‘Baking is who I am’: Through the eyes of Lily Guggenheim


Photo credit: Marc Guggenheim

Guggenheim participates in a cinnamon croissant baking class at Sur La Table. Guggenheim dedicates her free time to learning different baking skills.

By Lizette Gonzalez, Features Editor

Ever since junior Lily Guggenheim came to Archer, she has participated in the Class of 2023’s annual baking contest. From hand-crafted sugar flowers to a vampire themed chocolate cake, her treats have always been at the contest’s table. Guggenheim has won the bakeoff for the past two years and is now known for her baking skills in the Archer community.

“The first year, I learned not everyone knew what sugar flowers were or understood how much time and effort goes into them,” Guggenheim said. “I’ve been creative with all of my different entries, and sharing what I bake has made me feel like I have a place here.”

For Guggenheim, it has become a tradition to bring her treats to school after she bakes to share them with her friends. She said doing so has created a special bond within her friend group because she is able to demonstrate her care for them through baking.

“All of my friends taste-test for me. They never say no whenever I bring in things, even new things, which is a little detail, but it means a lot,” Guggenheim said. “I love it when they ask me to make their wedding or birthday cakes in the future. To know that my friends want me to be a part of their life in a big way is more than special.”

Something that I’ve always planned on when going off to college is no matter where I am at, there will always be a bakery and somewhere I can work. I’m not sure if I want to pursue this as a career, but I love it and I don’t see a future without baking.

— Lily Guggenheim ('23)

Junior Gizelle Moran is a close friend of Guggenheim and received a cake from her to celebrate her birthday. Moran said she has seen the hard work Guggenheim puts into every treat she makes, and sees how baking is Guggenheim’s love language.

“I felt genuinely cared about — it was such a kind gesture that she would spend her time to make it for me,” Moran said. “She really bakes out of love. She puts so much care and time into her work.”

Additionally, Guggenheim has found support outside of Archer. She created an Instagram account dedicated to sharing her cakes, cookies, pastries and her specialty: sugar flowers.

It’s just been a place where I can post and show things. I would post them on my regular account, but I would just do it as a story and now it’s up all of the time, which is so cool,” Guggenheim said. “It’s been fun. I’ve sold a few different pastries and cakes and met some other bakers too. It’s been a really positive experience.”

Guggenheim said the first time she began to bake on her own was during the application process to independent schools. Due to her school schedule, she bakes mostly on the weekends. She said she has always used baking as an avenue to relieve stress and also to celebrate accomplishments.

“The first time that I really started baking by myself was in eighth grade. I was applying to high schools, and I was really stressed out. So to celebrate me getting into high schools, I made a cake and it really went on from there,” Guggenheim said. “It’s hard now because being a junior I’m so busy, so I mostly bake on the weekends. I’ll do a little bit of baking during the week, but the harder and bigger stuff I save for later in order to keep it as a fun thing to do.” 

Although Guggenheim isn’t sure if she sees baking as a career in the future, she said she would love to still continue baking in her free time because it has enabled her to figure out more aspects of her identity.

“I’ve learned so much about myself through baking and learned so much about my creativity too,” Guggenheim said. “I’ve done a lot of stuff that I’ve never thought I would be able to do. Many people think it comes easy, but it doesn’t. There’s a lot of practice, a lot of hours and a lot of time put into this because I love it so much. It’s become a part of who I am.”

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  • This is a vanilla cake with fresh florals, which Guggenheim baked to celebrate her birthday last March.

    Photo credit: Lily Guggenheim
  • Guggenheim’s speciality is her handmade sugar flowers she creates to add on top of different pastries. This cake is a chocolate mocha with an array of fall-themed sugar flowers.

    Photo credit: Lily Guggenheim
  • In honor of Valentine’s Day, Guggenheim created a heart-shaped Saint Honoré cake, which is made of cream puffs and hints of caramel.

    Photo credit: Lily Guggenheim
  • For this cake, Guggenheim was inspired by Emily Dickens’ poem, “The Daisy Follows the Soft Sun.” The cake itself is styrofoam, but it took Guggenheim a week to create as it composes embroidery appliqué, ruffling, Japanese anemone and other decor techniques.

    Photo credit: Lily Guggenheim
  • Guggenheim has experimented with meshing different flavors and baking skills. These are “cruffins,” a mixture of croissants and muffins. The cruffins on the right are matcha and raspberry flavored, and the ones on the left are orange and chocolate flavored.

    Photo credit: Lily Guggenheim
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