The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday, August 15th 2020 edition. By: Blaise Doubman.
Knightstown’s Itty Bitty Bakery Spotlight
I am so excited to finally be able to share my interview with Henry County’s own, Ashley Tunny! Ashley is the owner behind the extremely popular “Itty Bitty Bakery” in Knightstown. She is the absolute sweetest person, super talented and loves her community. I want to thank Ashley for agreeing to our interview as well as sharing one of her favorite delicious recipes. This interview took place before the current COVID-19 pandemic. For current bakery business hours please check out Itty Bitty Bakery on Facebook or call them direct at 812-212-6313
Hi Ashley! Tell me a little about yourself and your business.
Hi! I’m Ashley Tunny I am 22 and I own Itty Bitty Bakery. I attended culinary school from 2015-2018 and graduated with a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts. I opened Itty Bitty Bakery in my mom’s shop Timeless Furnishings my first year of college. It started as a way to afford schoolbooks and gas to get to and from classes, but as I gained training from my classes I applied it to the bakery and began offering more options and taking orders.
Where exactly is your business located?
We are located in Timeless Furnishings at 133 E Main St in Knightstown, Indiana.
What social media platforms are you and the business active on?
We have our Facebook page which is the best way to see all that we offer week to week and where we post all of our cake and wedding photos. We also have an Instagram @ittybittybakery_ , and we are on Google Businesses with photos of some of our cakes.
Have you always enjoyed baking and cake decorating? Who has been your biggest influence or biggest inspirations throughout your professional journey?
When I was younger, I always enjoyed baking although I didn’t bake very often. I graduated high school unsure of what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go for college. I started looking at my hobbies to see what I could do with something I already love. When I first started at culinary school, I was behind in my technique and skills. I am very lucky that I had amazing chefs in all my labs that were fantastic teachers. I would say that my inspirations for what I do, are my mom and her mother. My grandma was an Italian woman raised in the Bronx of New York City. She had an incredible work ethic all her life that she passed onto my mom. My mom raised me and my brother Andrew as a single parent for most of my childhood. She worked so hard and proved that no matter what, if you keep going you can make it work. Neither of them were nor are avid bakers, but I find a lot of strength knowing that I have two very strong women role models who always gave it their all.
How long have you had your own business? How did it start?
I opened the bakery in March of 2016. For the first year or so I was only open Fridays and Saturdays because of my classes. It started as a much smaller operation with a small case in my mom’s shop where I sold brownies, tarts, and cookies. 8-10 options that were very simple items that I could manage along with my class load.
What variety of desserts do you offer? What is your favorite thing to make dessert wise?
We offer cakes, pies, dessert bars, and cookies. Our menu changes every week to offer a variety. Each Wednesday when we open, I post our menu for the week on our Facebook page along with pictures of what’s available. We have some items every week like our best-selling Swedish Nut Cake, brownies, sugar free cake, and cake pops. My personal favorite are wedding cakes. I love the process of working with a couple to design a cake that would be perfect for their special day.
How long does it take you to plan, decorate and deliver some of your beautiful wedding cakes? Can you walk us through the process it takes?
A wedding cake is usually planned out 3-6 months in advance of the wedding. I meet with the couple for a cake tasting where we discuss the design, themes, colors, flavors and details of their cake. The week of the wedding I ensure I have all decorations ready and I bake and decorate the cake in the early hours of their wedding day, chill the cake and deliver it to their venue. Delivery is one of the best parts, because after working with the couple it’s always incredible to see how their vision played out. Bringing in the cake to see how it tied into the room with everything decorated and beautiful is a special moment.
What are your long-range goals as far as growing your business and products?
For now, I really enjoy sharing a space with my mom and her business. We have a lot of cross over in our customer base, because who doesn’t love to shop and eat, and we really enjoy working together. Eventually whenever she may retire, I’d love to have a little shop of my own. Very similar to what I do now, of having a case of desserts every day along with cake orders and wedding cakes. I personally love Knightstown and I don’t foresee my husband or I relocating anywhere else. Knightstown has been such an amazing and supportive community to move to and I find a lot of joy in owning a business here.
Itty Bitty Bakery Pineapple Upside Down Cake
The measurements listed are professional measurements listed in weight. The “molds” talked about in the recipe can be substituted with cupcake or muffin tins. If using traditional tins, fill with batter about ¾ of the way full. This is based off a recipe Ashley uses in her own bakery that she was introduced to while attending culinary school.
For the topping…
8 pineapple slices
8 maraschino cherries
2.50 oz brown sugar
1.50 oz unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pineapple juice
For the cake…
1 large egg
2.70 oz plain yogurt
¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3.50 oz cake flour
3.50 oz white granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
3.00 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
Start by combining the white granulated sugar, unsalted butter and pineapple juice in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring gently until the mixture is foamy and pale. This should take about 3-4 minutes. Pour evenly into molds that have been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray containing flour. Top with pineapple slices and place cherry in the middle of each.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
In a medium sized bowl whisk together the large egg, 4 teaspoons of plain yogurt and the pure vanilla extract until combined.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitting with a flat beater, mix the cake flour, white granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt on low speed for about a minute. Add in the unsalted butter and the remaining plain yogurt. Mix until smooth and combined.
Add in the egg mixture, slowly while beating on medium speed.
Add about 1.7 oz of batter into the molds.
Bake, in preheated oven, 20-30 minutes.
Ask and Answer: Several people over the years have asked about my tips and tricks on creating a super moist cake. I have a couple of tricks I can share with you here today. My favorite tip is to boil ¼ cup white granulated sugar with ¼ cup water in a small saucepan over medium high heat until boiling. Allow to boil for 30 seconds and then allow to cool. Using a pastry brush, brush some of this mixture over the cake as soon as you remove the cake from the oven. This tip was taught to me by TV baking personality, Francine Bryson. Another tip I can share with you, is adding a box of instant pudding mix to your dry cake mix. Both of my Grandmas did this trick and it really does work every time; just be sure to match flavors together.