EAT CAKE. I need no further invitation. The words in large, metal letters sit in the window of Creative Confections, a new bakery on Bellevue Ave. The sunny spot vacated last year by the popular Le Baker’s Dozen lures the early spring pedestrian, so recently wrapped in Eskimo garb, with the waft of fresh pastries and, yes, cake.
Run by Jennifer Duran, 50, and her daughter Larissa, 19, the bakery and cafe opened on March 7th, and will offer daily selections of pastries sweet and savory and breads, too, “with a European flair,” along with a wide selection of coffee and tea.
“My specialty is designer cakes that are custom-made to order, and I believe this sort of edible art is unique in the area,” says Jennifer. “I have a design background and was formerly an art director. I now use cakes as my creative medium. We also offer basic cakes fresh baked daily as well for last-minute celebrations.”
And she delivers those pretty, made-to-order cakes, a boon for busy people planning special events, and rare in our corner of Northern New Jersey.
As one takes in the attractive interior with its fetching light fixtures and other accoutrements, it’s staggering to note that Jennifer not only designed it, she also built the entire thing. Yes, laid the floor, put in the wainscotting, painted it, etc. “See?” she says, holding up her hands. “No nail varnish. That’s why!”
The offerings at Creative Confections are certainly delicious, from the fresh-made, buttery, giant cookies, flaky croissants and flavorful spinach-feta spanakopita, to the eclairs, scallion-cheese scones and the moist and zesty orange-cranberry scones.
Jennifer grew up in the neighborhood and moved to West Milford 16 years ago to raise her three children “in a more rural environment.” But she’s glad to be back. “Our reception from the public has been positive and we’ve met lots of nice people in the few days that we’ve been here already.”
Larissa will work at the bakery with her mom full-time as she finishes her degree, and Jennifer’s own mother, Terry, will also help on occasion. “We’re three generations of bakers under one roof,” says Jennifer.
With all the seating in the bakery, does she plan to branch out into lunch?
“Not per se,” Jennifer says, “but we will be offering savory selections such as quiche, savory scones and savory stuffed pastry pockets with cheeses and vegetables.”
Was she aware of the ‘elephant in the ‘hood,’ i.e. possible rival The Little Daisy Bakeshop just a short walk away?
“Yes, and I feel confident that we have a unique enough selection that we will not encroach on their territory and vice versa. I believe there is room enough for all of us in the area. We have a sophisticated, European touch and will be offering fresh bread and savory selections. And our custom cakes, to my knowledge, are different; there is no one creating anything like them.”
(Creative Confections is open Tuesday-Friday from 7:00am to 5:00pm, Saturday and Sunday from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Opening hours may be revised. It is closed Mondays (for now). 206 Bellevue Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07043. Tel: 973 476 0370.)