Think back to a time when you walked into your mother or grandmother’s kitchen. An old-fashioned mixer was placed on the counter, covered in flour and batter. The oven was warm and busy baking your favorite cake—you could smell it from the other room. Now, remember the first bite you took when you decided there was nothing tastier in the world than a homemade dessert.
That’s the feeling Madison’s newest bakery, The Dessert Fork, is bringing to its first brick-and-mortar shop off Highway 72. Owner and Cake Artist, Pauline McFarlin, is excited to welcome the Huntsville/Madison area to her new bakeshop, full of fresh-from-the-oven cakes and dessert creations.
“The Dessert Fork is a made-from-scratch bakery that began four years ago under the Alabama Cottage Law,” said Pauline. “We create recipes that are nostalgic, vintage, and authentic. Our goal is to transport guests back to a time when they may have enjoyed a delicious dessert in their own grandmother’s kitchen. We’ve grown so much since 2014 and we can’t wait to serve Madison and Huntsville on a larger scale.”
The all-new dessert shop will be located in a 1,221 square foot space at 107 Brookridge Drive within the Medical Park Stationdevelopment off Highway 72. The Dessert Fork will serve artisan and custom cakes, cupcakes, dipped gourmet apples, and more and is tentatively scheduled to open late October 2018.
Made-From-Scratch Cakes & Desserts
Featuring an extensive menu of both traditional and specialty flavors, The Dessert Fork will offer cakes ranging from classic chocolate with white icing to green tea or amaretto. In addition to its cakes, the bakeshop will serve an assortment of desserts including dipped apples, cupcakes, truffles and more. Guests will have the opportunity to order custom baked goods to-go or enjoy cozy dine-in seating. Hot and cold beverages will also be available.
“We try to appeal to traditionalists as well as the more adventurous foodies,” shared Pauline. “Many of my flavors have been inspired by my travels. For instance, our cocktail-inspired Old Fashioned bourbon caramel cupcake came to me in Gatlinburg while I was touring a distillery.”
Guests can also taste several different dipped apple flavors, including Oreo™ and apple pie!
“Our cupcakes and dipped apples are perfect for dining in at our shop,” smiled Pauline. “I can assure you the apple pie flavor tastes just like fresh apple pie!”
Beyond her artisan menu, Pauline takes orders for custom cake creations. On her website, you can see amazing edible art that ranges from cartoon character cakes to designer wedding displays. Pauline never turns down the challenge of making an event special and memorable for her clients.
Combining Art & A Passion For Baking
Since 2008, Pauline has been developing her culinary skills with formal training from world-renowned cake artists and by participating in national cake shows. Inspired to combine her passion for art and baking into a business, she launched The Dessert Fork in 2014.
“My formal training began when I discovered my love for art and passion for baking could be made into a career,” explained Pauline. “Armed with 4 years of formal art training in high school, I decided to take some cake decorating classes. It’s spiraled into where we are today, and I make it a point to learn as much as I can.”
Pauline shared that one of her most eye-opening experiences was attending a cake conference.
“I couldn’t believe all of the amazing things you can do with cake,” recalled Pauline. “It’s incredible to see all of the things you can do to make cakes look different by using various sugar mediums and skills.”
Throughout her training, Pauline has studied under several world-renowned cake artists, cake designers, and culinary instructors. In fact, some of her mentors have been featured on The Food Network and Food Network challenges.
“When to comes to learning new skills, I’ll never be done,” assured Pauline. “When I’m not taking a formal class, I’ll find a YouTube video to see what other tricks I can pick up. There’s nothing I love more.”
All of her training has clearly paid off. The Dessert Fork has won multiple Wedding Wire “Couple’s Choice” Awards and has received rave reviews through The Knot Wedding Planner. Locally, Pauline has competed and won awards in Cyn Shea Café’s Serving Hope Chocolate Challenge.
Giving Back To The Community
Beautiful artistic cakes may be Pauline’s passion, but it’s not her only focus. Working closely with the local Department of Human Resources (DHR) presented her with an opportunity to give back to the community by helping children in the foster care system enjoy memorable birthdays.
“I look at my own family and recognize how blessed we are,” reflected Pauline. “Every birthday I make something special for them, and I have memories with my own mother baking me a cake on my birthday. So many children don’t have the same opportunities, and I want to help provide those memories for them. As such, I give all foster parents a one-time 50 percent discount per child so they can bring joy to the children in their lives. I want them to recall a wonderful birthday where they understood just how special they are. It’s a small thing I can do to spread joy.”
Pauline said that she will continue to support foster families at the new store and encourages people to reach out to her for ways she can help.
“Giving back is a big part of who we are,” assured Pauline. “In many ways, I feel like I get more out of it than they do.”
A Word To Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Success is something Pauline worked tirelessly for since beginning her journey in 2014. Armed with $1,000, the support of her husband, and a dream, she dove head first into business classes and spent countless hours preparing a plan. Through hard work and mentorship from other female entrepreneurs, she was able to grow her business each year.
When asked what advice she would give to other aspiring business owners, Pauline stressed the importance of patience and tenacity.
“Write it down and make a plan,” directed Pauline. “Set goals and go for it. Things may not happen in the timeline that you want them to, but you have to persevere. I am proof that if you are really passionate about something and keep pushing, you can make it happen. I prayed a lot and I can honestly say I am thrilled with where I am today.”
Now, she says she’s most excited to be creating jobs at her new shop.
“The team at The Dessert Fork will have the same passion as I do for baking and spreading happiness to our customers,” said Pauline. “I can’t wait to get started!”
Every Cake Tells A Story
When asked what makes The Dessert Fork special, Pauline didn’t hesitate with her answer.
“I want my desserts to tell a story—your story,” she said. “When you visit us, whether it’s a custom cake or an artisan treat, The Dessert Fork wants the sweet creation to reflect who you are and brighten your day or special event.”
Pauline said The Dessert Fork would continue to take orders and operate as usual until the bakery’s tentative opening in October. Orders can be made by visiting www.thedessertforkhuntsville.com or by calling 256-457-3673.
“This experience has been incredible, and I am thankful to live in a community that’s so supportive,” said Pauline. “Come see us when we open and let us help you make a perfect memory!”
Be sure to follow The Dessert Fork on Facebook and Instagram to get the latest news on its opening!
Have you tried The Dessert Fork before? What are your favorite cake flavors? Let us know in the comments below!
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