United: One cake at a time
For Amanda Vandervort, there’s a clear connection between two of the biggest passions in her life — working at Major League Soccer and baking cakes.
“I like the ephemeral nature of cake; it reminds me a little bit of social media in that you can post a tweet, it’s out there, and then it’s gone. I love that I can create something that can bring people joy and happiness, and then it’s gone,” said Vandervort, who is MLS’s vice president of fan engagement.
Vandervort, who rarely ate dessert and was not a baker, discovered her love of cake making about four years ago, when a friend invited her over for dinner and asked her to make something for dessert. She thought she would challenge herself by baking an almond cake and topping it with decorations made with marzipan.
Vandervort enjoyed the decorating experience so much that she later enrolled in a six-hour cake class where she learned to make and roll edible icing, known as fondant. Almost immediately after, she cashed in wedding gift cards to outfit her kitchen with baking supplies. Since then, she has never made the same cake twice, producing dozens out of her home kitchen in Brooklyn.
“It’s a lot of practice, and hours and hours of trial and error, but the creativity brings me back to it,” she said, noting that this particular cake to celebrate the United Bid Committee winning the 2026 World Cup took her roughly 40 hours to make. She confessed that she originally made a cake to celebrate the submission of the bid, but it collapsed and “never left my apartment.”
Vandervort’s cake creations have helped celebrate the league’s 20th anniversary season and MLS Commissioner Don Garber’s birthday (it was topped by a miniature version of his dog, Boo Radley, that was molded out of Rice Krispies), as well as her co-workers’ weddings and newborns. She doesn’t ask to be paid for her work — only to cover the cost of the ingredients — and said that her goal is not to become the next “Cake Boss,” but rather to “make more people happy.”
“I like bringing people together around special moments in their lives,” Vandervort said. “It allows us to bring a little bit of our outside lives and humanity into the office and celebrate each other as people, and to me that’s important.”