Food & Drink » Food & Wine

Sweet Tooth Aching?

The Busy Bakery has the cure.



At my last appointment, my dentist, Dr. Jodi Rump, informed me that I had no cavities. Then she directed my attention to her computer screen, where she had a slideshow of pictures. Not pictures of my teeth but pictures of cookies. Cookies decorated to look like saddle oxfords.

"You have to go to the Busy Bakery in Bartlett," she insisted. "Their cookies are so good they make my teeth ache."

Was she merely giving me a tip or trying to give me cavities?

Jodi Rump discovered the Busy Bakery's owner, Rochelle McMahan, through her sister-in-law, Katie Rump. Katie is Main Street Dental's financial coordinator and a mother of three. "We just called her the Cake Lady," Katie says.

Before opening the Busy Bakery last November, McMahan and her daughter, Christina Hogan, used to do cake and cookie drop-offs at the Exxon service station on Summer at Graham. "There would be 10 or more cars waiting — all full of moms," Katie says with a laugh. "When McMahan pulled up in her Explorer, everyone jumped out of their cars clutching their checkbooks."

McMahan says at the height of their business, she and Hogan were making two deliveries a day, sometimes in two cars. "After five years, we were getting extremely busy and decided we better do something," she says. "We had a lot of people encouraging us to open a bakery."

McMahan, a longtime baker who worked at Kay Bakery for more than 11 years, is renowned for more than cakes at her Bartlett storefront.

"We're an old-fashioned bakery, and we make things that you can't find anywhere else, like cream horns, éclairs, turnovers, and cinnamon rolls," McMahan says. Her husband, Larry, also makes a variety of breads to go with the sweets, and McMahan's nephew and grandchildren work behind the counter. "We're a real family business," she says.

Rochelle McMahan's cookies: a labor of love - JUSTIN FOX BURKS

With so much to choose from, it's hard to pinpoint the big sellers at the Busy Bakery.

"Some weeks, it's cakes. Some weeks, it's cinnamon rolls," McMahan says. For now, the Busy Bakery is trying to keep up with the orders and hoping that they continue to grow.

Valerie Hamilton, a business developer for a local law firm, says parents were fighting over who got to take the sticker with the Busy Bakery contact information off the cake box at her daughter's 5th birthday party.

"Zora's dad heard about [the bakery] and ordered a Tinkerbell cake. Holy moly, that cake was good!" she says. "The Tinkerbell cake actually looked like Tinkerbell."

Katie Rump threw her daughter a movie party on her 6th birthday. The Busy Bakery created a 3-D cake shaped like a box of popcorn to fit the theme. Since the featured movie was Hotel for Dogs, McMahan also made cookies shaped like dogs and used real popcorn to decorate the platter. But, according to Katie, the most amazing thing was when the cake was accidentally dropped on the way out of the bakery. McMahan offered to fix it for free, claiming it was "no big deal."

So what are McMahan's favorite cake creations? Hamburgers and pizzas.

"Kids love pizza, so parents like to get cakes that look like pizza," she explains.

In addition to baking, the Busy Bakery hosts birthday parties where children can make and decorate their own cakes, cupcakes, or cookies.

"We have a lot of fun at our parties," McMahan says. "On weekends, we joke that we should have named ourselves the Busy Busy Bakery!"

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