Happy New Year to all of our readers! In thinking about what should be the first story of the year, my mind was flooded with articles I have been running through my head for the past few months. Since I write for the Messenger, people tend to assume I know the answers to most of the questions about Wanamingo, so I get asked a lot of them, and I do my best to find the answers. I settled on the one question I get asked the most...no, not "When is Casey's going to start serving pizza?" But "What is Beth doing at the bakery when she is there, but not open to the public?" Ah-Ha! There is a mystery that must be solved!
Beth Eliason moved to Wanamingo from Hastings, after meeting her "paperless husband" as she likes to call him. Chad Vieths is a local VW enthusiast, mechanic and carpenter who has lived around this area all of his life. Many of you will remember Alvin Vieths from Goodhue County. Alvin was Chad's uncle. They have 6 children in their family, ages 17,19, 20, 21, 23 and 27. They purchased a homestead near Zumbrota in 2021, and have put down roots, literally, by planting fruit trees, and making it their own.
Yes. They still own the bakery...
Maybe you have seen the CakeBus around town, or parked in front of the bakery. How did this come together? Let's go back in time to find answers...
I met with Beth at said bakery, and unveiled my question, "Just what is it that you are doing here when you are not open?' She gave me a mysterious smile, and began her story.
"I grew up in a kitchen surrounded by cooks using real, whole foods (the ones you can pronounce). My high school job was cooking at the local Dairy Queen, flipping burgers, and decorating ice cream cakes.
In 1999, after speaking to dozens of pastry chefs and bakers about my wedding cake, I thought I had found my baker. After attending a friend's wedding, I was so disappointed when the cake from this bakery was so dry that we had to pour a shot of Baileys on it to make it edible. I simply could not find a baker in the Twin Cities area who was artistic AND whose cakes tasted good. A wedding cake is the final presentation of the evening, so it needs to be extra special. Problem solved: I decided to make my own wedding cake. Brides have nothing else to do on the day of the wedding, right? I created a ten-tiered, ten-flavored masterpiece that was beautiful and most importantly, incredibly delicious. My hands were so sore, I could barely hold my bouquet, but I had created a cake beyond my wildest dreams.
That cake led to several cousins asking me to make the cake for their weddings, which quickly snowballed into more events and serious baking from home while transporting kids to school and activities. It was never planned, but my career led to a commercial kitchen where i get to blend my artistry with my baking skills.
After moving myself and my 4 kids to Wanamingo, I attended Le Cordon Bleu, College of Culinary Arts, Twin Cities, and earned a degree in Baking and Patisserie. Simultaneously, Chad restored a 1958 Volkswagen bus, complete with license plate CAKEBUS. As we started to see our goals of making Flour Child Creations become reality, we were ready for the next step.
Baking from home was no longer an option. We didn't have the space to feed our crew of eight and also fill customer orders. We purchased our current brick-and-mortar building in 2015, a tiny space that started as a canteen at the swimming area on the north side of town, later to be converted into a diner. Chad spent months building a custom kitchen inside the shell of the former Bulldogs Den. We saved the front door and the amazing, old brick. Everything else from the ground up was replaced and brought up to the strict code of the Department of Agriculture.
Wanamingo is a unique place, where women support other women. Marlene supported me in my culinary adventure. The "Marlene Malerich Artists Scholarship Fund" was created to honor Marlene while also supporting future artists. Now that 5 of our 6 kids have graduated high school, we will start having yearly events in the garden behind the bakery. Local young artists in Southern Minnesota in all the creatives: music, sculpture, welding, painting, and design can entertain guests, sell their artwork, enjoy gourmet desserts, while completing for the scholarship.
Everyone has a family member who either needs to (or prefers to) eat a certain way for their health. I have been making gluten-free products for my family for 18 years, long before the ingredients were available in every store. I am starting to create a dairy-free line, but have only perfected one recipe so far: a dark chocolate torte.
My specialty is cake and desserts. Chad brings a different set of skills, allowing the cakes to spin, defy gravity, and sometimes shoot fireworks. He maintains CAKEBUS, while I fill it with gourmet treats to share at events. You can pronounce and spell every simple ingredient I use in my products: zero preservatives, pounds of butter, and gallons of cream. We make food your grandmother would recognize.
The shelf life is short, so most of my items need to stay refrigerated. I am currently open a few days before each holiday to ensure fresh products. My priority is providing the best-tasting items possible, with the best ingredients available. There is no mass-produced, factory food in my cakery, as everything is made hours before an event. My creativity is a bonus. The dates I will be open for purchasing treats already made, or for picking up your special orders, are February 12, 13 & 14 for that special Valentine, March 27th to the 30th for helping the Easter Bunny deliver delicacies, and May 9th, 10th and 11th for treats your mother will enjoy as you celebrate her day. I will also be open the 4th of July. To place your special orders for pick up at the bakery, you can email Beth at firstname.lastname@example.org, or if you'd prefer, call her at (507) 824- CAKE.(2253).
Starting January, 2024, Flour Child Creations, 237 Main Street, Wanamingo, will be open on Fridays, 10:00am-4:00pm.
I also love to cook, but that usually consists of me opening the fridge and creating something out of what is on hand that day from my garden and pantry. Cooking is simple, you add items as you go. Baking is different, it is chemistry and control. I weigh each ingredient in every batch, balance the ratio of ingredients, and then complete steps in a precise order. Many of the recipes I have created are unique to Flour Child Creations. No one else has my recipes, because I created them. I use top-shelf ingredients from all over the world.
Some people read romance novels, I read cookbooks. I love to spend the cold winter days curled up in front of the fireplace, paging through the vast collection of 1950/60s church cookbooks i pick up at summer garage sales. My chocolate cake recipe disappeared from my cakery wall during my first year on Main Street. As it was the only copy, I am still perfecting the replication of that recipe.
I often get asked for my award-winning buttercream recipe, which takes 6 hours to complete from start to finish per batch. The recipe cannot be stolen, as it is only in my head.
My website, flourchildcreations.com is currently being updated for 2024 and includes a flavor list and examples of my creations. I struggle with hearing loss, so I prefer to have orders emailed to email@example.com.
I post on FB and Instagram for special events and holidays, but would love to find someone to handle my social media. Weddings and large events, like fundraisers, are my current focus, creating edible art out of the tiniest building in town, so feel free to contact me for your special event. You can be sure it will be unique and delicious.
We host a Volkswagen campout weekend every July. Check out the article on CAKEBUS, where it was featured in a 6 page spread in Hot VW Magazine".
And so now you know the history of the Flour Child Creations bakery, thus far. As for the answer to the mystery of what Beth is doing when she is there, but not open, she is creating recipes, one at a time, by trial and error, to be sold at the bakery, and to be featured in her newest endeavor: a completely unique recipe collection to be enjoyed for generations to come! Other times she is completing orders for wedding cakes, birthday parties, anniversaries, reunions, and all special occasions that need an artistic and delectable cake, cookie, cupcake or special dessert to complete the event, occasionally delivering them in CAKEBUS. Flour Child Creations is a forever-evolving business that embraces change. Future plans, including the cookbook, will be revealed when it is completed.
"Stop in and say hello! We will be open every Friday in 2024. Stay Sweet!"