This week we’re excited to feature the ladies of Dream Cakes, Johanna and Meghan!
We’ve been able to meet and work with many incredible vendors in the Portland wedding industry over the years! We’ve loved getting to know some of the passionate, creative, and dedicated business owners out there. Through these vendor highlight blog posts, we have the opportunity to “introduce” you to the wonderful owners so you can get to know the people behind the business! It’s a great way for you to see a sampling of their amazing work and learn more about them, in their own words!
If you’ve had the opportunity to meet them, you’ll understand why we’re such big fans! Not only do they create incredibly gorgeous and delicious custom cakes, but they’re also lovely, hard working, and just all around fun ladies. Whether you’re looking for a wedding cake, dessert spread, or just want to treat yourself (we won’t tell if you get a whole cake for yourself!), you’re in good hards with Dream Cakes!
How did you get into baking?
There are several parts to this story, here goes! My great grandma basically raised me, teaching me all the “grandma” things (baking, sewing, gardening) I baked my first batch of cookies from scratch at the age 4. Then in high school everyone went vegan and being from Reno, NV there was no such thing as a vegan bakery. And I’m a strong believer that it is not a birthday party unless there’s birthday cake. So, my best friend of 20 years and I started making everyone’s vegan birthday cakes. Turned out we were really good at it.
I went to college for two years after high school and absolutely hated it, haha, instead of studying I just ended up baking for everyone and they loved it. So, I decided to drop out, move to Portland with my bestie, go to baking and pastry school at OCI, the rest is history. That was 10 years ago and I’ve been working in kitchens ever since.
As for Megan, she started working in kitchens making confection (candy, caramel, fudge, that sort of thing) at age 17, and later got a job at black sheep bakery after moving to Portland from Utah. There, she fell in love with large production baking, and decided to go to OCI’s baking and pastry program. After graduating she decided to go back to her roots and went on to run the kitchen for Quin Candy until joining me in late 2016.
How did you get into wedding cakes, specifically?
All OCI students are required to do a 240 hour externship at the bakery of their choice. I chose Black Sheep Bakery where I met Amanda Felt (also where Megan and I originally met). I ended up working with Amanda for 5+ years, she took me under her wing as an ambitious 21 year old and guided me through Portland’s vast food world. At some point I think she was either tired of me (haha) or just thought I had progressed further than just an average baker. Amanda is really good friends with Judy Reese (previous owner of Dream Cakes), Judy asked Amanda if she knew of anyone that would buy DC… and so, at age 26, I did it, and 4 years later, here we are! <3
What inspired you to own your own bake shop?
Amanda, haha! I was one of those wide eyed kids that thought I could do everything in the food world (cake maker, production baker, pastry chef, line cook, dishwasher… etc.). Until one day my chef Aaron Woo from Natural Selection (another place where I did a culinary externship) put things in perspective for me, he asked what I wanted to do with my life, I said “Everything.” He said, “Well, you can’t. Pick one and be the best at it.” This conversation took place right around the same time as Judy approaching Amanda about selling Dream Cakes. To say the least the stars aligned and I listened to my elders. I figured they knew better than me and for whatever reason they believed I could do it.
You obviously both have incredible strengths and skills that complement each other. Were there other reasons it made sense to combine forces and work together?
Part of the reason we decided to join forces wasn’t only because we remained close friends over the past 10 years, but also because we both went through our own personal tragedies which inevitably brought us closer. Somehow the timing was right and it just made sense for both of us.
Who are your cake (or baker) role models? Who inspires you?
Jasmine Rae (of course). Crummb Cakes. Sweet & Saucy Shop. Don’t Tell Charles. Megan still really looks up to Jami Curl, previous owner of Saint Cupcake and Quin Candy.
What’s your favorite aspect to working in the wedding/event industry?
We really love everyone’s individual personalities and styles, it helps keep us creative and entertained. We also love the people in the industry, it’s like getting a whole new group of friends.
What’s one bit of advice you’d give to couples as they pick out wedding cakes?
We are a custom company with a very specific esthetic, when it comes to design our goal is to create a cake that represents the couple and matches the overall theme of the wedding but still holding true to our style. So one piece of advice would be to steer away from Pinterest cakes and allow us to get creative based off of them as a couple and the wedding, making things a little more personal.
Do you each have a personal favorite dessert or cake combo?
I love ice cream! Megan can never pass up a chocolate chip cookie. Or eggnog.
If you weren’t baking delicious treats, what would you be doing?
I’m sure this is cliche but this is truly what I was meant to do, I’d be lost without it. However, if someone said you can never work in kitchens again I’d probably be a gardener/produce farmer in a hot state like New Mexico or something, but I kill all succulents so I’m not sure how well that’d work out? Haha! Megan would be a singer.. most people wouldn’t know this, but she has a really good voice.
If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Mexico is our favorite place on earth so far… but we’ll go anywhere without hesitation. We recently did an amazing trip to France!
Describe your personal style in one sentence.
Clean and classic meets modern. Refined.
Do you love calling Oregon/Portland home? Do you share your home with any fur babies?
Originally being from Reno, Portland simply knocks it out of the park for me! Since I moved here I have gained the same friends that I’m honored to call my family. The food here and the bubble we live in, is just the best! Megan loves Portland but travels home often. She has one adorable cat named Cohen.