Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tanglewood (_______ Baked Goods)

Well, I know I've been slacking over here on the blog lately and that's in part due to the fact that I've been diving into bakery prep with the intensity of seven suns, though some days after a complicated mistake it feels more like seven weakly lit flashlights. I've made cakes, cookies, candies; frosting after frosting; and I've been designing my aesthetic and display. (I've also been researching correct, non-traditional ways to use the semicolon; please forgive me.)

Through my various attempts at charming-sweet-tasties I have noticed one thing. This one thing has become my focus and will likely be a way that I separate myself from other home bakers. It'll keep me challenged, help me feel less guilty about eating the things that I make and dangit - it's cute!

Miniatures. I love to bake miniatures. I love the extra detail I have to add and the care and delicacy of it. I've always had a thing for miniatures, and I've always liked the look of a whole-buncha-tiny-colorful-things put together. I blame it on Richard Scarry's Busytown. Richard Scarry was the kid's book master of itty-bitty-eye-catching and I remember looking at the pages showing the busytown market and bakery and thinking WOW! I wish apples were that tiny...

Okay, I know, that's kind of a weird thing to admit, let alone base a baked goods business on.

This kind of strange love of itty-bitty-detail may also come from living with my husband, Jeremy Bastian, whose comic book art is known for its bizarre and almost impossible detail and minuscule size.

Okay, so I'm not going to be baking "toy" sized (to borrow from the world of dog breeds), just more like bite sized. It may sound totally silly to some of you, but it really does have some valid bonuses to it. I often find with baked goods - cookies in particular - that I either really only want a single bite of something sweet, or I want a variety in my few sweet bites. The nice thing about baking small is that while you can eat only one small bite of sweet, you can also eat multiples. They make great novelties for kids and for parties, and I like to think most people will recognise the extra care that goes into decorating a miniature cake or cookie. Plus... I mean... come on. They're totally adorable!

In order to keep things catchy, I'll take at least one mini layer cake to market each week. Mini in this case means either 3, 4 or 6" in diameter, and at least three layers deep. I'll take orders for traditionally sized baked goods as well. 

I'd love to thank everyone who has offered their support and guidance (namely Julia, who is a font of baking information and troubleshooting!) I'm hoping to have a mid-winter tasting party over here at Tanglewood early next year, and if you've spent any time around me lately you've likely had sweets shoveled into your mouth as a taste tester.

So now I am left trying to come up with a sub text for my signage. I plan to just use the name "Tanglewood" rather than "Tanglewood Bakery" since I don't want to imply that I have a storefront elsewhere. I'd love to have the subtext read something like "Conscientiously Baked Goods" without sounding so verbose. I intend to use as many local ingredients as possible, and I have already sourced specialty flours, dairy, spices, herbs, etc (though I'd love to find a local source for non-GMO beet sugar if anyone knows of one!)

I also intend to use only biodegradable, recyclable packaging, and only from the most local sources I can find. I want my baked goods to taste amazing, so I intend to buy amazing ingredients. I also want to feel good about selling them to people, so I don't plan on putting anything into the business that I'm not completely sure about. So far, my display consists of garbage picked shipping crates and signs made from scrap wood, but that is a post for another day! I guess if this whole thing fails, I could always be an astronaut... (thanks Ben!)

Anyway, I'm going to set up a giveaway this weekend so be sure to check back soon! 

Any words of advice for someone trying to set up their own baked goods business from home? Is it legal to sell home baked goods in your state?


  1. I think "charming-sweet-tasties" would be a great subtitle for your signage. Though, perhaps not as obviously descriptive of what you are providing as "confections and baked goods."

    I like small sweets, too. Instead of full-size cheesecakes, for example, I make them cupcake size. That way I can eat one each of several flavors without feeling obligated to eat so much of one flavor that it is not longer delectable. For a baby shower, I made them mini cupcake size . . . so perfectly adorable for the occasion!

  2. So far as I can tell it is illegal in CO to sell home baked goods. Seems as though A Cottage Food Law is trying to get through state legislature to make it possible to sell home made baking. Here's hoping something like it will pass this year.

    Also I am wondering if we could arrange a price and shipping of a small durable box of good things from your farm. Such as a little hank of wool, little jars of jam, a tin of cookies, or anything you think will travel well, etc. Contemplate it and let me know if you are interested. :)

  3. Are you still planning on doing this? YOu need to talk to one of our Michigan Lady Food Bloggers Warda.!/almeida.pastries Where will you sell?