Let Them Eat Cake!
by Samantha Wright
Sep 27, 2012 | 2866 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CUPCAKE, ANYONE? – Megan McCabe sells a tempting selection of cupcakes and cakes to go at Cafe Ridgway à la Mode. (Photo by Samantha Wright)
CUPCAKE, ANYONE? – Megan McCabe sells a tempting selection of cupcakes and cakes to go at Cafe Ridgway à la Mode. (Photo by Samantha Wright)

New Ridgway Business Is a Sweet Success

RIDGWAY - Megan McCabe can make a cake look like pretty much anything. Thomas the Tank Engine, Broncos jersey, wildflower garden, you name it. Recently, she even made a groom’s cake that looked like a doublewide trailer.

“I love the artistic side of cakes,” said the Telluride native, who has recently started a cakemaking business called Sweet Cakes & Co. in Ridgway. McCabe encourages her customers to send her pictures of what they want, and savors the challenge of figuring out how to render those images in cake and frosting.

“I love it. It’s fun!”

Customers, in turn, love her cakes because they taste as good as they look. The secret is that they are super-moist, and not cloyingly sweet, she explains.

McCabe grew up in Telluride. She attended culinary school in Santa Barbara, Calif., and pursued bakery work afterwards to hone her skills as a pastry chef. When she moved back to Telluride 10 years ago, she found a job at the Wild Flower Bakery (which has since closed).

Then life, and motherhood, sent her in a different direction. A single mom, she now lives in Ridgway and just recently has returned to her passion of cakemaking. She’s hoping to eventually be able to make a living at it.

McCabe loves the idea of opening up her own cupcake shop such as those that seem to be popping up lately in trendy big-city neighborhoods, but “I don’t think it would pay the bills,” she admits. At least not yet.

So she’s starting small, keeping her day job as a waitress at Thai Paradise while selling a modest selection of cupcakes and cakes to go at Cafe Ridgway à la Mode, an ice cream shop at 380 Sherman Street in downtown Ridgway. The bulk of her business so far comes from custom orders ranging from birthday cakes to wedding cakes. “I can do whatever you ask me to do,” she promises.

Customers can choose from three different flavors of cake: chocolate, vanilla or carrot.

McCabe favors cream cheese frosting (because it tastes so much better than its butter cream equivalent), or fondant for more complex decorating jobs. “A lot of people don’t like fondant, but it has a much cleaner look,” she explained. “I use a super-thin layer.”

Fillings and flavored frostings are also available.

McCabe has a commercial food license, and does her baking in a commercial kitchen formerly occupied by Drake’s Restaurant in Ridgway. She also makes breakfast burritos, gluten-free muffins and desserts for several businesses in the area.

Gluten-free baking is a specialty McCabe’s developed in recent years, since discovering that her daughter is gluten-intolerant.

“My gluten-free cake tastes like a normal cake,” she said. “You almost can’t tell the difference.” She developed the recipe herself.  

These days, public perception about the glitz and drama surrounding the world of cake baking has been elevated by a rich assortment of television reality shows like Last Cake Standing, Cake Boss, Cupcake Wars and Amazing Wedding Cakes.

McCabe isn’t that much of a cake drama queen, however. She doesn’t have to be. She knows she’s good.

“I don’t have fancy channels to watch cake shows,” she shrugged. “I have just winged it. And...my cakes taste incredible.”

Sweet Cakes & Co. prices range from $20 for a six-inch cake that serves 12 people to $165 for a sheet cake serving 96. Fondant icing costs extra. Price of delivery within the Ridgway/Ouray area is included.

So far, business is pretty sweet. The Artisan Bakery in Ouray, which has recently stopped making its own custom cakes, “refers me to everybody,” McCabe said. “I started this with not a dime in my pocket, and now I get a couple cake orders a week.”

To place an order, call 970/708-7317, e-mail megan81435@yahoo.com or visit sweetcakesandco.com.


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