by Michael Vyskocil, photography by Kelly Heck
Taneytown, Maryland, isn’t a place that immediately registers top of mind as a place famous for its sweets and wedding cakes. But if the fashion runways of the world were paved with frosting, Stone House Cakery and Café in Taneytown would be taking top honors.
Celebrating its fourth year of business this year, Stone House Cakery and Café melds a humble country feeling of friendship and warmth with a professional baking enterprise developed by business owner Lois Trout. Surrounded by bowls of frostings, cake layers on cooling racks and her offset spatulas at the ready, Trout is the creator of dreams for the brides who seek out her cakes from all corners of Carroll County and beyond.
“It’s unbelievable to me how far people will come from. A woman drove up from Washington, D.C. to pick up her wedding cake and she told me, ‘You’re worth the drive,’” she said.
Wedding Cake Canvas
Trout takes a bon vivant attitude toward her wedding cake creations. “Think of your cake as a blank canvas — now let your imagination go wild. When you think about it, it’s the biggest day of someone’s life, so the cake itself should be special.”
With more than a dozen different cake flavors and frosting recipes available, Stone House’s wedding cakes are created to taste as good as they look and look as good as they taste. “All of it is done fresh that week [of the wedding],” she said.
While some brides prefer making the traditional tiered wedding cake a part of the reception experience, Trout said that she’s responding to a growing trend for more dessert bar options for weddings. “I see a lot of crème brûlée and mini cheesecakes, but we also do cookies, cupcakes, hand pies and individual trifles,” she added. “Our specialty is making a good product that people can have fun with.”
Those who know Trout know the consistency in the quality of her baking and her penchant for something special that she adds to her creations — a little touch of what she calls the “Love Potion No. 9,” aka edible glitter. “It goes on every cake and cupcake. That’s the one thing that people respond to every time, and it’s what makes the cakes and cupcakes shine.”
To say that weddings are a full-time undertaking for Trout would be quite an understatement. For 2017 alone, she already has close to 120 weddings booked — an impressive number for this small business. “The brides I get are just wonderful, everyday people. You quickly become connected with them and their families. It’s not about dollar signs; it’s about the connections with people.”
Café Creations and Farmers Market Flair
While some prefer to start with desserts first, dining purists would insist on beginning with the main meal first, and Stone House is happy to oblige.
A former investment banker, Joe Nemec knows the value of a good investment, especially when it’s in the form of an investment in lunch. At Stone House, he’s charged with creating some of the fabulous sandwich creations that “are so good it’s like having a party in your mouth,” Trout said. “He loves to make people smile with his food.”
Examples of Nemec’s food-pairing prowess can be seen in sandwiches like the Turkey Berry, a layered sandwich combining turkey, strawberry-infused mayonnaise, colby cheese and fresh strawberries. Additional flavor combinations — named after some of Stone House’s employees — include the McKayla (Johnson) All ’Bout That Peach, which blends turkey, bacon, peach vinaigrette, peach-infused mayonnaise, lettuce and cheddar cheese on a panini grilled sandwich.
The Em-ulicious bursts with flavor from marinated chicken, bacon, diced apples and American cheese topped with a burgundy poppy seed sauce and cherry-infused mayonnaise spread. In the Little Joey, avocado, bacon, and chicken breast meat meets cheddar cheese and a dash of mayonnaise.
Nemec is also Stone House’s go-to catering resource and Trout noted that Stone House has been pleased to provide catering services for many notable Carroll County businesses and organizations, including Evapco, the Literacy Council of Carroll County, Carroll Vista and New Windsor State Bank.
Stone House also participates in the Howard County farmers markets at the Howard County Public Library’s Miller Branch in Ellicott City and at the Oakland Mills Village Center in Columbia. She’s also participated in the Maryland Wine Festival at the Carroll County Farm Museum and the Carroll County 4-H & FFA fair.
Connecting with Community
Life circumstances often have an unusual way of making the impossible possible. For Trout, a job loss in 2008 didn’t sink her spirit. Instead, it inspired her to take what she loved to do and create a business from it.
“Being part of the greater Carroll County community is rewarding. It touches my heart when I get to help other people. We make baked goods for Francis Scott Key’s fundraisers and Taste of Carroll events, and it’s so humbling to be a part of something that helps another organization or supports a fundraiser,” she said. “God has placed me in this bakery for reasons beyond my understanding, but I’m just humbled to be able to connect with people through this work.”
“There are days when I’m tired and, after we close, I’ll turn the radio on, and I’ll be working on a wedding cake. And as I do, I ask God to bless the people that will be united, and to bless their families and their futures. It’s in that moment that makes what I do so special for me.”