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THE PASTRY QUEEN

making cupcakes

THE PASTRY QUEEN

Pastries by Design

BY ASHTON GOGGANS
PHOTO BY PETER ACKER

making cupcakes

{xtypo_dropcap}L{/xtypo_dropcap}yndsy Mcdonald, 29-year-old owner of Lakewood Ranch’s Pastries By Design, grew up with ganache running through her veins. Her mother was a custom wedding cake baker. At 10 Lyndsy was “peddling cookies to church ladies,” she says. At 18 she was selling custom cakes.

After completing an AA in baking and pastries at Johnson and Wales’ Charleston, SC, campus, and a BA in food and beverage management at J & W’s Denver campus, Lyndsy returned home to the Gulf Coast. She worked at the Lido beach Resort, then as an event planner at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, all the while baking custom cakes on the side. As the cake orders grew, Lyndsy was forced to make a decision.

“I could either stay at the Museum, and stop making cakes,” she says, “or I had to open up a shop. I was used to being young and poor, so we figured, ‘why not jump off that cliff now?’”

She opened up her first shop off State Road 70, selling boutique cakes, cookies and, of course, cupcakes. In September, Lyndsy moved the business to Lakewood Ranch Main Street. The new space is about as downtown as she can handle: “If I can’t see the stars,” she says, “I don’t want to be there.” In any case, it’s proven quite popular; Pastries By Design doubled its sales numbers from the previous September, which is traditionally the slowest month. Lyndsy now employs a staff of nine, counting herself. The new location opened just in time to work out the inevitable kinks before the holiday rush. “If September was our slowest month,” she says, “God help us.”

They see between 12 and 20 dozen cupcakes fly out the doors each day, and with offerings like chocolate-peanut butter-bacon, Oktoberfest cupcakes like chocolate Guinness, or one of her favorites, the turtle cupcake (which has homemade dulce de leche and candied pecans and just talking about it makes one’s mouth water), it’s easy to see why.

Though PBD’s specialty is boutique custom cakes, Lyndsy holds a special place in her heart for the holiday variations.

“People want decadence during the holidays,” she says. “They want to eat the stuff they can’t justify during the rest of the year. The Death by Chocolates, cheesecakes, almond and marzipan. And we do a ton of Christmas cookies.”

Where the rest of the year she’s decorating some of the most ornate and stunning cakes around, during the holidays it’s substance over style. “Most of the holiday stuff is naturally garnished,” she says. “Sure, we might paint a snowflake on a few, but most people want the decadence in the flavor. They want the stuff they grew up on.” pastriesbydesign.com

RECIPE

TURTLE CUPCAKES

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