By Chelsea Rose Moore
One of the highlights of a wedding is always the dessert. Two local bakeries shared the stories behind their cakes, giving us a glimpse at the people behind the sweet treats. Here is a look at their creative process.
As a young girl, Megan McGlynn would walk down the street to an old German bakery. The bakery door would open, and the smell of baking bread was almost intoxicating. She would gaze at loaves of sunflower seed bread styled in cases, and watch the bakers move loaves from the oven with large wooden paddles. Visiting that old bakery was a deeply memorable experience for her.
Her childhood memory of the bakery – or perhaps, more specifically, the way it made her feel – is the same experience she hopes to recreate for her clients at Scout’s Bakeshop. Megan never planned on baking. If anything, the baker’s life chose her. She never attended culinary school and never dreamt of becoming a pastry chef. Making a cake from a box was her preferred method of baking, and she was okay with that.
She spent most of her childhood in Loudoun County, but relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area while working a corporate sales position. Unhappy in her role, her husband encouraged her to quit her job and find something that made her truly happy. She saw a Craigslist ad from a successful cupcake shop and applied for a sales position. Then, the owner wanted to teach her to bake.
It was there she discovered her passion for baking. She loved taking ingredients and transforming them into something beautiful and delicious. She loved watching children walk in the shop with smiles, leaving bits of frosting on their faces after finishing their cupcakes. Cupcakes were a simple luxury that could change a person’s mood or make their day better.
From there, Megan had a daughter, relocated to her home of Loudoun County, and headed back into the corporate world. She continually received baking orders from family and friends and decided to see if she could make baking full-time happen. A year and a half ago, she launched her bakeshop.
The bakery’s name – Scout’s Bakeshop – was inspired by the weekend she met her husband. She told him she had been a girl scout, and he nicknamed her “Scout.” When she opened her bakery, she loved the way Scout’s Bakeshop referenced her husband’s term of endearment, because he was the reason she found her love of baking.
She introduced herself to Loudoun’s wedding scene a year ago. She built a partnership with Bluewater Kitchen, a farm-to-table catering company, where she serves as their pastry chef. For clients of Scout’s Bakeshop, she bakes out of her home. “Loudoun County is really growing,” she said, “This was not a wedding destination when I grew up here. The vineyards were just being planted then.”
She originally presented sculpted cakes covered in fondant and sugar flowers, but her aesthetic has evolved over the year, becoming more relaxed to match the unique style found in Loudoun County. “The market here in Loudoun County is different than the more couture cakes you see in DC. The aesthetic in Loudoun is elegant, but indicative of the experiences [brides] want their guests to have. Most weddings here are in beautiful barns or vineyards, and most brides choose buttercream, textured buttercream, or semi-naked cakes. Loudoun weddings have a laid-back elegance.”
When she started baking, she focused on perfect-looking cakes covered in fondant. “By the end of last year, I was starting to embrace the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi: finding beauty and recognizing the beauty in imperfection,” she said, “I think there’s a really beautiful elegance that comes from imperfection.”
Her work has shifted to leaving edges slightly rough for a finished-but-unfinished look. “I think that imperfection is really a reflection of marriage. There’s sweetness in that imperfection.”
She noted that on a wedding day, brides are focused on having the perfect day: the perfect hair, the perfect dress, the perfect makeup. But sometimes, it’s the little imperfections that make the day sweeter. And usually, it’s the imperfections that stay with people, even years after the wedding day
When she bakes, she listens to podcasts or music. Her most-played tunes vary from Hawaiian to piano music, from Dolly Parton to Bob Marley to Walk the Moon, but she pulls inspiration from the world around her. While dining in a restaurant, she might see a new, intriguing flavor combination on the menu and experiment with similar flavors in her cakes. Or she’ll see an innovative pairing on Instagram and it will spark an idea. What inspires her most though? Her clients.
She loves meeting clients with unique cultural backgrounds and integrating flavors from their “cultural culinary profile” into the desserts she prepares for them. She has a list of specific questions she asks every client: What is your vision for your wedding? How do you want to incorporate your family traditions into your wedding? She learns about their cultural backgrounds, and as she listens, she feels the flavors coming together in her mind.
“It’s not really just cake; it’s the flavor of your event,” she said, “Some brides will wear a special perfume on their wedding, and then maybe wear it again on their anniversaries. Whenever they smell it, they are reminded of their wedding day. I like to create a memorable experience that can be recreated in so many ways.”
Learn more by visiting scoutsbakeshop.com. For couples with dietary restrictions, Megan offers gluten-free and vegan dessert options.
Sweet Rose Bakeshop
Tanya Goon & Elizabeth Zadik
Tanya and Andy Goon have loved Purcellville for years. They would visit monthly, stopping at breweries and admiring the town’s quaint charm. One day, while walking through town, they stumbled upon an empty storefront. Tanya looked in the window and knew she had discovered the location of her future bakery.
Sweet Rose Bakeshop is a two-family business. Owned by Tayna and good friend Elizabeth Zadik, they employee their teenage and adult children at the store. “We get to be a family here,” said Tanya’s husband, Andy, who is the bakery’s administrator.
What started as a home-based business has turned into a beloved Purcellville bakeshop. Tayna, the cake decorator, and Elizabeth, the pastry chef, believe they are filling a need in the town by providing baked goods for locals.
Not just a cake shop, they serve breakfast pastries, croissant sandwiches (think ham, spinach, and feta on a freshly baked croissant), and after-dinner desserts. Drop in and grab a cookie, a loaf of bread, or a cupcake. They even offer cheesecakes and pies.
They love making cakes for weddings and other celebrations. Tayna works her cake-decorating magic by sculpting fondant figurines and adding floral embellishments.
For couples who love having options, the duo even create donut and cupcake tiers for weddings. Can’t nail down a cake flavor? While cakes offer limited flavor combinations, cupcakes provide unlimited choices, they said. Place an order for 200 cupcakes and pick 10-20 different flavors.
“People come in here happy and they leave happy,” said Andy, “There are not many businesses where the customer is in that frame of mind. It’s so rewarding to all of us here. Seeing the smiles… seeing the kids come in and their eyes light up – it keeps us motivated.”
Stop inside Sweet Rose Bakeshop and say hello to Tanya and Elizabeth. Visit their website to learn more or place a custom order athttp://sweetrosebakeshop.com sweetrosebakeshop.com.
This article first appeared in the February issue of Middleburg Life.