You recently opened the Sweet Shoppe. What inspired that?
About five years ago I was baking cakes for friends and family on a regular basis. I realized how much I enjoyed it and dreamed of opening a shop someday. I decided to go to pastry school to get a better understanding of all things pastry. Once I finished my associate degree in pastry arts at Bristol Community College, I really started thinking about what kind of shop I wanted to open. I worked a season at Blackstone Caterers and as things slowed down in the fall, I started planning.
Have you always loved baking?
Actually, I have not. I was never much of a chef until I had a family and had to cook out of necessity. I baked my son’s first birthday cake and I was hooked. My hobby grew from there.
Are your pastries made fresh daily?
Yes. We come in early every morning to bake, ensuring that our product is as fresh as possible. We also make all of our own frostings, buttercreams and fillings; the only exception being the raspberry and strawberry fillings. For these, I sought out the best quality fillings I could find through Newport Specialty.
If I could try only one of your pastries, which would you recommend?
For the peanut butter lover, I recommend the Peanut Butter Dream Cupcake. It is a chocolate cupcake filled with a peanut butter mousse, topped with vanilla bean buttercream and Reese’s crumbles.
How many cupcake flavors do you offer?
On a daily basis we offer eight different varieties. We also make a special cupcake every week.
Do you offer dietary alternatives, such as vegan or gluten-free?
We do offer gluten-free products by special order. I have a gluten intolerance so I’ve had to learn to adapt my recipes for my own personal needs. We can make gluten-free cakes, cupcakes, cookies, muffins and cheesecakes.
How difficult is it to design and build a cake?
This depends on the cake. I have done simple cakes for bridal showers: clean and elegant with just some simple flowers for detail. I have also done a Yankees-themed wedding cake in which the base tier was the Yankees Stadium faade. This cake took a lot of research and careful planning to be sure I got it just right for the couple on their important day.
Do any cakes stand out as the most memorable?
One of my most memorable cakes was one I made for my godson. It was a cake carved in the shape of a dragon by the name of Toothless from the Disney movie How to Train Your Dragon. This was one that took a lot of planning. It needed a board with a special support built in and a handmade figurine of Hiccup, who rode Toothless. He loved it.
How exciting is it to bake for a living?
It really is such a fun profession. I love baking and the creativity of cake decorating. I also enjoy seeing people’s reaction when they’re picking up a custom cake or leaving with their dozen cupcakes.