by Hannah Saulters
“You know how gardeners have a green thumb?â€
Dani Mitchell Turk, owner of For Heaven’s Cakes, asks. â€œI have a white, flour-covered thumb,â€ she says, laughing.
Turk comes from a family of talented cooks and got her start working in restaurants at a young age.
At 14, she was working behind the counter at Phil’s Place, where her best friend’s parents were part-owners. But as soon as she could, she made her way into the kitchen.
This was just the first in a series of restaurant gigs, including Red, Hot, and Blue, Parker House, BRAVO!, and Broad Street.
â€œAs many times as I moved around jobs I would go back to work for any of my bosses in any of the places I’ve worked if I could,â€ reflects Turk. â€œThey’re all family.â€œ
Turk started baking professionally at Broad Street, where her title was pastry-chef, though she’s quick to clarify: â€œI never call myself a pastry chef. I call myself a baker or a cook. I’m not classically trained. I’m all self-taught.â€
After working with the company for over fifteen years, when the opportunity to own her own bakery presented itself, Turk jumped at the chance.
While many days are devoted to preparing wedding cakes and shuttling food to catering jobs, For Heaven’s Cakes sells cupcakes at their storefront three days a week, boasting a dozen flavors in the case at one time.
â€œOur cupcakes are a little fancier or more grown-up than your regular grocery-store cupcakes,â€ Turk explains, rattling off an impressive list of flavors: peanut butter, tiramisu, cookies ‘n crÃ¨me, key lime pie, red velvet, caramel cake.
With so much going on, it’s easy to see how Turk could be overwhelmed. She has help â€“ husband Sean is co-owner and takes care of a good deal of decorating of specialty cakes (â€œthe fondant king,â€ she says).
But it’s clear she loves every minute of the hard work because she believes in the quality. â€œThe only secret is that the product we put out is consistent and never anything I wouldn’t serve my own family.â€ That, and buttercream. â€œLast week, I made 120 pounds of buttercream frosting and went through every bit.â€
For Heavenâ€™s Cakes & Catering is located at 4950 Old Canton Road in LeFleur East. Follow them at Instagram.com/dani_forheavenscakes.