For Linda Gourley, baking has been a life-long passion.
Gourley is the owner and chef behind Eldersburg's Just Desserts by Linda, a made-to-order bakery. The shop is not a storefront, but rather bakes each cake or pastry order individually.
A certified pastry chef, Gourley began backing years ago by whipping up creations at home.
"I started out baking for family…about 30 years ago," said Gourley. "It was a passion even in the beginning."
She tried her hand at making a living at other occupations over the years, but always returned to baking.
"I’ve held other jobs that paid well but sucked the life right out of me," she admits.
Gourley's no stranger to the retail baking business--nor to Carroll County. "We purchased a bakery in Westminster called Wolf’s Bakery back in 1996," said Gourley. It was located in a shopping center on Englar Road."
The idea for Just Desserts evolved at the end of her walk-in store. The new bakery fully operates from the kitchen of Salerno's restaurant.
"After closing the retail bakery shop in Westminster, we began a search for a commercial kitchen in the area that would be willing to share kitchen time for a fee. We’ve been at the Salerno’s Restaurant location since 2004."
Gourley say the idea of having unique, designed-to-order cakes and and bakery goods is becoming more popular and is a hit in Eldersburg.
"The community is very receptive of the concept of having custom-designed desserts and cakes available to them locally. We are seeing more “foodies” in the area, which means they can appreciate having a bakery geared toward their more eclectic tastes."
Just Desserts offers a wide variety of baked treats, for a wide variety of events.
"We create custom designed cakes for all occasions—birthday, shower, wedding, anniversary, graduation. Our specialty is cake sculptures and tiered cakes. We do desserts, mini pastries, and cupcakes of all kinds. All our products are made on a pre-order basis, so they are fresh baked, never frozen," says Gourley.
In addition to her own baking, Gourley also encourages local young chefs-in-the-making.
"I judge foods at the county and state fairs. I really enjoy the interaction with the 4-H kids. They get so excited when they talk about their cake project during the interview portion of the judging!"
She also admits to just a few cooking-related "obsessions."
"I am a self-proclaimed Gadget Freak. I’ve collected so many gadgets that I cannot fit them all into my kitchen tool kit. Also have a good collection of aprons!" she laughs.
But Gourley's her main passion remains making beautiful backed creations. She say she's happy she can do them full-time.
"Now it’s like I’m living the dream…with benefits!"
Contact Just Dessert by Linda 410-848-2133 or through their website for a menu or wedding cake information.