Traditional English scones and New Orleans style king cakes might seem like strange bedfellows, but the two dishes live in delicious harmony on the menu of Curious Confections. The baking duo of Gemma and Michael Matherne sprinkle their menu with flavors from their very different upbringings.
Gemma’s English heritage shines through in delights like the Earl Grey cupcakes, Welsh cakes and tea loaves and sticky toffee pudding while Michael’s deep southern roots are evident in the red velvet and pineapple upside down cake as well as New Orleans style king cakes.
Gemma moved to Austin from Wales to finish her training as a pastry chef and when the Texas Cottage Food law was amended in 2013 to allow the sale of home baked goods, she and Michael seized the opportunity grow Curious Confections. This update was a huge hurdle allowing them to sell their products at farmers markets, reaching a broader audience. In addition to custom orders, they are now regulars at the Sunday HOPE Farmers Market at Plaza Saltillo, selling their traditional pastries as well as vegan options and even dog treats.
“It is really encouraging to get repeat customers,” says Gemma of their market regulars. “Its really nice to not only make someone happy but make them so happy that they want to come back for more. ”
With a focus on high quality ingredients, it’s no wonder the pastries are in high demand. Curious Confections uses local ingredients from Johnson’s Backyard Garden, Texas citrus and Austin Honey. Whether it is a human scaled zombie cake, a delicate eggnog snowflake cookie or a flaky croissant, the couple’s attention to detail and artistry is impressive.
Gemma and Michael are genuine people who want to make people happy with food. From the taste of things, they are off to a great start.