When Robbie Valmond was looking for a place to open a bakery, Coconut Creek had all the right ingredients.
“The location was ideal for us,” Valmond says. “We could see families riding their bicycles together, people walking and jogging together. There are a lot of cities where you see the commerce, but you don’t see the family activity. In Coconut Creek, you see that.”
Growing up in the Commonwealth of Dominica, a Caribbean island located about halfway between Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago, Valmond remembers her parents, Bertha and Francis, always cooking and baking. “My mother was the baker and my dad was the culinary chef,” she says. “My mother never made the same thing twice. She liked to experiment. Her cake flavors changed based on her mood.”
Baking as a vocation wasn’t instilled in the young Valmond, but she does recall neighbors seeking out her dessert-making skills when she was 10 years old. “I would make money doing that for birthday parties and other occasions,” she says.
She came to South Florida about 20 years ago to continue her education, majoring in marketing and graduating from Florida Atlantic University. “I always knew I had to own a business. I can’t say I always knew this would be the type of business,” she says.
She honed her pastry skills at Le Cordon Bleu, where she trained in their Baking and Pastry Arts program at its campus in Miami. “Much of the pastry here is based on my French training, but I also bring in flavors from my country, where we use tropical fruits like guava, coconut and pineapple—things I grew up with—but then I’ll incorporate a French crust,” she says.
Valmond’s shop, Robbie E. Custom Cakes and Pastries, has small tables where people can linger—and often do. Each day there are cupcakes, scones and French macarons, along with other menu items and craft coffees. “Much of what you’ll see served daily are the items that go into our orders,” she says. “The cupcakes are a great way to see if you like the texture of our cakes and the frostings.” Creating a place where families can gather—she’s planning a summer cupcake camp, where she’ll demonstrate the do’s and don’ts of baking and decorating, “which kids love,” she says—is as important to her as the fresh ingredients that she uses.
“We want to have long-term relationships with our customers, to be part of all the different steps—their wedding, their first baby, baptism, a first birthday,” Valmond says. “It’s a very personal experience.”
ROBBIE E. CUSTOM CAKES AND PASTRIES
Banyan Square Plaza, 4570 Lyons Road, Suite 112, Coconut Creek 954.775.2633; recustomcakes.com
VALENTINE’S DAY BISCUITS AND BERRIES
4 ounces unsalted cold butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup sugar (set aside 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Dice butter. Mix flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in bowl with fork. Combine butter and dry ingredients by hand quickly so butter doesn’t melt. Butter cubes should remain pea-sized.
Combine buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract in separate bowl. Add mixture slowly to dry ingredients, blending with wooden spoon until it becomes dough.
Scoop dough into greased muffin tin. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar on top. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes at 350 degrees until golden brown or tester knife comes out clean. Cool. Cut in half, add fruit and whipped cream. Finish with drizzle of honey.