose a different flavor for each tier,” she says. “Our wedding cakes can be as large as six tiers. One thing about wedding cakes is that they can be as simple or as complicated as the bride and groom want.”
With today’s technology Murray says they can take a customer’s photo and put an edible image on top of their cake. Murray always wants to take care of accommodating her customers’ needs.
Murray has a cake crew comprised of herself and three others: a full-time front counter manager, one part-time counter worker and the baker. Murray does the cake decorating. She credits her father with teaching her the best way to decorate a cake when she worked in his bakery in Minnesota.
“I’d let the cake cool and start icing it then he would give me tips on how to do it better,” Murray says. “When decorating a cake, it has to turn out just so — whether it’s a birthday greeting, an anniversary wish, congratulations on Graduation Day or a six-tiered wedding cake. Each one is important, and we only want the best for our customers.”
Murray says there is a knack to decorating a cake. “It takes practice and a certain flick of the wrist but when it’s all done, a beautifully decorated cake is a work of art!”
Want to go?
Cakes by the Sea
Parkway Plaza, 2126 Hwy 9 E, Longs, SC
Facebook: Cakes by the Sea, Longs
Open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm (Friday until 6 pm)
Closed Sunday, Monday and Wednesday