Post by Mandy Stephenson
A while back we posted about Taste Cafe and their cake selections, but we didn’t have too much information about the women behind these impressive offerings. Recently we sat down with Hannah Heber, co-owner and pastry chef at TASTE Cafe and Gourmet To-Go in Downtown Spokane to discuss her passion for creating cakes and how she got started, upcoming trends, and what it’s like being one of the most sought after chefs in the area.
What made you get into baking cakes, pastries, and cupcakes?
I lived in San Francisco and had a corporate job. I found myself baking as a way to de-stress. I got more and more into the baking aspect of things and decided I was ready to take a leap of faith. It also didn’t hurt that I worked for Williams-Sonoma Corporate and met a steady stream of celebrity chefs.
How how long have you owned Taste?
I have owned Taste Cafe, here in Spokane, for three years, and it’s been a whirlwind.
Did you begin baking wedding cakes right when you opened TASTE, or was there a particular instance where someone asked you, and then you started moving into that sector?
I went through the one year pastry program at Spokane Community College and our final project was a wedding cake. I love Martha Stewart wedding cakes and it became a natural progression from there.
Do you prefer making wedding cakes or cupcakes for a wedding?
A cake- because there is more artistry involved. Cupcake trends will come and go, but cakes are timeless.
What is the most important thing for a bride to know about the cake baking and selection process?
I love brides that are involved and turn up to a tasting with magazines and pictures of cakes they like. It points me in the right direction. I also appreciate brides who are conscious of their budget when choosing a cake. Oftentimes the detail work is what is going to add to the cost. Cutting back on some of that is what is going to save money and give us a realistic place to start. A budget is a good thing!
While I’m sure the time it takes to make each cake varies with the size and complexity of the design, about how long would you say you spend working on an individual cake?
5-6 hours – I’m always the perfectionist.
Are there any major trends in weddings cakes that you love or are not a fan of? What do you think more people will be doing in the next year?
I like the timeless classic stuff. I am a fan of simple, thoughtful designs. I don’t really believe in trends because I want a bride to look back at her cake and remember loving it past and present. I like touches of color, tying in other designs from the wedding decor, meaningful designs. Most importantly, I think a cake design should always be limited by what can be done with natural ingredients. I don’t believe in shortening or anything artificial in my cakes. I won’t compromise on quality.
How do you come up with new wedding cake designs and recipes? What is the creativity process behind each cake?
Recipes are always evolving depending on the season. I am a big fan of seasonal and local ingredients. Design wise I will have to admit, I get very excited about every new issue of Martha Stewart Weddings and immediately flip to the cake pages. I just love simple elegance.
What are your future plans for the cake side of your business?
Well, I am in the midst of deciding. Health issues have slowed me down for the past 2 years and while I enjoy the wedding cakes, they are quite a consuming business. So far I have done a good job of dabbling in them but not losing my commitment to Taste pastries and my overall wellness. As I continue to regain my health hopefully the answer will become more clear. I won’t rule out expanding the wedding cake business side of Taste just yet.
For more information about Taste Cafe cakes visit their website or stop in at 180 S. Howard Street, Spokane, WA 99201.