Jocelyn Pierce: Baker and Pastry Artist
Jocelyn Pierce of Mayflour is a maven in the New England pastry business. Dedicated to using only the best local and organic ingredients, she creates cakes and treats that are traditional, beautiful and, above all, delicious. We had the opportunity to talk with Jocelyn about her work in the world of confections.
Can you tell us a little bit about your business? And how you got your start in the world of wedding cakes and confections?
Mayflour specializes in custom cakes, cupcakes, and confections for weddings and events. We make our desserts using the highest quality local + organic ingredients we can find, because we believe in the simple idea that food should be fresh and taste great. It’s important to be thoughtful about what we put into our bodies, even when we indulge, so we are passionate about using local eggs, honey, produce, herbs, organic milk, butter, and flours. Our aesthetic is effortlessly elegant. We create all of our cakes and desserts to be as beautiful as they are delicious.
This business came about very organically. I’ve always enjoyed baking- and always enjoyed homemade treats! I started baking cakes for family events, and really liked that they felt special and celebratory. I made my first wedding cake for my best friend. I loved being a part of her celebration- there is no better feeling than sharing the joy of good food. I continued making wedding cakes for friends, and quickly discovered that I had a true passion for it. Eventually, I decided to take a huge leap of faith and start my own business. After leaving my full-time job, I attended a program at The French Pastry School in Chicago, and soon after graduating, launched Mayflour.
What is your process for talking to a clients? Is there a special question you always ask?
I think that giving clients a set menu to choose from can be really limiting, and often prohibits creativity. Instead, I start a conversation about what kind of event they’re planning. I think seasonality is really important and I always ask about the menu- dessert should complement dinner so the entire meal and evening feels cohesive. For me, it’s important to talk about flavor and ingredients first, as taste is always my priority. I’ll make suggestions based on what clients like, what their plans are, and then we book a tasting for them to sample and make final decisions. I always encourage clients to share inspirational images, colors, and design elements with me to get a sense of their aesthetic, and the last thing we do is discuss the cake design and presentation.
It’s an incredible feeling, and always takes me by surprise, to have such a wonderful response to my work! I had a strong vision of what I wanted to do and what was important to me when I started my business, and have worked really hard to preserve that. There is so much visual content out there on social media, Pinterest, and blogs, but I think it’s really important for me to step away from that and maintain my own voice.
We’ve seen your cakes on Instagram and are amazed at the beauty of your work. You’re a true artisan! Tell us a few ways you keep the creative juices flowing and coming up with new ideas.
My biggest inspiration comes from collaborating with other makers and small business owners. There is nothing more inspiring than spending time with someone that is passionate about what they do! I always feel a surge of creativity after an event- seeing all of the elements come together, and drawing ideas from gorgeous florals and food, or a particularly beautiful design element. I’ve realized how important it is to surround myself with other makers, and how we can inspire and support one another. I’m very lucky to know an incredible group of wedding vendors and business owners whose hard work and passion help me cultivate my own creativity even during difficult moments.
We’ve all heard of the many new wave cooking trends out there. But you seem to stick to the traditional. Why is that?
I’m a traditionalist in a lot of ways. Creative experimentation and the technology we are bringing into the kitchen is super cool. But for me it goes back to the basics of good, simple food to celebrate with friends and family. There is nostalgia in cooking, and in the saving and sharing of recipes, that we all respond to. I think there is beauty in simplicity, especially with food. Celebrating something special with a glass of champagne and a beautiful piece of cake is a wonderful tradition and a simple joy, and I think it always will be.
Your website says, “I believe in really good butter, and that no celebration is complete without a little something sweet.” What are some of the other things that go into really good celebrations?
One thing I love about my job is the different kinds of celebrations I get to be a part of, from over-the-top awesome, to simple and intimate. I started this business because I really do believe that no celebration should be without good food. Additionally, beautiful lighting makes such a difference- candles, string lights, firelight- it makes a space magical. And while I don’t think flowers are always needed, they’re just plain gorgeous. Music is a must, and last but not least- you’ve got to enjoy yourself! Don’t get caught up in details, don’t worry if things don’t go as planned. Relax and be in the moment, that’s what it’s about.