JW Desserts, a South Whidbey bakery that achieved national fame, is no more, but in its place is something just as sweet.
Sisters Cj Field and Yvonne Hurt bought the business, and all its recipes, from longtime owner and proprietor John Auburn this past February, and officially renamed it Cj & Y Decadent Desserts. Auburn, who grew to stardom with his elaborate specialty cakes and was even featured on TV cooking programs, sold the business to the sisters after buying the Kiichli’s Bagel Shop in Clinton and turning it into the Whidbey Island Bagel Factory. Taking over for Auburn, with his recipes and client list, was a dream come true for the two lifelong bakers.
“To have a recipe book so phenomenal that I get to pick and choose is just wonderful,” Field said. “I leave my job and get to play here.”
Hurt echoed that feeling.
“It’s nice to not have a soul crushing job,” she said. “I don’t go to work anymore. I go to bake.”
Everything that Auburn offered is still available through Cj & Y Decadent Desserts. The flourless cakes and cheesecakes, the incredible specialty designed cakes, the buttercream frosting and the flat art designs. Instead of making changes, Field and Hurt are making additions.
Now they also offer hand pies (think Hostess turnover pies), cupcakes and sugar cookies of just about any shape and size. As always, everything is done in small batches and by hand. And don’t for a second joke that they use high fructose corn syrup or any other sugar substitute. It’s the real deal in the Clinton bakery, and nothing short of top quality products will do for them, just as it was expected of Auburn.
“We’re not changing anything,” Field said. “We’re just bringing something in.”
Field, who worked as the Goose bakery manager prior to buying the cake shop, wasn’t a cheesecake fan until she took over for Auburn. Following his advice to taste the ingredients first, she soon learned she liked cheesecake after all, or at least cheesecake a la Auburn.
Hurt relocated from North Carolina on the advice of her sister and with the opportunity to take over Auburn’s cake shop. A quick Internet search told her everything she needed to know about the brilliance Auburn had built with his business. Some previous visits also told her the quality of the product was unimpeachable. So she left her corporate career on the East Coast and headed out west, with her husband to follow soon, to go into business with her sister.
But don’t dare ask them to name which of their products is their favorite.
“I mean, which day is it?” Hurt said. “Which one’s in front of me?”
All of the early mornings and late nights required of the life of a baker are worth it for them. They love baking, the rhythm and creativity of it, and the joy they can bring providing birthday, anniversary and wedding cakes.
The cakes and cheesecakes are for sale at the Goose and at the Coupeville Red Apple. Hand pies are available at the Whidbey Island Bagel Factory in Clinton.