*Editor’s Note: This chance originally appeared in Oxford Stories.
By Sloane ReidHottytoddy.com contributor
Many accept gawked over the cakes from Sweet T’s Bakery in Oxford. However, few apperceive the chance of the man abaft the algid delicacies.
“I’m not your archetypal baker,” said Jeff Taylor, 47, who has been referred to as the “unicorn of the block world.” He fights fires, builds cabinets and creates awful apparent cakes that accept alike been showcased on the Food Network’s “Cake Wars.”
Jeff Taylor and his wife Kathleen will accomplish their third actualization on “Cake Wars” this November. The Oxford built-in accelerating from Lafayette High School area he enjoyed arena sports. He abounding Northwest Community College, Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi.
“My affection was arena baseball,” Jeff said. “That’s what I absolutely capital to do in academy and added on.”
However, his baseball career did not booty off. Instead, Jeff got a job with the Oxford Blaze Administration and started architecture and installing cabinets on the side.
Kathleen said she was no drifter to baking.
“As a adolescent I would sit on my little red stool and watch my mother as she adapted banquet for our ancestors or as she broiled us article special,” she said.
Kathleen began decorating cakes afterwards she had her third child. She anticipation about advantageous accession to broil her children’s altogether cakes, but afresh she absitively to do it herself.
“It didn’t attending that hard,” she said. “I would apprentice to do them myself. So I bought a Wilton Yearbook and accomplished myself how to adorn cakes. That was 21 years ago.”
Jeff was still aloof and amateur in the block world. He fabricated his aboriginal block for Kathleen’s 30th birthday.
“It said ‘Happy Berfday’ in icing that alloyed from blush to blooming to dejected because he didn’t accept abundant of any of the colors,” Kathleen said. “So he aloof put them in a bag and went with it.”
Jeff said one affair kickstarted his block baking career—power tools. He saw competitors on the appearance “Ace of Cakes” appliance ability accoutrement and he anon became absorbed and absitively to accord it a try.
“Jeff has consistently been an artist,” Kathleen said, “So accomplishing cakes for him was a accustomed transition. It was aloof a altered average to assignment with.”
The brace absitively to commence on this new adventure. The Taylors had ahead formed in the chiffonier industry together. Although baking cakes was a decidedly altered task, the two were not worried.
“We’ve consistently formed able-bodied together,” Jeff said. “Her strengths are my weaknesses, and my strengths are her weaknesses.”
Their affiliation accepted successful. The University of Mississippi asked them to accomplish several cakes. One was a jersey for signing day that accustomed an arrival of adulation from acceptance and fans.
The two additionally fabricated a abounding anatomy deer cake, which went viral afterwards accepting absorption from Mossy Oak Camouflage.
Sweet T’s has created a array of cakes from helmets to turkeys to “Game of Thrones” characters. They accept alike fabricated cakes for Oxford celebrities like the Manning family. Already they fabricated a groom’s block that attenuated the scenes of Ole Miss’ campus with New York City, absolution the Grove accommodated Central Park.
“Every block I do, I appetite to do it bigger aing time,” Jeff said.
As the block business best up alike added for the Taylors, Jeff had to acquisition balance. He abstruse to alone booty block orders about his agenda at the blaze station. Occasionally, he alike formed on the cakes at the station.
Then Sweet T’s absitively to bound into aggressive baking on Food Network’s “Cake Wars.”
“I was aloof sitting at the blaze administration one night, scrolling on the internet, and I saw it. So I aloof beatific in an application,” Jeff said.
The aing affair he knew, the brace was headed to Los Angeles area they won “Cake Wars” not once, but twice.
“‘Cake Wars was the best terrifying, exciting, nerve-wracking, thrilling, adrenaline-pumping adventures I accept anytime been a allotment of,” Kathleen said.
Jeff Taylor begin similarities amid baking on “Cake Wars” and alive aback at home for the Oxford Blaze Department.
“It’s the adventure and the adrenaline,” he said.
In accession to the fast-paced, blood-tingling ancillary of firefighting, Jeff noticed how it has impacted his life.
“It keeps you apprehensive and makes you beholden for what you have. It puts a altered angle on your ancestors life,” he said. “Again, it makes you feel acceptable that you are able to serve.”
Even admitting angry fires is not easy, Jeff believes the block business is absolutely the best difficult.
“You would anticipate firefighting would be the best stressful, but it’s adequate for me,” he said. “With cakes though, it’s the deadlines . . . you cannot be backward with a cake. You accept to get a acceptable affection block done on time.”
The couple’s adamantine assignment has paid off. Not alone did the Taylors win their aboriginal “Cake Wars” competition, but they additionally won afresh during the “Champs Edition,” which includes alone accomplished “Cake Wars” winners.
Sweet T’s is now alive its focus. Although they will abide authoritative cakes, they will focus on the teaching ancillary of the block industry. They are alive on authoritative online tutorials and how-to videos, which appearance the absolute action of their work.
Sweet T’s does not accept a applicant boutique now. Barter can apprentice about the business and abode orders through the Facebook page, Sweet T’s Bakery.
“The name of our aggregation is ‘Sweet T’s . . . Baking Memories,” Kathleen said. “And that is what we try to do by [creating] cakes that our barter will affectionately bethink for years to come.”
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