FROM SCRATCH: Self-taught baker leaves corporate world to start own business

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GREENFIELD — Brenda Deskins was at a wedding when the cake started to collapse.

“That can’t be made right,” she remembered thinking.

Something else was collapsing at the time — her joy for her job as a general manager in the corporate restaurant world.

“I don’t feel like I’m getting anything out of it,” she recalled. “I’m making them lots of money. It’s great to do well for them, but it just wasn’t fulfilling anymore. I’d outgrown it completely.”

She told her husband she wanted to do away with the long hours of the GM life and bake cakes.

“I saw that cake collapse and I was like, I bet I could do that,” she said.

Some YouTube tutorials and Instagram posts later, and now she has a bakery and cafe of her own.

The Confection Connection Bakery is located at 1917 Melody Lane in the strip mall south of Walmart, where Deskins continues making her cakes along with cupcakes in flavors like red velvet, snickerdoodle and death by chocolate.

Breakfast options include bacon, egg and cheese croissants; homemade biscuits with sausage gravy; and cinnamon rolls. The lunch menu offers freshly made soups, salads and sandwiches. Hot and cold coffee and espresso drinks are also available.

Deskins, who co-owns the business with her husband, Todd, has only been baking for a year and a half. She’s always enjoyed cooking, which drew her to the restaurant industry, and figured she’d feel the same about baking. So she took it up as a hobby and honed her skills with the help of YouTube videos.

“I’m 100% self taught because I just decided I wanted to do it,” she said.

Deskins started doing custom cakes, which quickly turned into a business thanks to word of mouth and posts on her Instagram account, theconfectionconnectionbakery.

She enjoys taking customers’ ideas and turning them into her creations.

“That’s the best part, because they’re so happy when they get their cake and it’s exactly what they love,” she said.

Deskins and her husband, formerly of Auburn, had long wanted to open a restaurant. After being in Greenfield for a while, it seemed like an ideal place to do it.

“We really like this community,” she said. “Everyone’s so nice and friendly.”

As a general manager for a restaurant in town, Deskins worked with service manager Lorraine Atkins, who had also grown dismayed with the corporate restaurant world. When it came time to find a general manager for The Confection Connection Bakery, the search didn’t last long.

“The ability to connect with people is a lost art in the service industry,” Deskins said. “And I feel like that’s one thing that she’s very good at. She connects with people, she talks to them, she truly enjoys what she does.”

Atkins recalled a recent customer who said the bakery made her day better.

“That’s what’s cool about serving people and doing this work,” she said. “It’s more than just making food. You’re making a difference in someone’s day, or event, or memory.”

Transforming the former Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt location required extensive work, Deskins and Atkins said, including covering up all of the orange and green paint, installing a new front counter and erecting a partial wall between the dining and line areas. They hired a staff of four to help them run a business they can all be proud of.

“Corporate restaurants — the volume is just so high, it’s really hard to keep the quality in everything,” Atkins said. “We’ve taken a lot of the things that we didn’t like out of our restaurant experience and made that happen here.”

Like being closed on Sundays.

“I know it’s a day that’d be very busy, but it was important to give the staff a family day,” Deskins said.

Atkins agreed.

“That’s one of the biggest things that we were missing in the corporate world, is balance,” she said. “We want to have a work-family-life balance, and that’s what we want to create here.”

Deskins’ enthusiasm remains sturdy, unlike that wedding cake that helped put her on her new path.

“I enjoy it now,” she said. “I enjoy what I do.”

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1917 Melody Lane, Greenfield

6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday

Closed Sundays

Call 317-318-2031 to order ahead and skip the line

Curbside and 15-minute parking available

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