Provo bakeries satisfy local sweet tooth

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Provo Bakery manager Caitlin Grey and her son enjoy freshly baked donuts. Provo is home to several bakeries that sell homemade baked goods. (Maddi Dayton)

Whether it’s a cake, donut or cookie, bakeries in Provo offer a number of unique options for nearly everyone’s taste. The heart of Provo is home to various bakeries that provide delicious baked goods.

The historic Provo Bakery has been open for more than 75 years and has continuously provided the area with a variety of freshly baked desserts including donuts and cookies. The business is managed by Caitlin Grey, daughter of owners Mark and Stephanie Tuckett.

Grey said her father learned to bake from his father, who was an Army baker stationed in Paris during the Korean War. Her father’s skills made their way to Utah, influencing both the Provo Bakery and Lehi Bakery.

“My dad grew up in a bakery, and it was always his dream to run his own. My uncle bought (the Provo Bakery) at first, and then my dad bought it and started from scratch,” Grey said. “Everything he learned, he learned from his dad.”

Grey said the bakery is a great donut place in Provo, and which can be hard to find in the midst of cake and cupcake shops.

She said since they work together as a family, it is important to them that everyone feels like family, whether they are employees or visitors.

“It’s a family-oriented place, and we have always wanted it to be about the families that come here,” Grey said. “Everyone that works here is family, and that was always the goal.”

Donuts and cookies are not the only baked treats in Provo. With so many brides looking for the perfect wedding centerpiece, it’s not surprising that wedding cakes are also a big part of the Provo baking scene.

Wedding cake specialist Mary Elizabeth Hammond took her passion for baking cakes and turned it into a business after baking for weddings and birthdays for years. Hammond founded her business, Love Cake Bake in January 2016.

“I realized that I was baking and getting paid to do it, and if that’s not a business, what is it?” Hammond said. “So I swallowed my fear and made it official. It was scary because if I wasn’t running a business, I couldn’t really fail, but I also realized that I couldn’t really succeed that way either.”

Mary Elizabeth Hammond creates different styled cakes for any occasion. (Emily Stewart)

Hammond worked as a pastry chef at a catering company called Culinary Crafts to help support herself through college. She began working full time after school, but soon realized she wanted to pursue something else.

“I felt pretty strongly that I should quit, but I thought that was sort of crazy since I didn’t have another job lined up,” Hammond said. “I had studied Art History in school, but almost all my work experience was in baking.”

She started doing freelance work for a local blog called “The House That Lars Built,” where she baked items for its photo shoots and provided them with recipes. This led her to work with many bloggers who inspired her to create her own career.

“It’s a slow process, but I’m working on creating a company and job that I want, and I hope other people can see that they can do that too,” Hammond said. “Essentially, I want to create something that I can be proud of and enjoy doing — something that can provide a good service to others, inspire people to create and spread a little goodness in the world.”

Wedding and birthday cakes are Hammond’s specialties at Love Cake Bake, but she will make anything people order from cupcakes to macaroons. A lot of her baked goods are inspired from Instagram — bakers, chefs, artists and creative people of all kinds.

“I also meet monthly with a group of Utah local bakers and cake makers. Sharing our experiences and knowing that there are other people out there doing this too is really helpful,” Hammond said. “I’ve found that when I collaborate and work with other people, I get a better product.”

Along with Provo Bakery and Love Cake Bake, The Mighty Baker is another Provo bakery that is home to a variety of goods.

The Mighty Baker began in March 2013 from the home of the business owner, Pete Tidwell, until he opened his first storefront shop in October 2015.

Tidwell managed a deli for 15 years prior to 2013 while he was in high school and college. He graduated from BYU with a degree in advertising and then pursued a career in New York City doing product marketing for L’Oreal.

Tidwell baked and decorated cakes while in New York City for friends and family. Upon relocating to Utah, he wanted to start his own business and still have a career in marketing.

Tidwell’s goal of opening the bakery was to bring quality desserts usually found in bigger cities.

“Utah is missing out on some of the goodness out there. For instance, our top seller in our shop is our cheesecakes,” Tidwell said. “When I moved back to Utah, I could not find good cheesecakes anywhere. They are all store-bought frozen for the most part. Ours and all of our desserts are made from scratch and baked fresh daily to provide amazing treats.”

Tidwell said since opening, the business has been incredible. The bakery has received national recognition and is continuing to grow and develop.

“We have been on Food Network’s Cake Wars and won $10,000, been featured in local news and made some amazing cakes for local companies and organizations,” Tidwell said.

The Mighty Baker’s head pastry chef Pete Tidwell designs, bakes and decorates various types of wedding cakes. (The Mighty Baker)

The Mighty Baker makes mostly cakes and cheesecakes, though Tidwell said they also have tarts, cookies, french macaroons, dutch stroopwafels, brioche and more.

Tidwell said he likes to feature items that aren’t found in other places in the area. The dutch stroopwafels are unique to Amsterdam, and he said after serving an LDS mission with a companion from Amsterdam, he wanted to bring them to Utah County.