Ingredients for Success: An Interview with 2tarts Bakery
Pictured: The "Tart" team standing out front of 2tarts Bakery in New Braunfels, Texas. Image courtesy of 2tarts.
2tarts is a colorful, quirky, family-owned bakery based out of New Braunfels, Texas offering a vast assortment of gourmet scratch-made cakes, pastries and cookies. Featuring high quality and local ingredients, 2tarts has provided their community with a one-stop shop for all things sweet - from birthdays to weddings and everything in between for the past 12 years. In honor of five sweet years with ifiGOURMET, we wanted to reach out to their amazing team to learn more about their creative process and how they stay relevant in an ever-changing industry.
Pictured above: The bright, quirky and welcoming atmosphere in the 2tarts Bakery dining room. Photo courtesy of 2tarts.
Celebrating 12 Sweet Years
ifiGOURMET: 2tarts just recently celebrated its 12th anniversary this July - Congrats! Tell us about how you and your family started 2tarts Bakery and what it's all about.
2tarts: Sisters, Ashley Landerman and April Ryan, opened 2tarts with their mom, Camille (A.K.A. Mom Tart) with a dream and a prayer. We had a vision of going back to our home town to serve up happiness through full bellies. We have built a name with our stunning wedding cakes, decorated cookies, scratch made desserts, and our cafe which serves up the finest coffee, espresso, and specialty drinks. Owner Ashley is also well known for winning the Christmas Cookie Challenge on Food Network!
Staying Relevant in an Ever-Changing Industry
ifiGOURMET: In your opinion, how has the industry changed since opening your doors in 2010 and what are your plans going forward?
2tarts: The industry has changed so much since we opened! We have seen the rise in Instagram, Tik Tok and social media platforms, which we have had to navigate to make our business relevant in the modern age. We have seen our costs of goods rise significantly as well as payroll costs. The global pandemic has also impacted so many restaurants around the world and and we are no exception. Going forward we have had to evaluate our goals and re-affirm our core beliefs. We have decided to stick to our standard for quality ingredients, knowing that our customer base will appreciate that, and continue to support 2tarts.
ifiGOURMET: What do you see as popular trends in pastry and/or wedding cakes right now? What are some key flavor trends that you predict will be most popular for the holiday season?
2tarts: Buttercream cakes are back in a big way! People are starting to shy away from using fondant on their cakes, and are going in a more traditional direction with buttercream designs and piping. We have seen our customer base increasingly embrace our sweet and salty treats. Our flavored shortbreads are becoming a customer favorite! Gouda, Salty Sage, Lemon Lavender, and Cranberry Orange are some of our best sellers.
Pictured above: A customer favorite: 2tarts' bestselling Lavender Lemon Shortbread and Gouda Shortbread served with coffee. Image courtesy of 2tarts.
Getting Creative with Innovative Ingredients
ifiGOURMET: How is 2tarts taking creativity to the next level when bringing innovative ingredients and recipes to the menu? Where do you find inspiration for new recipes?
2tarts: We are always looking for unique ways to showcase local Texas ingredients. We get inspiration from our natural world around us, trying different combinations of fruit and herbs. I love taking classic southern desserts and putting our spin on them. You gotta try our Vegan Texas Sheet Cake made with coconut oil or our Vegan Peanut Butter Cup.
ifiGOURMET: Your menu offers an extensive variety of both gluten-free and vegan-friendly options. What ingredients would you say are key for creating pastries that accommodate both special dietary restrictions and still taste amazing? Or, what are some of your most popular gluten-free and vegan items, and what makes them stand out?
2tarts: All of our Vegan and Gluten-Free items are delicious first, then Vegan/GF second. I wanted to ensure that anyone who picks a gluten-free or vegan item, holds up to any other baked goods in the case. For our Vegan desserts we utilize coconut oil, soy milk, bananas, cashews, and almonds. For our Gluten-Free desserts, finding the best gluten-free flour is key! We use a local company that mills their flour in a house called Aunties Foods. Our Vegan Texas Sheet Cake, Vegan Lemon Cupcake, GF/Vegan Almond thumbprint cookie, and GF/Vegan Peanut Butter Cups are some of our top sellers.
ifiGOURMET: What are some of your signature items that you are known for? Are there any special menu items that are unique to your store?
2tarts: After winning the Christmas Cookie Challenge, we are well known for our award winning decorated citrus sugar cookies. Being 2tarts, we make a variety of tarts that sell like hot cakes! We use our Granny's Red Velvet cake recipe from the 1960's to make our Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Icing and it's TO DIE FOR! Our Tiramisu in a cup has a cult following, as well as our Strawberry Cream Pie with a shortbread crust.
Pictured above: Featuring whipped vanilla mascarpone cheese layered with Marsala and espresso soaked lady fingers, 2tarts' Tiramisu in a cup has acquired a cult following. Image courtesy of 2tarts.
ifiGOURMET: What are some of your favorite ifiGOURMET ingredients and why?
2tarts: We LOVE ifi!! We love your high quality jam, caramel, and cocoa for baking. Your chocolate decorations take all of our pies, tarts, and trifles to the next level! I love that I can trust that everything is the highest quality. If we can't make something in house, ifiGOURMET is the next best thing, we save time without sacrificing quality.
Pictured above: 2tarts' stunning Nutella Hazelnut Cake embellished with ifiGOURMET's Carrara Linea chocolate triangle décor. Image courtesy of 2tarts.
Making an Impact
ifiGOURMET: You say that you are extremely passionate about the growing farm to table and slow food movement. How do you incorporate this passion into your menu at 2tarts, and what are some impactful strategies that other small business owners can implement to achieve the same goal?
2tarts: Good food starts with good ingredients! We firmly believe that using locally sourced and quality ingredients is one of the reasons our baked goods are so yummy! We feature menu items that highlight our local fair, like our Pecan Pie (locally sourced pecans) and Milk and Honey Macarons (local honey and milk). Look around you, see what is being produced in your area and highlight it! Peter Landerman, our supply man (and Ashley's husband), works hard to buy goods directly from the source, building personal relationships that last. Having friendships with the people in control of your ingredients is always a good idea! We also use a distribution company that specializes in delivering local farm goods into restaurants called Farm to Table.
ifiGOURMET: It's great to see that 2tarts is passionate about supporting the local community, in particular mentoring youth and enhancing educational opportunities. Tell us more!
2tarts: Supporting our local community has always been a cornerstone of our business. We like to "spend" our advertising dollars by donating to great causes we believe in. Communities in Schools, Texas Public Radio, CASA and NBISD are just some of the charities we donate our time, money, and resources to.
Pictured from left: Peanut Butter Pie, Strawberry Cream Pie, Blueberry Lavender Dark Chocolate Pie, and Key Lime Pie all garnished with ifiGOURMET chocolate décor. Image courtesy of 2tarts.
How is your business staying relevant in an ever-changing industry? Comment below or tag us in your sweet creations on social with @ifigourmet and #GourmetSweets!