Light Rain
41°FLight RainFull Forecast

Midnight magic in Morrison

Dad turns late-night hobby into sweet career at home

Published: Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
(Philip Marruffo/
Matthew Henthorn of the Midnight Cake Shop works on a cake in his Morrison home. What started as a late-night hobby while he worked full time at St. Ambrose College has turned into a home business for Henthorn. "I started out doing cakes a night," he said, "... and that is where the name Midnight Cake Shop was taken from."
(Philip Marruffo/
Henthorn makes a guitar cake that's a duplicate of a real guitar that he takes with him to bridal shows. Hand painting and sculpting cakes is his specialty.

MORRISON – Creativity might be the sweetest ingredient at Matthew Henthorn’s Midnight Cake Shop. 

For Henthorn, 32, who once worked in the financial aid office at St. Ambrose College in Davenport, Iowa, baking was simply a hobby that started one day when he made a birthday cake for his daughter.

Then the fever took hold.

“I started out doing cakes at night while working full time, and that is where the name Midnight Cake Shop was taken from,” he said. “Now, I work at home, and doing this has provided the opportunity to create our own schedules and eventually homeschool our children.”

He and his wife, Monica, 31, a legal secretary, have three children: Cadence, 7, Ophelia, 4, and Judah, almost 2.

Midnight Cake, in business officially since 2011, offers cakes for all occasions, and in a wide variety of flavors, such margarita cake with key lime frosting and strawberry daiquiri cake. Another popular choice: the s’mores cake, made from graham cracker cake with chocolate ganache and toasted marshmallow frosting.

The self-described cake snob prides himself on creating only high-quality confections.

“Everything I create is custom-made to order,” he said. “I give every customer the best that I can possibly make.”

For instance: “I went through half a dozen recipes for our red velvet cake before I found the perfect one. Instead of cream cheese frosting, ours has an amaretto butter cream frosting. I also do a lot of cake flavors by request, including a Jameson whiskey frosting.”

He also makes flowers, figurines, and cupcakes.

Elaborate birthday cakes are trending in popularity, he noted, and that fits his talents to a T. Hand painting and sculpting cakes is Henthorn’s specialty.

For example, he makes a rockin’ guitar cake; it’s a duplicate of a real guitar that he takes with him to bridal shows.

He also is seeing more interest in glamour cakes, those influenced by high fashion that often feature brooches, bling, and patterns. Painting by hand means he can re-create all kinds of patterns, simple or elaborate, even those taken from fabric.

Piece o' cake

Reach Midnight Cake Shop at or 815-590-9572.

See examples of owner Matt Henthorn's creations at, or find the shop on Facebook.

Get breaking news sent to your phone. Sign up for text alerts from Sauk Valley Media!

National video

Reader Poll

There’s a movement afoot in the Illinois Legislature to name former President Barack Obama’s birthday (Aug. 4) as a legal holiday in Illinois. What do you think?
Good idea
Bad idea
Not sure
No opinion