FRENCH CREEK – You never know where you might find a top-notch bakery – or cakery, for that matter – tucked away in a sweet spot in Upshur County.
Most recently, My Buckhannon discovered The French Cakery, which offers traditional cakes, fudge cookies, apple dumplings, pecan rolls, muffins and other specialty, mouth-watering baked goods – not to mention their do-it-yourself kits for families to enjoy at home.
A cakery specializes in producing and selling cakes, but they typically also make cupcakes, muffins, sponges, as well as other baked goods that fall into the category of cake, such as the Cakery’s orange and raspberry cinnamon buns.
Owner Megan Smith said she opened the French Creek Cakery at the end of May.
“I always really loved baking,” she said. “It was something I’d always wanted to do, and then the cottage food operation laws kind of expanded and finally made it possible for me to do that from my own home, and it seemed like the perfect time,” Smith said. “I was tired of working retail and not seeing my kids, so now I have the best of both worlds: I’m home with them, and I get to bake which I love to do.”
Cottage food laws are essentially laws that allow small-time producers to use appliances in their homes to bake, cook, candy, can and more certain low-risk foods for sale.
She said her most popular items have been fudge cookies, which are like fudge rounds, and the pecan rolls.
“My grandma and my mom always made everything from scratch,” Smith said. “They do a lot of home-canned foods and they always had a great big garden, and I’ve grown up around people who bake their own desserts and had homemade birthday cakes.”
She said her bakery does not currently have a shop location, so she posts items on Facebook, and people can either call her or message her on Facebook for specific orders.
“I usually ask for a three-day notice for an order, but if I have everything I need here, then I just can make it sooner,” Smith said. “They just place the order with me, and then I get back to them with the pick-up time and date, and they can just come pick it up.”
Certain items such as muffins and cookies can be ordered by the half-dozen or a dozen, but pies and cakes are sold individually.
“Since I don’t have a real shop, it’s hard to sell individual cookies, but with the cinnamon rolls and the pecan rolls, those will fit nine in the pan, so I usually sell those in batches of nine,” Smith said.
Smith offers a do-it-yourself kit every month, where she provides the ingredients and instructions on how to make baked goods at home.
“June was a Hot Fudge Cake kit, July was soft pretzels, August is movie theater-themed kit with edible cookie dough bites and popcorn,” Smith said. “I include all the dry shelf-stable ingredients, pre-measured so they are ready to go, and instructions to prepare or bake the item. Customers typically only need common kitchen staples such as oil, butter, or milk to complete them, although I try to limit how many extras they need.”
She offers a giveaway at the beginning of the month when she announces the kit.
“It’s actually gone much better than I expected,” Smith said. “It’s been really great; the community support has been above and beyond what I expected. I just thought I was making a little extra cash, and I would find a job somewhere else, but so far this has been able to be my only job, and that’s ultimately what I’d hoped would happen.”
Smith said she hopes to one day have a storefront for the bakery.
“Our plan is to someday get a good building out here where I can have my own commercial kitchen, and then I can actually sell more food,” Smith said. “Then, I could get better permits and I can expand my menu, but that’s going to be a long way away.”
Smith posts available items on French Creek Cakery’s Facebook page regularly, and the page also has a full menu available and contact info listed. The cakery’s number is 681-495-7322.