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Meet Karen

karen-headshot.jpg
"Food is love in tangible form"
“Cake doesn’t ask silly questions. Cake understands.”  
-The angsty baker.
I caught my daughter drinking the raspberry sauce from the bottle, and she asks- "Mom are we getting a cheesecake this year?”
My Story

 

Born and raised in the northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, I  developed a fascination for cooking for others. I love seeing people take a bite and the happy expressions on their faces when the flavor is decadent and perfectly balanced. Now that I have retired, I want to help others celebrate the special events of their lives with hand-crafted desserts, taking their celebration to a whole new level.  

 

Food was one of the highlights of get-togethers with Pennsylvania Dutch and German extended family. Food is love in tangible form.  My grandmother was known for her lemon meringue pie and her caramel cake.  My Dad’s favorite cake was coconut—a yellow cake with real whipped cream and coconut sprinkled heavily on top. Mine was German Chocolate with that rich coconut and pecan filling/frosting.  Mom made a wonderful applesauce cake, but I wasn’t a fan of the raisins! My sisters and I would complain bitterly about the taste as we picked them out. To appease the girls, Mom ended up making an applesauce cake without raisins and it had no flavor- totally bland!  After that no one said a word about raisins- we just picked them out if we didn’t want them.  

 

I started cooking independently around the age of 11 but only began working with desserts after I married and moved to Seattle, WA. In Seattle at a Level 1 Trauma Center, my husband, Larry, and I were both working 3 12-hour shifts one week and 4 12-hour shifts the next (me in 3 different Intensive Care Units as a Registered Nurse (RN) on shift rotation from days to nights and my husband in the Emergency Department and as a Flight Nurse. Thankfully, the units were able to sync our schedules. To handle the stress of our jobs, my husband and I began traveling locally for long weekends and to reduce immediate stress I began baking. Around the same time, I found a magazine devoted almost entirely to chocolate (even the ads) and discovered a true love of baking any chocolate dessert, cake, or cookie (lots of cookies). No one minded the excess of goodies showing up at work and I was able to assess people’s tastes and favorite flavor combinations, as I've wanted to own a dessert-ery for a long time.

 

We moved to the Upper Valley in 1987 and I have continued to bake and perfect my recipes since.  While at DHMC, especially at the holidays, I baked.  For my boss and our hairdressers, I baked NY Style Cheesecake and gave a bottle of homemade raspberry sauce as a gift.  Invariably when I figured out with them when to deliver my food gift, I was told that both the cheesecake and sauce were big hits with their families. 

  

Shoutouts to my good friend, Marie Robbins, for making my aprons.  I love them and appreciate your seamstress skills.  And to Marcy Burroughs, Photos by Marcy, who took many of the first beautiful photographs for this website.  Thank you both from the heart!!!

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