Last summer, my husband’s cousin and her husband started their own business. I was immediately excited for them because I’m a huge supporter of small businesses and anyone that wants to start one (hence my small biz spotlight series!). After Barbara, co-founder of Layered Cake Patisserie LLC, contacted me to take some pictures for their website and marketing materials, I was extra excited!
When I met Barbara and her husband/biz partner Anthony for their shoot, they were beyond prepared! Not only had they baked and cooked TONS of pastries and cakes, but they were ready with ideas and props! Add that to the beautiful food details and it was a photographer’s dream! They even let me take some goodies home, including the perfectly-prepared applie pie. YUM!
Wedding season is just about here, so if you’re a bride in the northern VA area and need a cake or some pastries for your big day, definitely consider Barbara and her hubs Anthony! And without further ado, the Layered Cake Patisserie…
A few quick facts about the founders behind Layered Cake:
-Barbara and Anthony (married!!) met at The Culinary Institute of America in New York
-Barbara worked at the Kingsmill Resort and Spa in Williamsburg, VA after finishing school
-After working at Ambrosia Euro-American Patisserie in Chicago, Barbara realized it was necessary to learn the art of making espresso drinks, anticipating the future operations of their own bakery
-Barbara has since worked as a manager at Starbucks
-Anthony has worked at the Ritz-Carlton and Sofitel Hotels in Chicago and is the former pastry chef of 2941 Restaurant in Falls Church, VA
-Anthony also won a Rammy Award for Best Pastry Chef of the Year for the D.C. area in 2010
1. What was the inspiration behind the biz/name of the biz?
We knew it had to have a french word in the name since most of our pastries are french-influenced and so were our studies at college. The Culinary Institute of America (where we both graduated from and met at) was french-influenced. Since cakes are the biggest part of our business, we knew it had to be in the name as well. So therefore, Layered Cake Patisserie was born!!!
2. What made you decide to start your own small biz?
We both always fell into the role of leader in the kitchens we worked at. It is something I (Barbara) have always wanted to do since high school (own a bakery). The restaurant industry typically involves very long hours and after having our son, a family balance became our priority. So the only way we knew we could see more of each other was to work together.
3. How did you guys meet? Is there a cool story??
Not really, we met at the CIA (culinary school) and being that the average age at the time was 22 and we were 18 (right out of high school), we kind of just paired up to study since we were the same age.
4. What are you most looking forward to as biz owners?
Balance!!!!! We love what we do and have always been career-driven people, but with having our son and wanting more children we need to find a way to enjoy both.
6. What’s your fave thing to bake and why??
My (Barbara) favorite thing is to decorate wedding cakes!!! I love it!!! But my favorite thing to bake would be cheesecakes….they can be tricky to master and you can do so many different flavors!!! My father-in-law recently requested a cheesecake that reminded him of his favorite pie, Boston Cream, and so I took the challenge and came up with what I think to be the perfect cheesecake. Now it’s one of our most popluar flavors! Anthony’s favorite thing to bake is pies…he loves utilizing fresh seasonal fruit that he picks up from the local farmers markets. I have to say, his pie crust is the best I have ever had!!!! Needless to say he makes the pies…LOL!!!
7. Which of your desserts, baked goods, pastries are your fave to eat and why?
I have to say nothing beats a bowl of homemade ice cream!!! We grew up eating it often. Anthony’s favorite is also homemade ice cream. So we hope to offer ice cream cakes in the future, once we have a retail location and an industrial ice cream machine. We both also enjoy a good danish or croissant made from scratch, of course. We will also offer these to our morning customers at our retail location to pair nicely with a cup of coffee.
8. What’s the future of your biz look like? What are your future plans??
Right now we are just gearing up for wedding cake season, but are actively seeking a retail location. We hope to be in a retail location by the holiday season. Baking 60 pies in a house kitchen is quite the nightmare…LOL!!!!
9. What has been one of the biggest struggles as new biz owners?
The paperwork involved. We chose our careers because we like to be on our feet and submersed in our work. So one of us had to take on the bookeeper role since as a new business this is not an expense we can afford currently.
10. Any advice to share with those thinking about starting their own biz or for those already in their journey?
You have got to feel like your life won’t be complete without giving it 110% of your time and energy. Owning and operating your own business takes a lot of sacrifice and time. It’s impossible to fail if you really have the desire to be successful. You will look and search for one more client so that you can keep growing your business. And the last thing I would say is CONNECTIONS!!! It is all about the connections and just talking about your business any chance you get and marketing your business at all times….wear a t-shirt with your business logo on it when visiting the grocery store….whatever it takes. We got chef coats with our business name embroidered on them and we wear them to every delivery and even standing at the farmers market.
11. Any cool/interesting stories to share about your biz, a customer experience, an opportunity you had as bakers/biz owners?
I (Barbara) just know this is what we are meant to do. I just feel so blessed I found someone with the same goals!!!!!
A HUGE shout out and THANK YOU to Barbara and Anthony for taking the time to answer my questions and share some business advice. I wish you guys tons of luck in your business journeys and I’m so excited for the success you’ve already had! Happy wedding season to you both!
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