Karen's Delicious Desserts is owned and operated by Karen Brol and has been in business since 2005. The bakery is located in Livonia Center, NY and is open:
- Monday - Friday 7am - 5pm
- Saturday 8am - 2pm
The following is an article written by Howard W. Appel for the Livingston County News:
A Bakery with a Post Office
‘Delicious Desserts’ does brisk business in Livonia Center
“My biggest dream was to have my own bakery,” says Karen Brol.That dream was realized on March 28, 2005 when Karen opened Karen’s Delicious Desserts in Livonia Center at the site of the former Country Store on Route 20A.
Over the last four-plus years Karen has established a reputation for having some of the tastiest and most creative cakes, pastries, pies, cookies, bagels and breads in the region. Her shop does a brisk walk-in business. Indicative of the loyalty and appreciation Karen cultivates are the more than four dozen cookie jars of every kind and size on display along the store shelves. Each one is a gift from a customer.
Baking has been one of the great passions of Karen’s life. She has fond memories from her childhood in Henrietta, cooking and baking with her mother and grandmother. For her father’s 44th birthday, Karen purchased a Bugs Bunny cake decorating kit. It turned out exactly like the picture on the box-so good in fact that her father didn’t believe she did it. ”So I had to make him another one,” Karen relates.
At 14, Karen went to work in Rochester bakery, mostly cleaning sinks and scrubbing pans, but she would manage to catch a glimpse of the rest of the activity.The old Italian proprietor took time to show Karen how he made roses and other frosting configurations, but except for these early lessons, Karen’s cake decorating skills have been entirely self-taught.
As a mom in her 20s with two young babies, Karen worked nights in the Bells Supermarket bakery in LeRoy. There she learned how to make donuts and breads from scratch. She worked in the bakeries at Bells and Tops in Avon and as a pastry chef at the Holloway House in Bloomfield and at the Kelloggs Pantry Inn. Working from her home kitchen, Karen supplied cakes to the Big M in Lima and wedding cakes for friends.
Karen tried non-baking employment as well, but found it to her disliking. “I’ve worked in offices and hated it,” she said, “but whenever I get stressed, baking always relaxes me.”
Karen entered a Duncan Hines cake baking competition with the idea that, along with all the other contestants, she’d be getting a cook book. She made what she considered to be a modest birthday bear cake. To Karen’s surprise, her cake took first place over many fancier and larger entries. She ended up with not only the cookbook, but a plaque and her recipe published. (However, Karen made a point not to give away the secret of her signature frosting.)
Karen continued gaining baking experience, working three years at Savoia Pastry Shop on Clifford Avenue in Rochester, all the while envisioning the shop she herself would someday own-and meanwhile filling her home and garage in Canadice with all kinds of accumulating baking paraphernalia.
One place Karen and her husband visited on their purchasing expeditions was the former Country Store in Livonia Center. They bought a cooler, tab le and coffee pot. Then the owner make the off-hand suggestion that Karen lease the store. On the grounds that she was opening a new, untested business, Karen was able to negotiate a rent significantly lower than the owner proposed, with the understanding that the low rate would persist for the shop’s first six months in business.
The building pre-dates 1811. It contains the first post office in Livonia, still in operation. Now sharing the building with Karen’s bakery, it may also be the sweetest smelling post office in the United States.
After two-or-so years in business, when the bakery had proven to be successful, the owner proposed that Karen buy the building. Karen, again with tough negotiations, got the price down to where she wanted. With the building now in their ownership, Karen and her husband proceeded to do some renovation, being careful to preserved the structure’s early 19th Century flavor.
What’s for sale
Except for occasional help from her son and daughter, Karen is the shop’s sole worker. Her usual workday begins at 3 a.m. Karen takes her vacation in January, the month people go on diets.
Delicious Desserts makes a marvelous variety of baked goods. Taking an inventory of the cases starting with the cookies, there are very large chocolate chip, macadamia nut, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, sugar and combinations thereof. There are also seasonal cookies. Last week, for Christmas time, Karen had fig and other Holiday varieties. Sold by the pound are ‘chocolate meatball’ cookies (combining recipes from grandparents from different parts of Italy), Russian tea cookies, the always changing spritz cookies, biscotti, Macedonian nut, and lemon.
On Saturday mornings there are sticky buns and cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven.
Pie varieties, baked Wednesdays, include banana, custard, coconut and strawberry cream, and traditional fruit varieties, with an emphasis upon the fruits in season. Karen’s fruit pies weigh in at about four pounds.
There are peanut butter balls and unique-to-the-shop raspberry “Linser torts,” Napoleons and amaretto mousse delight, “a chocolate lover’s heaven.” There are also large apple, cherry and raspberry turnovers; cheese, raspberry and apple danishes; cheese canolis, big cup cakes, a melt-in-your-mouth pinwheel pastry (borrowed from the Martha Stewart show) and sandal-shaped ‘Hawaiian croissants.’ There are muffins including coffee flavored, chocolate chip and blueberry.
Bread varieties include Sicilian, Italian, butter top, cinnamon swirl, and stuffed breads.
Wedding and birthday cakes are another specialty, all made from scratch to the customer’s specifications. Typical of what Karen can do is the birthday cake made for a theater enthusiast with fondant comedy and tragedy masks, a sand castile cake, ad a birthday cake which replicated the cowboys-at-sunset theme of the party invitation card.
Karen insists that all her products and ingredients are of the highest quality. Her coffee beans are hand picked, shipped from Greenwell Farms in Kona on the “Big Island” of Hawaii-as are her macadamia nuts.
Shop hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.