Thursday, February 5, 2015

Is baking the way to a man's heart?

By Cecelia Toomer

I’ve always loved baking. When I was a kid, I didn’t cook much, except for scrambled eggs and French toast. However, I baked: cookies, cakes, pies. I transferred my love for baking into my Bakery Romance Series.

I’ve never worked in a bakery, so, I had to do research. Since I already have a love for baking, I knew how to make sweet treats and breads from scratch.

My research included watching a LOT of television shows on the Food Network. The shows mentioned below are reality-type shows, based upon real food businesses that were in financial trouble.

My first research show was Save My Bakery:

It focuses on helping failing bakeries. The host/food expert visits the bakery, giving the baker(s) advice about what needs to be done to save their businesses. This program gives background about how a bakery is run every day. The program also gives examples of task(s) that the baker(s) were doing which hindered their establishments.
I also love to watch Chef Robert Irvine’s show, Restaurant Impossible:

This show does not focus on bakeries. Instead, it focuses on restaurants that are failing. The restaurants then call upon Robert to help them save their business before they go bankrupt. 

Watching both of these shows enabled me to see just how hard it is to run a food business, and these programs also made me realize just how stubborn business owners can be when they are given suggestions to change their means of livelihood. These shows also made me realize that often, a restaurant/bakery financial problem is linked to personal problems that the business owner(s) are facing, like family difficulties, problems with friends, etc. These issues could then spill over into the business, clouding the owner’s judgment. 

To continue my research, I visited a small bakery in my town of Greenbelt, MD, Chef Lou’s Desserts:

I’ve ordered several birthday and anniversary cakes from Chef Lou over the years and he showed me around his small bakery,  demonstrating some of his baking techniques for me. He even showed me how he frosted a cake, and then placed his distinctive script icing over the frosted layers! We even talked about recipes, but, he didn’t share his recipes with me, he just vaguely told me the ingredients in his desserts, not sharing the measurements. I suppose he has his secrets! His carrot cake is so good, so moist and delicious and that cream cheese frosting is heavenly! 

For baking breads and pastries, I had a lot of questions. I found a pastry chef online and he was kind enough to answer my questions via email. George Geary has worked as a pastry chef at Walt Disney World and he’s written several books:

That’s about all that I did for bakery research! It was fun and exciting and I hope you’ll enjoy the fruits of my research labor by reading my new novel, Raspberry Kisses! 

Raspberry Kisses Summary:

Facing eviction, Rhea Morrison, a young grieving widow, must save her failing bakery. Her 
recently-injured twin sister, Raven, loans her money – stipulating Rhea attend a singles retreat to spy on Martin Lane, Raven’s new love interest. Disgruntled, Rhea attends the retreat and is attracted to Martin. She discovers that Martin can help save her bakery. 

Pastor Martin laments over his secret, traumatic past mistakes. He’s destined to lead his father’s church, despite blatant rejection. He can’t love Rhea - he’s yet to forgive himself for his past, and if Rhea knew how he used to be, she would have no interest in pursuing a relationship with him. In spite of their shared attraction, he helps Rhea form a plan to save her business. Martin, a former successful bakery owner, can expertly create delicious pastry recipes. 

Rhea feels torn about her attraction to Martin – he’s a pastor, and after her husband’s death, she vowed to never get involved with another pastor. Plus, her twin sister, Raven, has strong feelings for Martin. Can Rhea let herself have romantic feelings for Martin – knowing it would hurt her sister? 

Can Martin and Rhea overcome their past so that they’re free to love again? 


Cecelia Dowdy has been an avid reader since she learned to string letters together to form words. 

While pursuing a business degree in college one of her professors tried to convince her to get an English degree since he felt she was a great writer. Years later, after receiving her BS in Finance, she took her former teacher's advice, and started pursuing her literary career.

She loves to read, write, and bake delicious desserts during her spare time. Traveling is another favorite hobby, and she's been to various countries around the world, including Germany, France, England, Tahiti, New Zealand, Mexico, Jamaica, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, and Santo Domingo. She enjoys listening to old tunes with her husband on Saturday nights. Currently she resides with her spouse and young son in Maryland.