As a self-professed Francophile, Joan Baumer knows crepes.
Growing up eating her mother’s version of the French treat and continuing the tradition with her own children, her passion manifested itself into the Crêpe Cakerie out of her home in Cary. She incorporates thoughtful combinations of local flavors in her crepe cakes and European desserts for weddings and other events.
“I’ve always been enchanted by crepes,” she said.
Unlike grandiose wedding cakes, Baumer’s creations are elegant in their simplicity. Eschewing icing roses and fondant, she takes a natural approach to decorating. Gracing each golden tier, elegantly draped fresh flowers seem to be blooming from the cake itself. The lightness of the layers and the carefully combined flavors of the ganache filling are like an airy perfume, fragrant but not overpoweringly sweet.
Baumer has her daughter-in-law to thank for her delicious and successful business. Four years ago, Baumer received a call from her daughter-in-law, asking for a crepe cake for her upcoming wedding. The inexperienced Baumer was up for the challenge and spent several months perfecting her crepe cakes. At the wedding, the cake was an instant sensation.
“Friends starting calling, asking if I would do their 10th-anniversary cake, if I would do a wedding cake, or a birthday cake,” Baumer said.
Struck by the entrepreneurial spirit, she established the Crêpe Cakerie in January 2018.
After working in pharmaceutical market research, Baumer’s marketing background made it easy for her to expand her business. Her gregarious personality and eye for detail also enabled her to connect through Instagram.
“That was a whole exciting journey, learning more about social media and the magic that we can create visually,” she said. “Instagram is such a joyful hobby for me.”
In September, Joan Baumer will launch her YouTube channel, “The Crêpe Queen.” The channel will feature cooking tutorials for crepes and other European desserts.
The majority of Baumer’s clients discover her through the social media site. This was the case for April Barr of Raleigh, who served Baumer’s mochatella cake at her 2018 wedding.
“I’m not a huge sweets fan, so I was searching for alternate ideas,” Barr said. “At the taste test with Joan, she brought out all these flowers and candies, and she was so cute. I couldn’t NOT use her.”
When meeting with clients, Baumer’s motto is, “If you can dream it, I can build it.” Inspired by local and seasonal flavors, she turns to her garden and the farmers market to collect ingredients. Those looking for a classic Baumer flavor should try the lemon lavender cake, the most popular option.
Even if you aren’t in the market for a cake, you can learn some of Baumer’s secrets at one of her crepe-making classes at Whisk in Cary.
“I always loved teaching,” she said. “I want to inspire others to make crepes.”
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