There are many women who provide me with inspiration on a daily basis. I want to take time each month and interview one woman, whose story and success inspire us all.
My first interview is with Jessica Boutwell of Růže Cake House, Růže Cake House located in Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona. Růže Cake House is a mother/daughter collaborative team known for its fresh and innovative designs of cakes and desserts. I am a huge fan of their work so much that they have been a part of all of my major life events over the past two years. They created treats for my wedding shower, as well as my wedding cake/dessert bar. And if that wasn’t enough they made the most beautiful personalized cookies and macarons my daughter’s baby shower! These are two incredibly talented businesswomen whose story is inspiring and OMG their cakes and desserts will blow you away!
W: I’m so excited that you are taking the time to do this interview with me! I know it has been a whirlwind the last few years and the business has really taken off. As a Scottsdale local Ruze Cake House is now a must-stop shop in Old Town. So for those who don’t know your story, tell me how Ruze Cake House first came to life?
J: Hi! It’s such a pleasure to be a part of your series! Thank you so much for the support!
It’s funny because – to this day – I still don’t consider myself a baker. My mom had been a self-taught home baker for as long as I can remember. A few years ago she decided she wanted to start a small business creating cakes for friends and family. She enlisted my help to create a Facebook page, and I explained she needed a business name in order to create the page, and after a few days of thought, she came back and said she wanted to call her business Mommy and Me Bakery. At that moment, I realized she needed WAY more help than I initially thought! I got involved in helping name the business, and then it just snowballed from there. I had so much fun on the creative side of things, and we realized we would perfectly compliment one another’s strengths and weaknesses. So, I do a lot of the conceptualizing, she handles a majority of the baking, and then we do the finishing touches together.
W: Lets be honest your wedding cakes and dessert designs are so beautiful, as an Arizonan the desert theme pulls at my heartstrings. What made you want to infuse so much of that Arizona theme into your business? And who or what is inspiring you at the moment?
J: We are always trying to find ways to connect with Arizona brides. When we started doing cakes a few years ago, very few people were incorporating the Southwest in their designs. And if they did, the cakes were more of a caricature of the desert (fiesta themed, etc.). So we wanted to come up with Arizona elements that were formal enough for a wedding, but whimsical enough to – as you say – tug on the heartstrings!
These days, in addition to designs, we’re also really excited to try new ways to incorporate Southwest flavors. For example, in our shop right now, we’re offering Prickly Pear Jalapeno Lemonade Bobas! It’s made with a fresh prickly pear puree that’s been infused with jalapeno, which we pour into a hand-squeezed lemonade. So refreshing! We also do a prickly pear curd for our wedding cakes which is really fun for couples who want a whisper of Arizona in their wedding cake, without necessarily any desert elements in the design.
W: When I first met you, it was to chat about my wedding desserts and cake. Having food allergies I needed everything at my wedding to be gluten free, and you were so accommodating. How important are the ingredients you use in your food?
J: As a vegan myself since the 4th grade, quality of ingredients is a huge concern/passion for me. Růže was founded on the principle that local and sustainable ingredients make for better, fresher tasting cakes. And we’ve always felt passionately about ethically-sourced food on a personal level and as business owners — we believe we have an even greater responsibility to source food that’s been produced in a way which doesn’t harm the environment or exploit farmers and producers.
We pride ourselves on knowing where our ingredients come from. Many of our eggs come from chickens raised in our own backyards, who roam free and eat an organic diet. All our honey, citrus, and milk are sourced from Arizona farmers, many of whom we see each week at the Scottsdale Farmer’s Market. For example, our milk is sourced exclusively through Danzisien Dairy, a local, family-owned company, which we have privately toured and visited several times.
We also feel it’s important to accommodate special diet needs, such as yours! Fortunately in this day and age it’s so much easier to source specialty ingredients, so we feel we can meet the needs of most clients.
W:Everything you two create is spectacular! I’m a big fan of your macaroons and the London Fog boba tea. Can you share with us any new treats your working on?
J: We LOVE playing around with new concepts, and something we’ve been doing once a month is a themed week, during which most items in our shop are inspired by a certain theme. It really gives us an opportunity to exercise our creative spirit. For example we’ve done Breakfast Week, and served things like Acai Bowl macarons. And we’ve done Retro Week, where we had things like Circus Animal Macarons and played 80s music all week.
This coming week we’re doing Ice Cream Week…so all of our macarons, cupcakes, etc. will be inspired by ice cream flavors. BY FAR the thing I’m most excited about is our French Fry Milkshake Macarons. The macaron is filled with a chocolate milkshake buttercream and we roll the outside in French fries. And it’s gluten free!!! Our taste testers say it’s one of their favorite flavors we’ve ever created.
W: What have you learned about yourself going through the process of building a business with your mom and do you have any advice for other women who want to start business?
J: In looking back, I think something that’s really helped the growth of our business is our ability to recognize when an opportunity exists. So often I think people are put in a position to be able to make a change in their life or in their business, and either don’t see the opportunity in front of them, or are reluctant to take hold of it. While my mom and I are inherently very cautious when it comes to the development of our company, I think we are equally fearless when it comes time to take a giant leap. I’m not sure this is making sense!
But, based on our experience, I think the best piece of advice is a three parter: 1) Keep your ears open because opportunities come in the strangest of places 2) Do your due diligence on said opportunity and take the leap and 3) Don’t second guess yourself after a decision has been made! This is the only way we can sleep at night. If obstacles arise, keep moving forward because there’s no going back!
W: What is the next step for you and Ruze Cake House?
J: Oh my gosh…I’m so excited about the next chapter of Ruze! We’ve just started working on a mobile macaron cart and our contractor actually started building the unit this week! It will very much look like a mini Ruze, containing many of the same design elements of our shop (e.g., white, copper accents, lots of greenery). We will be renting it out for weddings and other custom events, so guests can have the full experience of Ruze without coming into the shop. If all goes well we hope to have several of these carts that we can rent out to different events every weekend. Stay tuned!