By Sharon Challenger.
It is often said that, even looking at pictures of food can make some people hungry.
That is exactly what happened to me one afternoon as I was scrolling though the Facebook page Killingworth Stompin’ Ground. A person posted, “Does anyone know the contact info for the woman who does custom cookies and cakes in Killingworth?”
Sometimes posts can be overlooked and go unanswered for days, but this one received immediate attention. Seven people answer in unison, “The Sweet Baker!” One even gave the contact info, and another posted a picture of the Sweet Baker’s creations. That is all it took for me to jump down a rabbit hole into a land of cakes and cookies.
Within nanoseconds, I was clicking on the link to the Sweet Baker, LLC and voila! Images of delicious looking cupcakes, waiting to be devoured by happy customers appeared on my screen. Where next I wondered? “ Which drop down menu to select first?”
Without hesitating, I clicked on “Cupcakes” and was taken to a screen where I could choose to see the menu or scroll down and see the cupcakes. My eyes gazed upon adorable dog cupcakes, sunflower cupcakes, rainbow unicorns, and sweet little chicks sitting atop nests, to name a few.
Having friends who work on Sesame Street, I was delighted to see cupcakes sporting Sesame Street characters such as Elmo and Cookie Monster. I believe I heard Cookie Monster yelling, “cookies!!!!” So, I clicked on “Cookies.” There were Panda bears, Polar bears, Dinosaurs, Farm Animals, Fish, Owls, and more.
Each cookie on the menu was carefully decorated to perfection, making it clear that a lot of time, attention and love goes into each one. It was becoming clear why so many fans of the Sweet Baker were sharing her business information.
Looking for cakes? I counted seventy-two pictures of beautiful cakes on the Sweet Baker’s website. Lovely birthday cakes decorated to perfection filled my computer screen. One cake was topped with all sorts of chocolate candy bars and confections, the writing “Happy Birthday Allan,” which made me envious of Allan.
My next step was to get a better understanding of who the “Sweet baker” was, so I reached out to see if they would answer some questions for our readers.
I was surprised to learn that The Sweet Baker, LLC., is a small family run business started by Danielle Henderson, a lifelong resident of Killingworth, CT.
She confided that her love of baking began when she was a little girl, and it continues to be her passion.
While at Haddam-Killingworth High School Danielle’s favorite classes were in culinary arts. Joanna Siciliano, her instructor and mentor, had a big influence on her life.
HKHS only offers three courses in culinary arts, but Danielle wanted to keep learning so she signed up to do an independent study for another semester.
In addition to the classes Danielle took at HKHS, Ms. Siciliano gave Danielle an opportunity to work with her in a side catering business.
In her junior year she entered a Gingerbread House competition and won 2nd place. In her senior year she won 1st place!
While in high school Danielle began to study baking and pastry at the CT Culinary School.
One of her instructors, an author of Death by Chocolate, encouraged her to enter competitions.
She followed the advice and won a Silver Medal for a Christmas cake she created and went on to win a James Nargi “Most Novel Student Piece Trophy,” in 2005.
Decorating cakes is one of her favorite things to do. She loves working with Chocolate Ganache, and Italian Meringue Buttercream frostings for her cakes. She explained that the Italian version of buttercream frosting is lighter and less sweet than other buttercream frostings.
Her most popular item last year were her decorated sugar cookies. Her largest order being fourteen and a half dozen! All cookies were individually wrapped which made them a perfect choice for parties and other events.
She has filled many custom orders with the help of her husband who creates cookie forms using a 3-D printer. Danielle explained that if customers would like uniquely designed cookies for an occasion, she can design a form and her husband will create it for her. A recent order of heart shaped cookies with a graduation cap on one corner was created for a Nursing Graduation celebration. It seems the possibilities are endless!
In addition to running her business, Danielle is a mother of two, and a Girl Scout leader. So, working from home is the perfect place for her to create her wonders.
The Sweet Baker, LLC is licensed by the State of Connecticut as a Cottage Food Operation.
Call The Sweet Baker at 860-227-4312
Photos by Danielle Henderson.