The Recipe

The earliest memory I have of baking is making sugar cookies in the house my family lived in while my dad was stationed in Groton, Connecticut. My mom introduced me to cooking and baking when I was 9 or 10 years old with the basics. Coming from a large family in Texas, my Grandmother and her mother, on both sides always had food for family gettogethers and lots of it! Of course, everything was made from scratch, that's just the way it was. I can still smell certain things and I am right back in their houses with platter after platter of food prepared by loving hands.

My love of baking continued as I grew and I enjoyed the process as well as the rewards - delicious treats, and smiles on the faces of friends I shared them with. Moving through life, I have gathered other memories along the way; meeting Cole and falling in love, and having 2 wonderful boys (Berlin - 13 and Hudson - 9). Surrounded by laughter and love, we have a beautiful life.

How it Began

In 2016, I began baking vegan cakes while I was a vegetarian, as a personal challenge to see if it could really be done and taste as good as it always had. Baking Berlin's 12th birthday cake was the first test. Not only would it have to pass my standards, it would also have to be a cake his friends would eat. They loved it, but it was a small group of tweens and they pretty much eat anything so I wanted to see what others would think. A few months passed and my friend, Adrienne, planned to bake a triple layer cake for her daughter's birthday, a party with children and their parents. Knowing how good Berlin's cake was, she agreed to make it vegan. After the cake was devoured, she revealed our secret. Everyone was stunned because it was so moist and delicious. Hearing that feedback from omnivores, I felt more and more confident that I was on to something great. Shortly after the realization that eating delicious baked goods was not solely a luxury that had to be obtained by using eggs and dairy, and that I was creating amazing food compassionately, I became vegan.

Through Facebook, I discovered there was a vegan bake sale in Durham in May 2016. I was excited to attend just to see what other bakers were able to do without eggs and dairy then I noticed the organizers were needing more bakers so without hesitation, I signed up. Resigned that the outcome would either be favorable or send me back to the kitchen with my apron ties trailing behind me, Adrienne and I showed up to the bake sale with 2 flavors of cupcakes, Mango Bramble and Monk's Rope, believing we had created something great but not knowing what the public would think. It was an amazing day! We were excited to answer questions and to overhear comments about how beautiful and delicious the cupcakes were. It was the validation I had hoped for while deciding if I was going to pursue baking from home as a career. In September 2016 I was invited to a second bake sale. It was amazing to see familiar faces from May that wanted more of my cupcakes! 

All In The Name

In 2004 we bought our home on Taylor Street and  began the rewarding yet arduous endeavor of renovating it. Being the 3rd owners of the house, we didn't know much of it's history when we bought it other than knowing Mrs. Taylor built the home in 1931, and that she was married to Mr. Taylor.  Asking around town, I heard stories of her beautiful yard filled with azaleas and hydrangeas, and how she always welcomed guests with jelly and biscuits as she visited with them in the sun room after Mr. Taylor passed. Her great nephew and his wife stopped by and visited one afternoon and shared his memories of visiting the house while growing up. They brought pictures of Mrs. Taylor for us to keep. Looking at pictures of The Lady of the House is like meeting her; she seems to be the quintessential Southern Woman and it is easy to imagine the smell of biscuits baking as she arranges vases of flowers cut from her gardens.

While contemplating names for the bakery, I knew I wanted to honor the women that surround and influenced me, those who brought me to where I am. I thought about where we are and where it all started - The Taylor House on Taylor Street.

 I hope Mrs. Taylor approves.

 

As the 1st year has moved by, I can say without hesitation that this is the best job I have ever had. I have always gone the extra mile to make a difference in the lives of others, but I never felt the passion until I starting baking for them.

I love what I do.

I love what I create.

I love making people smile.

"Whatever you are doing, keep doing it!"                       1st Durham Bake Sale May 2016

© 2017 Taylor Street Sweets, LLC