Cheryl Brantley shares her early morning routine in the Cafe 120 bakery. Part of owning this coffee shop is preparing the freshly baked goods they serve to their customers. Read about her mornings and the history behind some of the recipes below.
Early to Rise
“I get up at 4am, and it’s my favorite time of the day. I have a coffee machine with a timer, so I set it before I go to bed. And it’s nice to smell it from upstairs in the morning. I get up and have my coffee and sit down with my computer. And it’s just quiet and lovely. Then I come into the cafe at 6:30 and make biscuits. My mamma taught me my biscuit recipe. Mother worked all the time but she would make biscuits on the weekends. Anything that was left over my brother and I would gobble up during the day. And now I make them every morning. I knead it with my hands. You gotta feel it. And I have good and bad days with the biscuits. But you know the feel of the dough when it’s ready. After I’m done we put all the pastries out and open at 7:30am. Then if I have time I’ll sit down and drink a latte.”
“I have a pound cake that was my mother-in-law’s pound cake. It’s good and it sells really well. But I have it because back when I had my first coffee shop 20 years ago the laws and regulations were less stringent. So my mother-in-law would bake me pound cakes in her kitchen at home and bring them into the shop. And that was perfectly fine back then. She would do maybe 2 or 3 a week. And I had customers that would come in and would get so upset if I didn’t have any that day. Because it’s a good old-fashioned sour cream pound cake. My husband used to make it for Thanksgiving and Christmas. He didn’t have a recipe, he just knew it. Pound cake is about the only thing that he knows how to make. Other than scrambled eggs. He does really good with scrambled eggs. I had to write the recipe down until I learned it, but now I can make it in my sleep. You have to be really careful with this particular cake. It will fall on you in a heartbeat. I have thrown away many of them as I learned!”
“I knew we were going to do cookies at my coffee shop, but as I started baking more I thought, “I really can do this.” So we expanded what we bake and offer. And nobody told me I couldn’t do it, so I did it. And that’s the way I’ve always done things. I mean, I’ve cooked all my life and most of the stuff I already know. Like my biscuits, I know how to make those. We make all our cookies, make the batter up and freeze the cookie dough. We bake them fresh, there’s no preservatives in them – all freshly made. My oatmeal raisin cookies are to die for, they really are. There’s no white sugar in them. I use brown sugar and molasses. And they are dark brown, almost burnt looking. But they are delicious!”
Cheryl hasn’t always owned a coffee shop. Read about her background in the customer service industry and how she ended up opening her coffee shop a year ago. Read the article HERE.