By Emily Williams-Robertshaw
Mallory Webb knew she wanted to one day own her own business, but she never envisioned in her youth that she would one day own a bakery.
It wasn’t until she was well into her studies at Samford University that she found she had a knack for the pastry arts.
“I hated science in school, but somehow I just connected with baking,” Webb said.
Cut to 2021, and Webb is now the owner of Daughters Baking, a bakery that began with a few photos on Instagram and is now opening its first storefront in Mountain Brook Village.
The bakery will open to customers July 29 in the space between Bromberg’s and Ousler’s Sandwiches.
Webb had been looking for a space for her growing team for a while. She thought she’d found one right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but it just didn’t seem to be the right fit.
“It was way too expensive and our team wasn’t trained, so when our Realtor found this space, we just loved it and something felt right,” Webb said. “It felt like we had to keep jumping through all of these hoops and at times felt like things weren’t going to work out with this space, but we stuck with it.”
It’s a huge risk, transforming what previously was a clothing store into a store for baked goods.
“So many people have been so supportive and telling us that we are in the best location, so that has been really encouraging, too,” she said.
The storefront will be the company’s first space where workers can meet patrons right off the street for walk-in orders, pick-up orders and consultations. Previously, it only had kitchen space and online sales.
“I think a lot of people around here don’t know who we are, which is awesome and really gives us room to grow,” Webb said.
After a few years working part time at Urban Standard during school, the coffee shop’s baker was planning to move out of town and began training Webb to take over her position. It was then that Webb really began homing in on baking as a potential career.
Webb gleaned all that she could from her predecessor, especially skills to create unique flavor profiles.
“I learned how to pair flavors while making the donuts,” Webb said. “Our lavender honey cake really came from making a lavender donut with a honey glaze and white chocolate.”
Donuts were a big seller at the store, and their simple preparation made them perfect for experimentation. She then graduated to playing around with cookies, cake bites and perfecting scone recipes.
“When I was at Urban I just decided to teach myself how to bake different things each week,” Webb said. “At one point I decided I wanted to work on my cakes, and I think my manager had given me the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook. I thought the cakes were really beautiful.”
Written by Christina Tossi, the cookbook was a massive success and was touted as changing the way the culinary world viewed desserts. Her nostalgic flavors were inspired by her childhood, such as items with sugary cereals, and her signature cakes featured “naked” edges.
“I just copied the recipe that was in there – I believe it was the carrot cake – and loved the look of it,” Webb said.
She began playing around with flavors using that same naked cake technique. It also gave her a break from teaching herself how to ice a cake.
“I didn’t enjoy it,” she said. “You have to be so meticulous with icing. I like the more whimsical feeling of making the Milk Bar style cake.”
She also was inspired by the way Milk Bar cakes put together nostalgic and whimsical flavor pairings.
“It’s led me to walk down the aisles at the grocery store and think about what could be fun,” Webb said.
At first, Webb said, she played around with lemon a lot because it is a customer favorite.
“I’m always drawn more to anything that is light brown,” Webb said. “Coffee, pecan, brown butter – those kinds of flavors. I’m more of a fall girl.”
In late July, when the storefront opens for Daughters Baking, patrons will see some of Webb’s most successful creations in full-size cakes and mini-cakes.
“We’re going to launch with our customer favorites, because we change our menu a lot,” she said.
The company has been conducting polls on Instagram to see what customers love and what flavor combinations they have been missing.
Some of the top-ranking flavors include cookies and cream, salted caramel pretzel, tiramisu, strawberry champagne, wedding cake and Reese’s peanut butter.
“People love the blueberry lemon,” Webb said. “We’ve had that on the menu for years and I feel like we would enrage customers if we took that off.”
The top flavors will remain on the menu for the rest of the summer, but come fall, there will be a shift to a new seasonal menu.
“I’m excited for those flavors,” Webb said. “It’s so fun to offer holiday treats.”
The other arm of the bakery is its wedding creations, which will always be available to brides. It’s an aspect of the business that Webb loves.
“There is something about weddings that I have always really enjoyed,” Webb said. “Something about the wedding culture feels so exciting and celebratory. Weddings are so special.
“I’m thankful for this style of cakes because they have been relatively easy to set up compared to other styles of cakes,” she continued. “We’re still getting better at it and refining our process.
“With weddings, if all things go well, it’s really enjoyable to see the bride, bridesmaids and everybody in attendance gathered together. (It) is exciting,” Webb said.
She noted that her team has become obsessed with the backyard weddings trending lately. The downsized wedding trend has led to some beautifully intimate events, she said.
With the impending opening of the Mountain Brook Village storefront, Webb envisions the beginning of something bigger. The hope is to continue to grow and expand, perhaps opening new storefronts in the future.
In addition, it has been important for Webb to focus on giving back. Once the company starts to turn more of a profit, perhaps in its 5- to 10-year plan, she will be able to begin pouring some of that success back into community service programs.
“I don’t even know what that looks like for us at this stage and what types of organizations we’ll partner with, but it has always been important for us to see how we can help better the community,” Webb said.
Webb plans for the Daughters Baking storefront to serve customers Mondays through Fridays and for a four-hour window on Saturdays.
“Our goal is to have all of our cakes stocked for walk-ins, but if we sell out, we sell out,” Webb said. “We’ll allow for pre-order a certain number of days ahead of time.”
While they are still fine-tuning the details of the opening day celebrations, it will include a ribbon cutting with the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce and a festive atmosphere with a large balloon arch in front of the store.
“We’re going to try to make it a party, but we aren’t quite sure what that looks like yet,” Webb said.
For more information, visit daughtersbaking.com.