CHEF DU JOUR: Whoopie pies launch baking business

Thanks to Jennifer Justus for her interest in Pink Sugar Bowl and the opportunity to talk Whoopie! Yesterday's column found HERE

"Though she grew up on whoopie pies — the mini cakes with a cookie attitude — Deana Marcum didn’t start baking them “officially” until March 2009 when she started The Pink Sugar Bowl. Whoopie pies, made famous in Pennsylvania and Maine, are traditionally chocolate with vanilla filling. But Marcum, who works a day job at a Nashville healthcare company, offers an array of flavors, including Tennessee Whiskey Pie (with maple and Lynchburg’s finest), coconut, peanut butter, pumpkin, lemon, hazelnut and classic chocolate."
— Jennifer Justus, The Tennessean
How did you decide to start the business?

It all started with a fundraiser in February 2007. I was raising money for a friend who had cancer. I continued receiving orders afterward and took the necessary steps to become certified. I was then able to apply to the Franklin Farmers Market, where I have been a vendor for three years. Most recently, I joined the Spring Hill Farmers Market, and I attend both as often as I can. The next Franklin Market I will be a part of is their First Night Market on Sept. 8.

For the uninitiated, will you please give us your definition of whoopie pies?

A whoopie pie is traditionally two chocolate cookie-shaped cakes with a vanilla filling. It’s like an inverted cupcake. What makes them so fun is that they are truly a handheld cake. You don’t need a fork, and you don’t get frosting up your nose when you bite into one.

What was your first experience with whoopie pies?

My great-grandmother made them for her children and grandchildren as they were growing up, and the tradition continued. I was raised on them. I have improved upon her original recipe and created new flavors in the past few years. I chose to make them for the fundraiser in 2007 because they were not well known in the South and people were amused by the name.

You also make vintage cakes?

The most popular is our blackberry spice.

How do you find recipes for vintage cakes?

These are old family recipes. I have just updated the ingredients to incorporate fewer processed flours and sugars and include more local, fresh products.

What ingredient could you not live without?

Butter, coconut oil and chocolate.

If you could bake or cook for anyone, who would it be and what would you prepare?

It sounds cliché’ to say Julia Child, but it’s true. I have read My Life in France a half dozen times and become more fascinated with her each and every time. I would make her French onion soup and chocolate mousse.

Could you offer a tip for the novice baker?

I have two, actually. The first would be to use the best quality ingredients you can afford. Quality truly makes all the difference in taste, texture and appearance. Secondly, don’t be afraid to experiment with healthier substitutions. I love Greek yogurt and unsweetened natural applesauce in recipes to cut down on fat without skimping on taste.

If you could choose your last meal, what would it be?

I would choose my favorite meal, which is chicken piccata, a recipe I adapted from Giada De Laurentiis, leafy green salad with my mom’s balsamic vinegar dressing and my sister’s tomato and basil bruschetta. It’s amazing!

— Jennifer Justus, The Tennessean

No comments:

Post a Comment