Champlin pastry chef whips up sweet treats

By Megan Hopps

SUN PRESS Newspapers

 

Abby Jimenez moved her family to Champlin after finding a second location for her bakery, Nadia Cakes.

Business was booming at her first shop in Palmdale, Calif., and Jimenez knew that when she opened a second bakery it would be in a place she could call home. She and her husband, Carlos, chose Maple Grove as the perfect fit for their second bakery location after traveling across 23 states and considering setting up shop anywhere from New York City to suburbs in Virginia, where Jimenez has family.

Abby Jimenez, resident of Champlin and CEO of Nadia Cakes in Maple Grove, whips up sweet treats for area residents.

Abby Jimenez, resident of Champlin and CEO of Nadia Cakes in Maple Grove, whips up sweet treats for area residents.

“We decided if we were going to move, we wanted to be someplace we could raise our family,” Jimenez said. “We love the culture, the seasons and we really saw a need for one of a kind bakeries here.”

But Jimenez journey to become an award winning cake decorator and sugar artist began long before the family’s cross-country road trip.

Jimenez always had a passion for baking. While on maternity leave, she began taking cake decorating classes at a local craft store. After the birth of her third child, Jimenez needed to find a way to help pay the bills and still be able to stay home and care for her children.

Jimenez’s tasty treats were popular among her friends and family, so she got the idea to start her own bakery. Her week began taking orders from customers, baking and decorating during the week and delivering the cakes on Saturdays. After two years of churning out delicious baked goods from her full-time at home bakery, Jimenez decided it was time to take the next step and open her first cake shop.

Trays of “My Bloody Valentine” cupcakes filled the glass case at Nadia Cakes the week of Valentines Day. This “lovely” cupcake has a layer of red velvet and fudgy brownie batter filled with fudge and topped with a chocolate cream cheese frosting a candy heart.

Trays of “My Bloody Valentine” cupcakes filled the glass case at Nadia Cakes the week of Valentines Day. This “lovely” cupcake has a layer of red velvet and fudgy brownie batter filled with fudge and topped with a chocolate cream cheese frosting a candy heart.

In 2009, Jimenez launched her first highly successful store Nadia Cakes, named after her middle daughter’s nickname, in Palmdale. Boasting a menu of over 200 cupcake flavors, including “Pretty in Pink” and “Be my Lemontine” in honor of Valentine’s Day, the shop also features custom-made cakes, cupcakes, cookies, macaroons and trifles. Nadia Cakes pastry chefs even include some sugar-free and gluten-free options. Jimenez also jokes about a new favorite, the “Unicorn Poop” cupcake to be specially prepared for April Fools.

After having success at their Palmdale shop, Jimenez and her husband began scouting the next location for a second shop. And Maple Grove was just the spot.

“We’re not an urban bakery,” Jimenez said. “We want to serve the soccer moms, the brides planning a wedding, people looking for a special dessert.”

And the shop sure is a cozy retreat for soccer moms and brides alike.

Surrounded by windows in the café seating area, where iced coffee and unique cupcakes can be enjoyed, the shop features a large glass-enclosed cupcake case, chandelier, three-sided fireplace and a private area, complete with antique sofa, for customers to discuss special orders with a baker.

“We had one girl come in and ask for a rooster cake,” said Jimenez with a laugh. “One time we were asked to do a Ghostbusters cake with a big marshmallow man on top. That was fun.”

Because of the original Nadia Cakes popularity, Jimenez not only attracted local attention, but national attention as well. She was on TLC’s “Fabulous Cakes,” which led to an invitation to be a contestant on an episode of the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.” On the show, she and her head pastry chef, Randi Valenzuela, were declared the winners of the $10,000 prize. Judge Florian Bellanger declared the Nadia Cakes cheesecake cupcake to be “one of the best cheesecake cupcakes he’s ever eaten.” Made with Madagascar bourbon vanilla bean, from-scratch pie crust, freshly made whipping cream and a triple-berry compote, Jimenez says it’s one of their most labor-intensive cupcakes, and a customer favorite. Among other customer must-haves? The lemon drop and salted caramel cupcakes.

Jimenez could not be happier with the success the second shop has found. Flourishing at the Fountains of Arbor Lakes, the cozy cafe is comfortably nestled into the Maple Grove community.

“This is such a great place it is to raise kids,” she said, adding that the Maple Grove location for Nadia Cakes is also a perfect fit and compatible with the vibe the owners want to create in the community.

“We absolutely love it here,” said Jimenez. “Our kids are so happy, our neighbors are great. We are here to stay.”

 

Contact Megan Hopps at megan.hopps@ecm-inc.com

 

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