Baking with Heart

Experimentation is the cornerstone of Sugar Mama’s Bake Shop.

Words by Jessica Devenyns  Photos by Ashley Haguewood

“I can pipe a cupcake, but you don’t want to see me decorate a cake,” Olivia O’Neal, Sugar Mama’s founder, says wryly. A self-made baker, Olivia never went to culinary school. Instead, she began practicing her technique at home and taking baked goods to parties. At the beginning, she divulges that all she had going for her was good taste. “Definitely not the decorations,” she exclaimed, “I look back at the early days, and I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness I can’t believe that I took that somewhere and people ate it still!’” Despite her homemade aesthetic, Olivia quickly gathered a loyal following of comfort food connoisseurs.

Much of this has to do with her nature. Olivia is elbows-deep in Sugar Mama’s baking projects. Whether it’s experimenting with vegan, gluten-free, or hyper local options, Olivia is willing to take on the project. “Oh yea, we make everything from scratch. The only thing we don’t make from scratch are the Oreos.” However, she admits that she never lets her passion run late into the night, instead preferring to spend time with her family. “My goal is not to have that kitchen going 24 hours a day. It’s to be proud of what we’re putting out.”

What she is proud of, however, is continually changing. Once a year, often to the chagrin of her patrons, Olivia changes Sugar Mama’s menu. She admits that the excitement it causes is part of the fun behind the annual change. “I had a petition started once for something that was taken off the menu to bring it back,” she remembers.

Did they bring it back? “Yeah! Of course I did.” Olivia laughed, “I’m here to please the people!”

Favorite Menu Item: Cheesecake! We suggest Vanilla with Confetti, Turtle, or Lemon Poppy Seed. Nine-inch cheesecakes are $33, and orders must be placed 72 hours in advance.

Did You Know? Sugar Mama’s strives to reduce their waste as much as possible, working with Break it Down to compost their leftovers and recycle their boxes.

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