‘Slice’ of Heaven

Published 10:13 am Tuesday, August 9, 2016

SUNBURY – She has aspired to open and operate her own bakery, and if Hannah Winslow’s dream comes true, expect to see a lot of smiling faces at her table.

The Sunbury native, just two years removed from being part of the Class of 2014 at Ridgecroft School, is currently enrolled in the Bryan School of Business at UNC-Greensboro. But don’t let her major in entrepreneurship fool you….it’s simply an effort to learn the “business” side of a business. The baking part is where Winslow is a natural.

Hannah Winslow displays just one of her unique desserts – a sweet tea cake with whipped cream frosting – crafted in the kitchen of her home near Sunbury. | Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

Hannah Winslow displays just one of her unique desserts – a sweet tea cake with whipped cream frosting – crafted in the kitchen of her home near Sunbury. | Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

“It’s been my dream since age 14 to open a bakery. I thought by majoring in entrepreneurship would give me the guidance I needed for the business world….acquire the skills I need to open up my own shop,” said the rising junior at UNC-G.

The skill of baking was acquired when Winslow was just a child.

“My mom had me in the kitchen when I was little…first just making simple things like brownies and I developed a knack for it,” she said.

However, her plans for crafting and selling sweet treats will not be close to home.

“I want to stay in the Triad (Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point) area,” she said. “I really enjoy that area of the state.”

Wherever she opens her bakery, Winslow said she will strive to be the best.

“I want to make people happy with food because food sure makes me happy,” she smiled.

Outside of her family, Winslow’s “happy food” spread to her church – Up River Friends Meeting in Belvidere.

“They’ve been my biggest supporters other than my mom and dad,” Winslow said of her church, which she joined in her early teen years. “It began as a hobby, then some of the ladies said they would pay me if I made a dessert for them to take to a church meeting. I guess that’s where the idea kicked in that I could make a living off operating a bakery.”

At church, her lemon cake, strawberry cake, strawberry cupcakes and key lime cupcakes are a hit. So is her latest creation, a sweet tea cake.

For now she is satisfied with just the baking aspect. Winslow said she is just in the learning stages of cake decoration.

“I’ve done a few decorated cakes for kids birthdays, but I need way more practice to decorate a wedding cake,” she admitted. “I’ve watched a lot of You Tube videos of cake decorating….I’ll get to that level one day.”

Winslow is also mastering the art of pie making.

“Actually I like pie better than cake,” she said. “I like the pie crust.”

“We’ve made a lot of cakes and other treats together,” said Hannah’s mom, Robin Winslow. “I had a cookbook and we would pick something out and make it. We had a Friday night ritual when she was a lot younger of making brownies, popping a bowl of popcorn and making hot chocolate and sitting down together and watching a movie.

“I’m hoping I’ve passed along some good things about life and cooking to Hannah,” beamed Robin. “It makes me very proud that she that she wants to be a baker. She’s been persistent with it. I have no doubt she’ll be successful.”

Mrs. Winslow, a native of eastern Tennessee, said her late grandmother was a master baker.

“She was known for her cakes; whenever there was a reunion or church social, people would be on the lookout for her cakes,” she said.

Robin Winslow said her mother was more of an artist than a baker.

“My mom loved to paint,” she said. “I stuck more to baking and when I had her (Hannah) I knew I wanted to pass down my love of baking.”

On the other side of the family, Robin’s mother-in-law is known for her homemade crafts.

Put all those family characteristics together, and Hannah possesses the instincts of a baker and an artist in cake decorating.

Already, Hannah is thinking outside the box when it comes to her bakery.

“Perhaps I could incorporate a bakery with a café and a music venue,” she said. “I want my shop to primarily be a bakery, but serve coffee and breakfast items as well.”

Hannah’s mind is already turning with a specialty breakfast item – preparing grits biscuits with a slice of savory country ham inside.

Robin’s regular breakfast biscuits are already a hit at Scott’s Store in Belvidere, especially her cheddar cheese biscuits.

“My biscuits are just like my mom and grandmother made; no recipe…you just make the dough by feel and hand-roll them,” noted Mrs. Winslow.

Returning to the main topic of discussion, Hannah admitted that some of her cake creations are much easier than others.

“I would say lemon cake is the easiest to make; the hardest is a beehive cake because there are so many layers,” she revealed.

Another impressive item – at least to Mrs. Winslow – is the fact that Hannah keeps a book of plans, to include recipes she has developed.

“I’ll see something on TV or run across another food item and want to make it better,” said Hannah. “That’s how I developed my style of a sweet tea cake; I even have a recipe for a Cheerwine cake and a Mint Julep cake, with no alcohol. My next goal is to develop a banana pudding cake.”

Her mind is full of ideas, and not just recipes. For her bakery, she’s studying an “artistically country” theme, blending southern antiques, to include a children’s reading zone, and her baking skills.

And she has a boyfriend….he’s hooked on her baking skills.

“I made him a bag of molasses cookies and that’s all it took,” she smiled.

And if he eventually “pops the question” – Hannah already has plans to make her own wedding cake.

Those wishing to view Hannah’s tasty creations can visit hewimages.wix.com/bakesbyhannah

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal