New Bakeries Cater To A Weakness For Sweetness

By Michael Futch The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) From an Army veteran who specializes in making "kolaches" -- a type of pastry that holds a dollop of fruit or meat filling to two fourth grade teachers who've partnered on a new home-based dessert shop, WOMEN are cooking up sweet success in one North Carolina community.

The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.

A couple of new bakeries, both specializing in desserts, have sweetened the landscape.

Cakes & Kolaches Pastry Emporia is open in the former location of the Great Harvest Bread Co. on Raeford Road.

Owned and operated by Army veteran Ann Blanding, the shop promotes "sweet and savory pastries from around the world with an American twist."

The bakery, at 2711 Raeford Road, Suite 112, held a soft opening on July 5.

"It's something different," said Blanding, who is 33 and a native of Bennettsville, South Carolina. "We bake everything here fresh. Everything we make is homemade and fresh."

She started the business out of her home in Raeford, selling baked goods at carnivals, festivals and agricultural fairs. After concluding a 12-year military career as a sergeant in 2015, Blanding bought a home and decided to stay put.

"When it's time to make a change," she said from her business on Friday, "you just move with it. I wanted something to keep me stationary for awhile."

Blanding bought the bakery from Great Harvest owners Cyndy and Tim Murphy, who have since retired. She decided against retaining the Great Harvest franchise, saying it was too expensive. "We already operated under this business name," she said of Cakes & Kolaches. "It's kind of like my baby, and I didn't want to give it up."

Customers can choose from a selection of cookies, cakes, cupcakes and muffins. But as Blanding points out, the house specialty are the kolaches -- a type of pastry that hold a dollop of fruit or meat filling. They include a blueberry cream cheese and a cream cheese and chocolate. The meat lover may opt for the pepperoni pizza or jalapeno cheddar smoked sausage kolache.

"I can't keep product out fast enough," she said.

Blanding anticipates offering a modest selection of breads, including white, wheat, apple cinnamon and a five-fiber loaf once she has worked out a recipe.

"We're just getting settled," she told one customer before the woman walked out with a caramel apple cinnamon muffin.

Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The bakery is closed on Thursdays.

Home-based dessert shop A couple of fourth-grade teachers at Cumberland Mills Elementary School have partnered on a new home-based dessert shop in Hope Mills.

Nyree Henderson and Lindsey Cabaco are the baker and the artist and decorator, respectively, at LREEZ Decadent Desserts.

"We're accepting orders at this point," said Henderson, 44, who emphasized that the business holds a certification from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "The USDA licensed my kitchen. We are an official business, even though it's out of the home."

These two small business entrepreneurs will showcase their sweet things with a taste testing at CEED during Fourth Friday activities this coming Friday. Hours will be 5 to 7 p.m.

"We don't have a storefront," Henderson said, "which is why CEED is sponsoring us. We're hoping within the next year or two to have a storefront."

For Fourth Friday, samples of the shop's cupcakes and cookies will be available. That night, customers interested in ordering their desserts will have the opportunity to prebook orders, while saving 10 percent on the purchase.

Henderson had tried a couple of times before to start a baking business, she said, but those partnerships failed to pan out. "Lindsey and I are both fourth-grade teachers," she said. "She told me about her cakes, and decorating them. She said she didn't like to bake. I said, 'Oh, my God. I love to bake.' She loves to decorate, and I love to bake. There's not much that we can't make, as far as desserts.

"If somebody wants something," Henderson said, "we'll make it."

Their vanilla cake, with its signature butter cream, reigns as the most requested item.

"It is absolutely awesome," Henderson said.

But the carrot cake, she added, ranks a high second on the list.

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