Saturday, April 2, 2011

the girl behind the pink door: deliciously diving deep into the cakes and candies by maryellen

Only steps away from the hustle and bustle of West Chester Pike, a pretty-in-pink sign hangs on one of the petite highway shopping strips reading, vibrantly, “Cakes and Candies by Maryellen.” As an edible labor of love for a former occupational therapist who cherished the flavors and aromas of her afternoons spent in her grandmother's kitchen, Maryellen Bowers began embracing her hereditary skills as an artisan baker and confection creator almost 16 years ago, but it was only in 2009 that she considered taking baking orders full time.

My Nanny would watch my brother and I, and she would seat me in a booster and I would sift sugar on all the Chruscikis [Polish fried cookies] she had made,” said Bowers. “She would bake everything and I would always help. Every time I came home, I looked like a ghost.”
Influenced by the heartfelt moments of her past, Bowers always embraced baking and candy making as a hobby, clinging to the kitchen trades as an escape from her full-time therapist career. But, with the constant growth of her word-of-mouth baking business over the last several years, she knew that her self-taught craft (some of which sourced from her grandmother) would lead her to soon peddle her bountiful baked goods and confectioneries in her own dessert boutique.

With the help of family, friends and a few months, the proprietor warped an empty-shell-of-a-space at 1332 West Chester Pike to a pleasantly chic sweet treat cafe and bake shop, beaming in warm browns (which makes her “think of chocolate”), inviting pinks (her favorite color), drool-worthy dessert photographs taken by top-notch West Chester-based photographer Allison Benford, and of course, mouthwatering baked good shelves—always jam-packed with first-rate, from-scratch sugary assortments.

With a grand opening of early this month, on March 5, Cakes and Candies by Maryellen is currently the only bakery in West Chester. Bowers is proud to state that she is always behind her pink door constantly inventing  new creations. With her personal baking space visible through the shop's front window guests may gush over the wedding cakes, cupcakes, pies or truffles that she is currently concocting.
Her sweet treat repertoire is endless, from textbook-fudgy brownies, warm cinnamon rolls, cake pops, chocolate-dipped Nutter Butters and pretzels, pumpkin rolls, champagne truffles and even, her pie-kes (think cherry pie in a chocolate cake), there is a satisfying sugar coma waiting for noshers of all tastes and palates at Cakes and Candies by Maryellen.

While Bowers has an impressive support system busily baking alongside her, the notable-and-local creator is the incredible mastermind and taste-tester of all of her hundreds of desserts. However, her brother Billy, enjoys being part of her regular tasting panel.

Not only do all of her desserts look delicious, but they taste fantastic, too. Really, her stuff sells itself,” he said. “Maryellen doesn't freeze anything, and it all is gorgeous, moist and over-the-top delicious. She follows through from start to end, even with the packaging. She will personally go miles to help with any event.”
The toothsome options are endless at Cakes and Candies by Maryellen—and there's even locally-roasted coffee to pair perfectly with your choice of cookies, cakes and confections. To sink your teeth into one of her many treats, visit Maryellen's boutique during her operating hours of Tues. - Fri., 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sun., 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Find Cakes and Candies by Maryellen online at