Sweet Expansion: Bake Me Treats Opens New Location in Salem

SALEM, Ohio – When a real estate agent showed Bake Me Treats owner Gabriele Brocker an East State Street storefront, she knew that’s where she wanted to open her second location.

“I fell in love with it,” Brocker said.

The 657 E. State St. space is the perfect size, and her shop fits with the surrounding small businesses.

“Salem has a lot of events that help promote the businesses,” Brocker said.

Bake Me Treats opened in 2015 in Poland, and Brocker knew she wanted to open a second spot. A regular customer in Poland has a Salem connection and set up the meeting between Brocker and the real estate agent.

The Salem location opened Sept. 6, and a ribbon-cutting event is planned for Thursday. The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

That varies slightly from the Poland shop’s hours, which are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The Poland store is at 16 S. Main St.

Bake Me Treats’ specialty is its macaron, a French confection made of two almond meringue cookie shells with a tasty filling in between, creating a sweet, pretty sandwich cookie. The filling might be ganache, jam or buttercream.  

It’s not to be confused with the macaroon, although pastry novices often do. A macaroon is an Italian cookie made from shredded coconut and often dipped in chocolate.

Bake Me Treats offers 18 different macaron flavors – 15 regular and three seasonal. Regular flavors include buckeye, salted caramel, lemon, lavender and funfetti. Current seasonal flavors are pina colada, peach ring and smores.

Besides macarons, Bake Me Treats offers cupcakes, brownies, cookies and Cake Blah Blahs, cake pops without the stick.

But its version differs from some of the more traditional types made of cake pieces mixed with buttercream.

The Cake Blah Blahs are dipped in a coating and have a filling: cream cheese or flavored buttercream.

The unusual name stems from Brocker’s initial resistance to add the items to the menu. Cake pops and cake truffles gained popularity about 10 years ago, with bakeries selling them as a way to use cake scraps that are left when bakers carve off pieces to make cakes even.

Her employees wanted to add cake pops to Bake Me Treats’ menu, but Brocker initially held out because she believed it would be too much to add a new item. She also thought cake pops tasted one-note.

Eventually, she caved. The name comes from Brocker saying, “You want to do cake pops, blah, blah.”

They made them better by dipping them in coating and filling them.

“They’ve really caught on,” Brocker said. “They’re very popular, and I love them now.”

Bake Me Treats is a favorite for weddings, showers and parties, too. The macaron towers prove in demand.

In early 2022, the shop began online shipping nationwide. It ships brownies and items such as bags and mugs with the Bake Me Treats logo. Macarons are available for shipping from fall to spring. Temperatures rise too high in the summer to ship them.

Besides the hours, another difference at the Salem location is a seating area, WiFi and coffee and tea sales. Those things used to be available in Poland, too, but were discontinued to make room for freezers and office space that were needed at the store.

Making the signature macarons involves a long, labor-intensive process.

Brocker arrives at the Poland shop each morning and makes the batter and pipes the shells. Each batter batch makes about 600 shells, which must dry for about two hours before baking.

Then the shop’s Mac Team arrives and fills the baked shells. The whole process runs four and a half to five hours.

Opening a bakery has been a dream of Brocker’s since she was a young girl.

“I’ve always loved sweets,” she said. “My whole family loves sweets.”

She started baking in grade school so she could have something sweet after dinner. It became a passion, and all through high school she knew she wanted to attend culinary school.

She graduated from the Culinary Institute of Pittsburgh.

Brocker hopes to open more locations in the future. She’s eyeing parts of Trumbull County and other communities in Mahoning County as possibilities.

“Our mission is to spread joy through the power of treats,” she said.

Pictured at top: Bake Me Treats owner Gabriele Brocker stands in front of her new Salem location.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.