Meet Arley Cakes! Arley is as sweet as sugar and abundantly joyful. This gal is the force behind Arley Cakes, a local business offering custom, specialty baked goods in the Charlottesville area. She's also the in-house pastry chef at Brookville Restaurant. We can personally attest to the mouth-watering goodness of her buttercream frosting, folks, as she served up sweets for our private one year anniversary party this month. And you will get the chance to taste her delicious treats on April 2nd from 10-2 at Darling Boutique! Find out more about the special pop up shop and our one year anniversary celebrations over on Facebook. In the meantime, get to know the amazing gem behind the sweets!
Q&A with Arley
Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? If not the Charlottesville area, what brought you here?
I spent half of my childhood in New Jersey/New York, and the second half in Orange, VA, which is pretty close by. I've been in the area ever since, so about 16 years now.
As a local artisan, describe what you do in town.
I make sweets! I bake at Brookville Restaurant in town, but also cater for weddings, parties, and events. I've gotten to do a couple of pop up shops around town lately that have been really fun. I'm definitely looking forward doing more in the future! Obviously, I make cakes. But I mostly love baking pie, hand pies, cookie sandwiches, and macarons.
It's story time. Talk about your collaboration with Darling Boutique.
I'm stoked about the pop up this weekend! I've done a couple of pop ups at different venues in the past, and they give me a chance to try out new flavor combinations, meet new people, and really explore what I want the Arley Cakes brand to be. I'm always excited to partner with other lady entrepreneurs. We're pretty amazing! I'm finding out more every day about the community of women working hard, and supporting each other to do the things they love! I love it.
Describe Arley Cakes in 10 words or less.
GOOOOOOOOOOOOD. Quirky. Sweet and Savory. Butter life forever.
Where do you go to be creative?
The produce aisle at any grocery store. And the Spice Diva! It's fun to go look at ingredients and let them inspire me.
What inspires your products and/or your process?
I spend so much time on Pinterest these days, it's insane. I'm like 10 years late to the game. I also love The Flavor Bible. I consult that at least once a week to help me come up with unexpected, but good flavor combinations.
When and why did you become an artisan? / How did you get into this business?
There are three main reasons: my love for making things/obsession with tiny details; my lack of a sweet tooth; and my work and living in [the Prospect Avenue neighborhood].
I've always loved making things with my hands. In high school and college, I studied painting and art. I taught myself to crochet in middle school (my brothers made fun of me a lot for that one). I got really into making intricate pop cards at one point. After college, baking became my avenue for art. I get very obsessed over tiny, meticulous details.
I also don't really enjoy very many sweets. It's so easy to make desserts that are overly sweet and boring in flavor. I like my desserts a little salty, not too sweet, and with interesting flavors and textures. Baking them myself means I always get to have desserts I really enjoy! Although, by the time I'm done baking at the end of the day, I'm maxed out on my sweet tooth. It's not very often that I have more than a bite of what I bake. But at least I enjoy that bite.
Lastly, through living in Prospect and working for Abundant Life for the last 5 years, I saw the need for minority owned businesses in low-income neighborhoods that hire minorities from low-income neighborhoods.
That's my ultimate goal for Arley Cakes. To be an inspiration and opportunity for the wonderful women I call my neighbors and friends.
What are you working on right now?
Where can someone find your products?
Brookville Restaurant, and a few more pop up shops throughout the spring & summer!
What piece of jewelry can you not leave the house without?
Hand me down elephant earrings from Kenya.