Business

Local Taos baker whips up delectable, custom layers of cakes

By Kathy DeLucas
For The Taos News
Posted 11/20/18

"A party without cake is just a meeting," according to the late chef Julia Child. Local entrepreneur Kyli Rhoads aspires for more parties and fewer meetings with her newly created baking business.

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Business

Local Taos baker whips up delectable, custom layers of cakes

Posted

"A party without cake is just a meeting," according to the late chef Julia Child.

Local entrepreneur Kyli Rhoads aspires for more parties and fewer meetings with her newly created baking business.

Rhoads is originally from Oklahoma. Growing up, she wasn't allowed in the kitchen because of her sometimes catastrophic kitchen events.

"I was clumsy in the kitchen," Rhoads says. "I put metal in the microwave and once placed a plastic bag of tortillas on a hot stove burner smelling the house up with a burnt plastic smell for about a week."

It wasn't until she went to college, particularly Washington state to earn her master's degree in environmental sciences, when she started baking.

She came to New Mexico three years ago and last winter decided to take her baking seriously. A big fan of the Netflix "Great British Baking Show," Rhoads challenged herself to bake something once a week to learn something new. Some of the baking lessons she has mastered while others have been disasters, she admits.

Since February, she estimates that she has practiced baking for more than 900 hours.

"It's been a great learning experience," Rhoads says. "Not only do I find it relaxing, but I've found I'm pretty good at it."

"You eat it with your eyes first," says customer and taste-tester Jay Gatlin, describing the appearance of the baked goods.

I'm generally not a fan of cake because I find frosting overly sweet, but she combines savory with just enough sweet to make you go back for more," Gatlin says. "There's often a delicate and subtle balance and combination of the spices and flavors that she uses."

"I'm not ready to give up my job," Rhoads says of her 12-hour day dispatching job with the county. "It's interesting and it can be stressful at times. It's a different perspective on the county and the people, and I like to help people when they need it the most," she says.

As a 911 dispatcher, she's helped people from routine traffic stops to delivering a baby.

Providing baked goods, however, is a trade she'd like to grow on the side. Rhoads calls her newly formed company Tipsy Lemon Bakes because she often uses rum or whiskey as main ingredients.

"There are some amazing cake artists in Taos, but from what I've seen, we each have some pretty distinct styles," she says, describing her style as contemporary and industrial as she strives for clean lines and a simple design.

"I hate to use that word 'industrial' because no one wants to eat something industrial, but I am fascinated with something that comes out looking like tarnished metal."

Simply baking a cake at 7,000 feet can be a challenge for most, but Rhoads reverts to her science education behind the flops and follies of high-altitude baking.

"Basically you're trying to build a structure within the cake faster than at lower elevations because the air pressures up here are lower," she explains.

Customer Ricardo Martinez bought a cake for a colleague and soon afterwards, purchased another one to eat at home.

"Just about anyone can whip up a standard cake, but these were at another level," he said. "They were very pretty and melt-in-your-mouth good--something we normally have to get in a larger city like Santa Fe or Albuquerque."

For more information is available on Rhoads' website tipsylemonbakes.com.

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