What It’s Like to Have Olivia Rodrigo Stab Your Cakes

Photo: Saturday Night Live/Youtube

If there’s one way to claim fame in 2023, it starts and ends with a pop star. Look at what happened to the Etsy designer who created the cowboy hat Beyoncé wore for her tour poster. The latest? A 23-year-old baker from New York City who was tapped to create cakes for Olivia Rodrigo’s Saturday Night Live performance of “All-American Bitch.”

Morgan Knight, the owner of Saint Street Cakes, makes the types of cakes that companies like Tory Burch and influencers alike would love to have at their parties: classically designed but as delicious as they are pretty. They’re often made in the shape of a heart, sometimes with fun birthday sayings like “Scorpio Baby” or designed extravagantly with a Phoebe Bridgers Punisher album cover or adorable 3-D frogs, which she was early to adapt and first went viral for on TikTok. Still, this past week was by far the biggest of her career.

“I’ve wanted to open a bakery since I was 5 because I was obsessed with extremely detailed cakes and desserts in Studio Ghibli cartoon movies and the cake from Sleeping Beauty,” Knight tells me days after the show. Like most of Rodrigo’s music, the performance was filled with angst, which paired perfectly with the destruction of the gorgeous cakes Knight had put all week into making. But don’t worry, she wasn’t the least bit upset about it. Smiling, she says, “Seeing Olivia on this cartoonish, exaggerated, girlie set was an absolute dream come true.”

How did this all start?

I got a random email when I was home in Los Angeles for Thanksgiving from Milena Gorum, an artistic director who said, “We love your cakes, Olivia loves your cakes, and we’re doing her performance for SNL. This was before it was announced that Olivia was going to be on SNL, so they said, “Don’t tell anybody what’s going on, but we’d love to use your cakes. Can you send us pricing?” I love Saturday Night Live and I love Olivia Rodrigo, so I was super-excited. I sent over my pricing and they said, “We’ll see if the budget works for us. We’ll get back to you.” A few days later, I hadn’t heard anything, so I followed up with a quick “Hi, would love to get the ball rolling,” because this was only like three weeks before the show. And then they just sent over a mood board and said, “Here’s what we want to do.” I thought it would be a little bit more like “Here’s what we’re thinking,” but we just immediately jumped into it. It was very quick and a lot of fun.

How many cakes did they ask for?  

They asked for ten. There were only two onstage, but because of all the rehearsals, they needed quite a few. But ten felt totally manageable. Then a few days later, they’re like, “Actually, we’re going to need 20.” I work very quickly, and I’m used to making a lot of cakes so it was a pretty easy turnaround. But I ended up making 20 cakes.

What did they say they wanted them to look like? 

Their art department made all of the final calls, but they let me have a decent amount of creative freedom. The reason they came to me is they really liked my style: the vintage, classic-looking cakes that are highly decorated. They knew they wanted one to be entirely white, and they knew they wanted one of them to say “Sweet girl” on top. That’s the one that was stabbed. For the other one, they let me pitch color ideas, and because Olivia’s whole thing is purple, I thought a purple could be fun. But we actually ended up going with red, white, and pink.

What flavors were they? 

They both were red velvet, which they decided on. We knew the white one was going to be red velvet just because stabbing into a white cake and having it be red inside is pretty cool. The cake she smeared on herself and the cake she stabbed were completely different frosting styles. They were baked entirely differently because of the very different consistencies needed for each of those.

Clockwise from left: Photo: Saint Street CakesPhoto: Saint Street CakesPhoto: Saint Street Cakes
From top: Photo: Saint Street CakesPhoto: Saint Street CakesPhoto: Saint Street Cakes

Yeah, I was curious about that. So they had to be made differently for stepping on and smearing and stabbing? 

At first, I didn’t realize we’d have to change that because they just asked for regular cakes and said they wanted a knife to stand up and stay standing in the stabbed cake. They asked me to just straight-up underbake the cakes that were smeared, but I figured underbaking them was actually pretty unsafe. So instead, I ended up doing just a really deep simple-syrup wash, which is kind of like if you’ve had tres leches cake, how it’s a moist, soaked cake. They wanted it to spread all over her dress, so I kept it really, really moist and then added a simple-syrup wash. Then I reverse engineered a whipped-cream frosting with gelatin so it would be stable but also stick to her. For the stab cake, my regular frosting is American buttercream, which is super-stable, so I stuck to my regular frosting recipe and then slightly overbaked those cakes so they would be dry enough to keep the knife standing up.

Had you ever made a cake for other non-eating events, or was this the first time?

I’ve made cakes for photo shoots. I mean, I handed them out to eat afterward, but they were for a photo shoot. I’ve never assumed the cake would just be destroyed and no one would eat it.

Was it sad at all to see Olivia destroy your cakes? Or was it okay because it was Olivia Rodrigo?

I was super-surprised by how many comments were saying, like, “It would be so sad to see my cake getting destroyed.” For me, I thought it was awesome. I was so excited to see her just absolutely destroy them. The first time I saw the rehearsal videos, I burst into tears because I was so excited just to see the artistic director’s dream coming through and having my cakes be such a big part of it.

Have you noticed an uptick in followers and orders since SNL and your posting about everything? 

Definitely. I really didn’t expect to. I’ve gained like 3,000 followers on TikTok and a few hundred on Instagram. I posted it 24 hours ago. Oddly, I posted a joking Twitter meme of a person standing in the corner at a party, and I think the original one was like, “They don’t know what happened to me,” or something stupid. So it’s that guy holding my two cakes, and I put, “They don’t know I made the cakes for Olivia Rodrigo’s SNL performance.” That’s gotten a lot of retweets, and my Twitter doesn’t even have anything to do with my cakes.

What made you decide to post the countdown on TikTok?

This was the coolest week so far in my cake career. I figured just posting one video at the end of the week would be really fun, but I wanted to build up the excitement to it so I did the week leading up to it, too. I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone about it but was hoping my followers would guess in the comments what they thought was going on.

Photo: Saint Street Cakes

Did anyone guess correctly?

Actually, on the final day, someone commented on a few posts: “It’s for Olivia’s SNL performance, I know it is.” I ended up deleting two of their comments because I was concerned, but I did keep one up.

You should give them a free cake or something. 

I did think about reaching out.

Unrelated but equally as important, where are your baking smocks from? 

A lot of people are asking that. They’re from Etsy. I have three, and I got them as a gift from my mom. They’re so fun and have high coverage. I get frosting everywhere, so it’s great to have a full smock. And I hate regular aprons.

Obviously, making cakes for Olivia Rodrigo is a huge win, but who else would be your dream person to make a cake for? 

The first person who comes to mind is Ina Garten. I’ve been watching so many of her videos recently, and getting her stamp of approval would be amazing.

What It’s Like to Have Olivia Rodrigo Stab Your Cakes