Yara Shahidi Learned to Decorate Cakes Over Zoom for Prime Video's ‘Sitting in Bars with Cake’

PEOPLE spoke with the film's culinary producer-food stylist Megan Potthoff ahead of the Sept. 8 premiere

<p>Saeed Adyani/Prime Video</p> Odessa A

Saeed Adyani/Prime Video

Odessa A'zion and Yara Shahidi in Sitting in Bars with Cake (2023)

Yara Shahidi is the star of her new Prime Video movie, but there is another, unexpected main character — cake!

Sitting in Bars with Cake, streaming now, sees lifelong pals Jane (Shahidi) and Corinne (Odessa A’zion) navigate their 20s in Los Angeles, using dessert as a dating tool of sorts. When a medical diagnosis changes things forever, the two continue on with their "cakebarring" experiment, laughing and learning about each other in the process.

The movie is written by Audrey Shulman and is based on her 2015 book of the same name. It's inspired by true events, so many of the cakes seen in the film were actual treats Shulman had made — and named — in the book. Bringing them to life made for a fun job for culinary producer and food stylist Megan Potthoff.

<p>Courtesy of Megan Potthoff</p> Cakes from 'Sitting in Bars with Cake'

Courtesy of Megan Potthoff

Cakes from 'Sitting in Bars with Cake'

"One of them was the 'licorice and leather cake.' So I'm like, 'Okay, we have to make a cake that reads that,'" Potthoff tells PEOPLE. "It was a process of trying to fall in line with what the cake name was, and then we also wanted the design to be super fun and exciting and wacky at the same time."

Potthoff made about five of each cake seen in the movie in her home kitchen — but Shahidi had to have the skills to perform on camera.

"We actually had a Zoom class together, where I had a little setup and then she had the exact same identical setup. So I could tell her, 'Okay, pull out this tip and pull out the green frosting,'" she says. "I taught her how to frost a cake and decorate it over Zoom."

After just one class Shahidi had it down. "She did an amazing job," says Potthoff.

<p>Courtesy of Megan Potthoff</p> The Chinese prune cake from 'Sitting in Bars with Cake'

Courtesy of Megan Potthoff

The Chinese prune cake from 'Sitting in Bars with Cake'

Potthoff's favorite cake from the movie was "hard to choose," she says. "But I do love the Chinese prune cake, which was a cake we only saw in the fridge. It was this pretty, lavender color and we studded it with pressed, edible flowers, and it just looked like a floral landscape on the sides. And that resonated with my own style, so I really liked that one a lot."

Basically all the cakes on set were real cake (not dummies) and were cut and eaten. So is Potthoff sick of cake yet?

"You know what? No," she says with a laugh. Even more impressive, "I still love making cakes," she adds.

Sitting in Bars with Cake is streaming now on Prime Video.

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