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the story



I love to eat!

I love to create!

I love to eat what I create!

Working in this industry is hard and refraining from nibbling every couple of minutes is even harder.

Being born in 1960 meant that I experienced a multitude of weddings during the late 1970’s to the mid 1980's. At that time wedding cakes had become an afterthought; something placed, not always so delicately, in a little bag for guests to take home. most often it was found the next morning on the car floor.

When I got married, my cake was made by a wedding coordination company in the south suburbs of Chicago. Not only did they make our wedding cake, they designed our flowers, dyed the girls' shoes, and arranged for our limousine. They were truly polymathic (might have to look that one up - I know I did). They did a great job and the cake was delicious.  Unlike many of the weddings I had been to, I planned on serving our cake for dessert. In fact, the hotel charged me an extra cutting fee for bringing in my own baker. At the time I'd never considered baking as a profession, but I knew the importance of a delicious slice of cake at the end of a meal.

How did a young, newlywed account executive at an ad agency end up being a mother of two who owns/operates a wedding cake company and mail order gourmet sweets webstore? I wanted a change. I wanted to combine my passion for art and baking. it just made sense. for me, wedding cake creation was the perfect way to make something beautiful that was more than just a work of art, but delicious as well.

sure, school was an option, but i decided that experience was way more important at this stage in my life. so i experimented at home. the neighbors voted on which cakes they liked best, and my children (then toddlers) didn't know that the sugar decorations i made in advance weren't supposed to be eaten until the event..nonetheless, we all benefited from the spoils.

then one day i ventured out into the world of professional kitchens, which is much different than the romantic tv and movie portrayals. it's probably a good thing i didn't know better, because i might have initially ran in the opposite direction! it's not an easy place, but one i loved and felt very comfortable in.

I started take the cake by subletting a small area in a catering kitchen. But it wasn't long before I found myself in a bigger kitchen with a bigger oven.  I initially focused on cake but truly loved all pastry.  At the same time it seemed that local bakeries were disappearing because supermarkets were convenient and offering less expensive pastries. It was getting harder and harder to get quality sweets. The growth of ecommerce presented an opportunity to share our new products with people who appreciated high quality, delicious sweets no matter how close or far from Chicago they were.  that's how chocolate gourmet came into being.

Somehow, the two companies kept crossing over, a little like country music. "do you make party or wedding favors?"

"do you sell cakes on line?"

that was when we knew that this domestic partnership needed to become "official" the marriage of take the cake and chocolate gourmet resulted in


......the destiny of two separate companies born from the same passion.

thank you for getting to know me and for visiting cake.

- mary winslow - pastry chef, entrepreneur, and mom