Kathryn Skelton Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Kathryn Skelton reports, Bambi Williams opened "Baked By Bambi "from her home in October, partly, she said, from a renewed love of baking and partly to show her kids that you're never too old to go for it."
Growing up, Bambi Williams played visit my bakery instead of playing house. Living in New York for almost a decade, she worked in a school and catered on the side, introducing friends and colleagues to Maine whoopie pies, an instant hit.
Back in Maine in 2012, baking took a back burner to family and career. Furloughed from a day care job last spring, she started up again. Williams opened Baked By Bambi from her home in October, partly, she said, from a renewed love of baking and partly to show her kids that you're never too old to go for it.
She plans to open a retail storefront in late spring.
"It makes me nervous, nervous happiness that you get when you're about ready to do something that you've wanted to do your whole life," Williams, 48, said.
Her specialty is mouth-watering desserts and baked goods: Brownie bottom chocolate swirl cheesecake. Strawberry cream cheese muffins. Gingerbread whoopie pies with eggnog filling.
For the more health-conscious, there's Keto-diet inspired avocado peanut butter brownies, vegan chocolate zucchini muffins, dairy-free, gluten-free banana coffee cake.
She posts the week's menu online each Monday, takes orders through early Thursday morning and meets customers in an Auburn parking lot on Friday afternoons, or delivers for a fee.
At first, going through her recipes last year was a way to keep busy during the pandemic.
"We had just moved into a new home, I became an empty nester all in the same period of time," Williams said. "I kind of did it to keep my brain occupied instead of sitting on the couch."
Soon friends were chiming in, "Oh! We'll buy that."
She left her day care job in June and got her kitchen licensed in September.
"I really realized how much I missed the passion of baking for people and the smiles that it puts on their faces when they're seeing their products, their cupcakes, for the first time and knowing I made it," Williams said. "Making them happy was something that I really had missed."
Her menus repeat every four weeks. At Christmastime, she was busy with hot cocoa bombs, at Valentine's Day with Oreo-stuffed red velvet cupcakes.
"My husband is a die-hard peanut butter fan, so I've started making homemade Nutter Butters," she said.
She bakes three to four cakes a month, recently getting her first order for a wedding cake in September.
Williams has been working with a SCORE mentor and Community Concepts, drawing up a business plan and taking steps toward a retail bakery with larger kitchen space and walk-in customers.
"I always wanted to go to school to be a chef, but after I had my kids, that kind of went to the wayside," she said, instead, spending 20-plus years in schools and caring for children. "It's something that has always been in the back of my mind. I think I did all those things hoping that someday all those little jobs and tasks of doing things would pay off and that this would happen." ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.