Ro Zinniger, Professional Cake Artist & Instructor



Written by  Pam Kragen, Dec. 21, 2012
Rosanne Zinniger, author of “Gourmet Cupcakes: From Scratch, Simple and Easy.” CREDIT: Rosanne Zinniger
Rosanne Zinniger didn’t fall in love with cupcakes because they’re trendy or tasty. But as a teaching pastry chef, she found that testing recipes for a single serving was far easier on her thighs than a whole layer cake.
“I don’t have any self-control. If I made a cake for every recipe I’ve created over the years, I’d weigh 500 pounds,” said Zinniger, who this month self-published her first cookbook, “Gourmet Cupcakes: From Scratch, Simple and Easy.”
The no-frills, 40-page black-and-white cookbook contains 15 of Zinniger’s most popular recipes from her baking school, Ro Z’s Sweet Art Studio, a 41/2-year-old San Marcos kitchen where she teaches workshops in cake-making and -decorating, cupcakes, cookies and more. She wrote the book at the urging of her students, who wanted her recipes in a collected format.
Cupcake recipes include Spumoni (a tribute to Zinniger’s Italian heritage), Gourmet Caramel Apple, Black Bottom, Mojito Rosito (key lime with a shot of Captain Morgan Rum) and her personal favorite, Brownie Cream Cheese (“I’m a chocoholic and it’s just decadent”).
Zinniger said the secret to a good scratch cupcake starts with quality ingredients. Choose name-brand butter (bargain brands can have water added as filler), use cake flour rather than all-purpose (for better crumb texture), and use oil-based (rather than alcohol-based) extracts because they don’t burn off and the oil adheres to the butterfat. For a lighter consistency, she also advises not to overmix ingredients.  
And when it comes to frosting? Zinniger says she could write another book on that (and may, someday). Very sweet cakes are better with whipped cream or mascarpone frostings to cut the sugar. Cupcakes for a crowd do best with a stiff buttercream that holds up all day. And some cupcakes need no frosting at all.
Each recipe in the book makes 24 or more cupcakes. They’re easy enough for teens to make, and all ingredients can be found at supermarkets or specialty food shops. The book is sold on for $9.99 and is also available at her school. Still to come are cookbooks on cake making and decorating and gluten-free desserts.

Press Release February 1, 2011: 
Ro Zinniger, owner of Ro Z’s (pronounced Rosie’s) Sweet Art Studio has been a professional Cake Stylist and Instructor for over 10 years. Ro grew up in an Italian household and was exposed to baking at an early age. Cake Decorating for Ro began as a hobby and the decorating portion was inspired by Ro’s love of crafting. Ro did her first wedding cake, for a friend, at the age of 19. Ro graduated from SDSU, has graduate studies under her belt, and had worked in the corporate world until 15 years ago when she experienced a life changing event that led her back to her love of decorating. Ro created Cakes by Rosanne and sold her creations, but was still yearning for more. So she began teaching her love of decorating to others. In order to become more proficient in the craft, she studied with Cake Decorating greats that include her mentor Colette Peters, Debbie Brown, Mark Seaman, Norm Davis/Zane Berg, Ruth Rickey, Kathy Scott, Laurie Bradach. Her forte lies within the art of fondant as it is so pliable and clay-like allowing for a variety of design applications. She is a celebrity in her own right having appeared on the Food Network, Celebrity Chef – Disney Food and Wine Festival, TLC Fabulous Cakes - Southern California series, and various local television stations. Ro is passionate about teaching others. She utilizes demonstration technique and graduates hands on with the students helping them throughout the class achieve the techniques taught. Ro’s philosophy is to not only show the technique, but to make sure the student understands the mechanics behind the technique in order to ensure they are successful. Her non-intimidating approach has led to hundreds of student success stories. She joined Alchemy of the Hearth as a guest instructor teaching the art of fondant, sugar art and cake decor in early 2011. Presently, Ro Zinniger is partnered with Satin Fine Foods - Rolled Fondant and Gumpaste, where she demonstrates and teaches with their products, and she also sells their products in her retail store. Ro has also added the Helen Woodward Animal Center, Cupcakes for Critters charity to her list of non-profits that she supports.
"I completed the cake design program through Palomar College with Ro. She gives a very thorough teaching of cake decorating techniques while helping each student with their individual needs and encourages them to grow creatively as an artist, while creating a fun and comfortable environment. She's helped me find my passion for cake and design and I love how she's shared all the tips and tricks she's gathered through her experiences. Ro is the Best!"

"Ro is a phenomenal instructor; clear, concise and patient. She is very passionate about her craft and supportive of each student’s efforts and talents and made the classes fun and interesting."

SAN MARCOS: Frosty the cake
 San Diego Union Tribune Photo
 (Photo by Don Boomer - Staff photographer)
Cake designer Ro Zinnger explains how some of the holiday-themed cakes were made to Laken Bose and Luann Hansen at Ro Z's Sweet Art Studio on Saturday. The cakes were among 28 in a contest that featured adult and teen students' designed cakes at the San Marcos cake-decorating school. Posted in San-marcos onSaturday, December 19, 2009 9:50 pm Updated: 10:06 pm.| Tags: Inland, Nct, News, San Marcos,

Hobby shop hosts first holiday-themed workshop  12/1/2009  By Pfc. Daniel Boothe, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton   MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — Culinary professionals revealed cookie decorating secrets to nearly thirty base residents at Camp Pendleton’s Arts and Crafts Hobby Shop, Nov. 17.The hobby shop’s first holiday-themed class became a reality when more than one hundred service members and their families specifically requested the workshop during a survey, conducted in late August."We are always thinking outside the box and listening for new ideas," said Angela M. Frasier, Pendleton’s Arts and Crafts hobby shop manager and military spouse. "Our ears are always open."The culinary class cost each participant $32 and provided them with a dozen cookies, formal instruction, decorating utensils, and a box to take finished products home.


Ro is excited to give back to the community! Here are a list of charities that she has provided services, funds and support to since opening in August 2008:

Icing Smiles Organization
Ro Z's Sweet Art Studio / Ro Zinniger, Owner is the California State Sponsor for the Icing Smiles charity! Icing Smiles is an organization that provides a terminally ill child with their desire in a birthday cake - they grant cake wishes. As a California State Sponsor, I am happy to be able to give back, and be able to support an Icing Smile creation! For more information on how to get involved, please go to or donate today by going to Cakes for Charity!

Ro has also sponsored many other charities, including:
  • Carlsbad Art Splash Organization: 2010, 2011, 2012
  • Helen Woodward Animal Center: Cupcakes for Critters Campaign, 2011
  • The Boys and Girls Club of San Marcos: 2010, 2012
  • San Marcos District Schools: 2010, 2011
  • Epilespy Foundation of San Diego: 2009
  • Susan G. Komen Foundation: 2011, 2013
  • Palomar College Foundation: 2010
  • American Diabetes Foundation: 2012
  • Pala Indian Reservation Workforce Program: 2010 
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