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New Tacoma bakery space will spill over with delicious desserts

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Spilled Butter Desserts pie

In the last four years, Brianne Day has operated her Spilled Butter Desserts out of a cubbyhole window in North Tacoma, her mother’s catering kitchen and a rented kitchen space. Out of those temporary spaces, she built a following for her imaginative pies, custom cakes and single-serve desserts modeled after nostalgic lunchbox snack cakes. 

Now for the first time, she owns her very own bakery space in Tacoma and an added bonus is that it’s in one of my favorite eating neighborhoods. As Day says, “This neighborhood has so much potential, it’s like what the Sixth Avenue neighborhood in Tacoma used to be.”

Indeed. 

She just started operating her brick-and-mortar bakery at 3856 Center Street, which old timers like me know as the Oakland neighborhood. Her space is a few doors down from Tipsy Tomato, a lively bar known for its unusual pizzas (Funyuns are a topping choice). Day’s bakery is across the street from the always excellent Melon Seed Deli that piles its sandwiches with excellent ingredients and turns frozen yogurt into frosty pieces of art. 

That neighborhood also is home to piroshky heaven at Friendly Foods and the European Delicatessen, also known for its booze-filled chocolates and deli food. The area’s best Thai restaurant with Isaan-style dishes – Loak Toung Thai – also serves up my favorite Thai curry in the city. 

Spilled Butter Desserts is just one more reason to visit that neighborhood for blowing your diet, but be sure to order your desserts in advance.

Spilled Butter Desserts pie
A lattice-top pie from Spilled Butter Desserts. Photo courtesy of Brianne Day.

Day is operating her bakery as a pickup location for pre-ordered desserts and as a home base for her wholesale accounts. She’s not yet ready to open for retail business to the public, but that could come next (after the coronavirus restrictions are lifted).

Day has built her business intentionally slow. “I’ve been thinking of scheduling pop-ups in my space. I have open space in front. I’m taking inspiration from Erin (Powell) a little bit. That might be a great way right now to bring in a little more revenue. Once a month, when things get back to normal, I’m thinking about it.” 

UPDATE JUNE 2020: I’m happy to announce that Day is hosting her first pop-up event from 12-3 p.m. on July 3, 2020. Read this post for details.

The inspiration reference is to Girl Loves Cake Desserts, an excellent bakery owned by longtime local pastry chef Erin Powell (formerly the pastry chef of Pacific Grill). Powell, like Day, has slowly built her business. She hosts regional pop-up events and works out of a rented Parkland kitchen. She’s currently working on renovating a Lakewood space that will become her home kitchen. 

“I placed an order for some macarons from her around Halloween. I picked up an order at her space she’s building out. When I got there, it inspired me,” said Day.  Powell specializes in Parisian cookies, macarons, but makes other desserts by special order.

Cinnamon rolls from Spilled Butter Desserts
Cinnamon rolls from Spilled Butter Desserts. Photo courtesy of Brianne Day.

Day mentioned how impressed she was with Powell’s space to her mother Debbie Nozawa, the longtime local caterer who oversees Picasso Catering and Ruston Chapel, and previously ran the Gig Harbor restaurant Isa Mira (I still miss their cheese counter).

Soon after, her mother saw a commercial space in the Oakland neighborhood. “She brought me to this space on Center Street and she said, ‘Look, I think that you are at a point where you can be in your own space and I feel you’re busy enough and I do think you’ll get busier. I think you should give it a shot and build out your own space.’” 

And so Day did. She worked with the landlord to bring the space up to code. It’s a 700-square-feet space and perfect for Day’s needs. “It has high ceilings. It’s all white inside. It has this big, open front where I could have a small retail area. That’s what drew me in. I saw the potential for it to be something other than just my baking kitchen,” she said. 

She added, “I was just always afraid to take that leap because it’s a big responsibility to take on commercial rent for a small business,” she said. The timing could not have been more perfect. She started building out the space in March.

Spilled Butter Desserts cake
A custom cake from Spilled Butter Desserts. Photo courtesy of Brianne Day.

At the time, she was using commercial space at the AmVets Hall on Tyler in Tacoma. However, due to the coronavirus-related restrictions, the hall shut down operations. It was right around when her space was ready to occupy.

“It ended up working out in my favor in the long run. I feel like I got very lucky, because otherwise, I wouldn’t have been baking. I’m still baking now because I fall into that to-go category. I’m still operating. I’m taking personal orders. I’m not supplying restaurants or coffee shops, obviously right now, but I still get personal orders. If I didn’t have this space, I’d probably be hanging out at home Netflixing and drinking wine all day. And trying to figure something out. I think everything happens for a reason. I know that sounds cliche, but the stars really kind of aligned and it worked out for me.”

Those restaurants and coffee shops she referenced are her regular clients she supplies in normal times – the Hilltop’s Zodiac Supper Club and Dusty’s Hideaway, Lift Bridge Coffee and Honey at Alma Mater all serve her desserts and pastries (and presumably will again after the shutdown restrictions are lifted and normal business resumes, fingers crossed). 

Spilled Butter Desserts cake
A custom cake from Spilled Butter Desserts. Photo courtesy of Brianne Day.

When Day started her business in 2016, I wrote about her Crack Pie, her take on the famous Momofuku recipe. She built quite a following for her pies. Her legendary key lime pie has become a staple at Zodiac Supper Club and Dusty’s Hideaway.

Day also collected a following for her single-serve desserts spun out of nostalgic snack cakes from school lunch boxes. If you haven’t had one of her desserts modeled after Moon Pies or Snowballs, you really should fix that. 

In recent years, she’s started doing more business in custom cakes (especially wedding cakes). She’s also created another line of handheld desserts based on a nostalgic childhood snack – Pop Tarts. Her mini hand pies are full of fanciful flavors and frosted in vibrant colors and cartoon-like embellishments. 

Looking forward, Day said she’s been nervous about the coronavirus-related restrictions on small businesses, but she’s also inspired by what she’s seen. “With all the virus stuff happening, it’s been amazing to see the community come together and want to help out, not just small businesses, but hospital workers as well. It’s great to see people coming together during this time to form a community and have some solidarity with one another. This really sucks and hopefully all of us will make it through and we can find positivity out of this time.” 

Spilled Butter Desserts location
The new pick-up location for Spilled Butter Desserts. The bakery is not open for retail to the public, but custom-order desserts can be picked up at the new location. Photo courtesy of Brianne Day.

SPILLED BUTTER DESSERTS

Order in advance at: http://spilledbutterdesserts.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/spilledbutterdesserts/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/spilledbutterdesserts

The Knot: https://www.theknot.com/marketplace/spilled-butter-desserts-tacoma-wa-2009884

UPDATE ON ERIN POWELL AND GIRL LOVES CAKE DESSERTS

These days, Powell is working out of her rented Parkland space and hosting pop-ups aplenty where she sells her macarons nudged with imaginative flavors. Lately, she’s taken on Latin flavors with her mango Tajin, churro, margarita and Dulce de Leche macarons on her current list of macaron flavors. Right now, she’s working on a Mother’s Day pop-up. Order macarons by Tuesday (May 5) for pickup on Saturday (May 9). More details here: https://www.facebook.com/girllovescakedesserts/photos/a.1148981355139675/2892032267501233/?type=3&theater

And speaking of Mother’s Day…

WHERE TO GET MOTHER’S DAY TAKEOUT

If you’re wanting to honor mom with a takeout meal, I’ve got a long list of restaurants offering takeout, curbside pickup and delivery of special Mother’s Day meals. Plus, many restaurants are packaging meals with flowers, gift certificates and gift baskets. Read the story here. 

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