Owner and baker, Denise Assad started Bountiful Bakery as a made-to-order business before she established herself at the Brentwood and La Canada Farmers Markets.
Her son, Alexander, helps out sometimes, as he did on Sunday, taking charge of the money customers pay to buy his mom’s mouth-watering desserts.
This is good, because at the moment Assad does all the baking herself and a little bit of help is welcome.
In a world of bakers touting themselves as politically correct with gluten-free and sugar-free products, Assad smiles as she proudly admits that her baking is “old school,” happily embracing sugar, butter and cream.
Using the best ingredients, she has a light touch when it comes to sugar.
“You can find a bakery on any corner where it’s all sweetness and not flavor,” Assad said.
Her line-up of baked goods changes week to week.
Past Sunday she featured raspberry cheesecake bars with almond streusel topping, richly flavored Nanaimo squares, a mixed berry galette that would have been at home in the window of a Parisian patisserie, a sheet cake topped with coconut mascarpone frosting and a dense looking chocolate cake with ganache frosting.
For all her evident talent, Assad is an accidental baker.
Graduating from the Arts Center College of Design, job prospects were hard to find. Feeling low and not knowing what to do, she distracted herself with a school project.
“The holidays were coming up. My son’s school had a bake sale so I made a few things,” she said. “The ladies said how much they liked what I made. In those days I was baking out of an 18 inch oven.”
The business really took off in 2009 when she started selling at the Brentwood Farmers Market.
“I pitched my tent and sold out the first day,” she said.
Soon she was a regular at the La Canada Farmers Market as well and, after that, the Palisades Sunday market.
With business booming and planning to expand soon to the Yamashiro market Thursday evenings, Denise is actively looking to add staff.
Until she finds someone who shares her dedication to quality baking and doesn't mind the long hours, she does all the work herself. Luckily she loves what she does and her son helps out as much as he can too.