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Bringing Passion To Life

Westfield Bakery Run By Small, Dedicated Crew

Chocolate cupcakes made and boxed by Cakes by Brandy. Submitted photo

WESTFIELD — One notices the smells of sweet baked goods wafting through the air when entering Cakes by Brandy at 42 E. Main St. in Westfield. Delicious treats are displayed in the glass showcase and in a refrigerated case nearby. The kitchen can be seen through an opening where the owner, Brandy Cochrane, and her full-time assistant, Lisa Brisley, frost, decorate and cut the flavorful labors of their morning.

It is hard to believe Brandy had no culinary school or decorating lessons by the appearance of her creations.

“I learned through lots of practice and hands-on,” said the bakery owner.

She has enjoyed baking since home economics class in high school, but it was never her passion.

“I wanted to go into criminal justice and was accepted at Alfred State, but I didn’t go.”

Brandy Cochrane is set up for a wedding. Submitted photo

She worked at Heritage Village in dietary, starting as a dishwasher and later becoming a cook. From there she worked at Cummins. She left that job after having a baby, working 70-hour weeks and not seeing her family. She then became certified to open a day care business and was home with her family.

She had baked cakes for her children’s birthday parties while working at Cummins. When her 7-year-old son requested a 3-D deer head cake, she called local bakeries and soon realized the cost of the cake was not within the family’s budget. Since she had started early, she had enough time to practice making the cake.

“Now I look back and can’t believe I showed that cake to people,” she said.

She recalled the time she had made a cake for her sister’s baby shower. Hours before the event, her Labrador Retriever chewed off the bottom layer. Without any expectations, she posted her mother-in-law’s retirement cake on Facebook.

“It kind of exploded. People said ‘I want you to make a cake for me.'”

Pumpkin roll with crumb-topped muffins. Submitted photo

She soon rented a small shop where pre-orders for her cakes were accepted. She found herself buying a new tool with each order. People began stopping by to see what she had, prompting her to make cupcakes to sell.

Within nine months of posting the cake picture on Facebook, she was taking orders for wedding cakes. The little shop was outgrown after a year and a half and the bakery was moved to its current location.

Cakes by Brandy takes orders for bridal and baby shower cakes, as well as birthday cakes and other baked goods. She fully books wedding cake orders. She was setting up for a bride-to-be’s cake tasting on the day of my visit to the bake shop.

“We average three to six wedding cake tastings per week and 99% go with us for the wedding cakes,” said the entrepreneur.

Cochrane recently introduced a spumoni cake and a fresh raspberry cake with white ganache filling covered in white buttercream. Breakfast items are offered, such as muffins, turnovers, scones and coffee cake.

“We try to offer something for each meal,” she said. “People love our edible cookie dough.”

A woman from Gowanda stopped by to pick up an almond cake with raspberry filling that she had ordered for her birthday after tasting the cake at a wedding she had attended. Another woman came from Jamestown for the Italian chocolate cookies.

A man riding a bike stopped for his order of four apple turnovers and reordered for the next week. With his first order he requested she sprinkle sugar over the egg wash. The baker did so and admit it enhanced the flavor of the turnovers.

Not only does the bakery get foot traffic, they supply cheesecakes, decadent cakes and brownies to a local restaurant and on occasion make desserts for a drug company’s events.

She employs one full-time employee and three part-time employees, but if her wholesale to restaurant business increases, she will be hiring more help. From time to time she has interns and volunteers who need community service hours.

“Before I hired Lisa two years ago, I closed during vacation. She is an amazing baker. Her cookies are phenomenal,” the business owner said. “She keeps me in check. In order to grow as a business, you have to change. Lisa has brought new things to the table. She brought organization and consistency.”

“We clicked,” said Lisa, who knows the importance of consistency from working 28 years in quality control at a previous job.

Madyson Abbey, her first hire, and Susie Wolfe are both part-time employees and students. Savannah Lashbrook works during the summer.

Wolfe and Abbey have become decorators. Wolfe did the decorating during Cochrane’s recent vacation.

“The only way I get through the day is with my amazing staff,” said Cochrane. “They are so responsible. They don’t call off. If one wants the day off, they contact the other. I really hope they like working for me.”

She is married to Michael Cochrane, who is the captain of the DEC fishing vessel in Dunkirk. They are the parents of Michael, 14; Hailey, 8; and Sadie, 3.

When she isn’t working at the bakery, she finds time to attend her children’s sports events.

“My husband and I enjoy hunting deer, turkey and squirrel. I just love being outdoors.”

As a family they go tent camping and fishing. The couple owns a scuba diving boat, Osprey Charters, which takes divers to the sight of Lake Erie shipwrecks.

Orders can be made by stopping in, calling 397-380, through a Facebook message or by emailing cakesbybrandy86@gmail.com. Hours are Labor Day to Memorial Day Tuesday through Thursday 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Summer hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

BEEFY TACO CUPS

1 lb ground beef

1 packet taco seasoning

1 tube flaky biscuits

1 c taco cheese

Sour cream, ranch dressing or taco sauce

Brown beef in large skillet. Drain. Follow directions on seasoning packet. Spray muffin tin with pan spray. Press biscuits in bottom and up sides of pan. Spoon beef mixture into biscuit cups. Bake in oven at 375 degrees until almost golden brown. Sprinkle cheese on top of each cup and put back in oven until cheese is melted.

Dip in sour cream, ranch dressing or taco sauce.

CHEWY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

2 1/4 c flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 c butter, softened

1/2 c sugar

1 c packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 large eggs

2 c chocolate chips

1 T vanilla pudding mix

Cream butter and sugars. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Mix all dry ingredients in separate bowl. Add dry mix to sugar mixture. Add chocolate chips. Scoop by teaspoon onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

APPLE PIE BARS

Crust:

Cooking spray

1 c butter, softened

1/2 c granulated sugar

1/4 c packed brown sugar

2 1/2 c flour

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Filling:

6 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 c packed brown sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Topping:

1 1/2 c flour

1 c chopped pecans

1 c packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

3/4 c butter, melted

Caramel, for serving

Preheat oven to 350∂ and line a 9-inch by 13-inch pan with parchment paper, then grease with cooking spray. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add flour and salt and mix until just combined. Press into prepared pan about 1/2-inch up sides. Bake until lightly golden, about 20 minutes. In a large bowl, toss apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt together. Spread apples over crust. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pecans, brown sugar, and salt. Stir in melted butter until coarse clumps form. Sprinkle crumb topping over apples and bake until top is golden and apples are soft, about 1 hour. Let cool at least 15 minutes then slice into squares and drizzle with caramel before serving.

GRANDMA’S LASAGNA

Meat sauce:

3 lbs ground chuck

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, chopped

1 T basil

1 T oregano

1 T salt

1 12-ounce can tomato paste

12 ounces water

Cheese filling:

16 oz cottage cheese

1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese

2 T parsley flakes

3 eggs, beaten

For the lasagna, use mozzarella and provolone cheese, six sliced lasagna noodles, and pepperoni.

For meat sauce, in a heavy skillet, slowly brown ground chuck. Spoon off fat. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer one hour, stirring occasionally. For cheese filling, mix together cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, parsley and eggs.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain. Grease a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. Place half of the cooked noodles in baking dish. Spread with half of the cheese filling and layer with sliced cheese. Add half of the meat sauce. Repeat layers, topping with mozzarella to cover entirely. Top with sliced pepperoni. Bake for 1 hour. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

CAULIFLOWER PIZZA CRUST

1 head cauliflower, cored

1/2 c shredded mozzarella

1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Toppings of choice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Break cauliflower into florets and pulse in food processor until fine. Steam in a steamer basket. Drain well. Put on a towel to remove remaining excess moisture. Cool. In a bowl, combine cauliflower with remaining ingredients. Pour onto the center of the baking sheet. Spread into a circle. Bake for 20 minutes. Add desired toppings and bake an additional 10 minutes.

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