At 14 years of age, Tamara Hester’s mother enrolled her in a Wilton cooking class at JC Penny’s Department store.
“We would start our cake in class and take it home to finish it,” Tamara said. “One day my dad’s business partner was watching me decorate a cake and he told my father, ‘She will own a bakery some day. She is too good.’”
The prediction her dad’s friend made came true but it was a long time in coming.
Tamara got her experience baking cakes for free in high school, never for pay, just for the joy of baking and the kudos she received but not any more. The prediction her dad’s friend made came true but it was a long time in coming.
She and her husband, Russ Hester, recently opened County Line Bakery on Waterloo and Broadway in a strip mall surrounded by other business.
“I put a sign up that said, ‘County Line Bakery Opening Soon’ and one day I cut off part of the sign leaving County Line Bakery Open,” Tamara said.
Tamara said people started stopping by saying, “Wow, your door actually works,” and “Do you make coconut pies?” The line of customers hasn’t let up since the first day they opened. In fact they haven’t had a chance to have a grand opening they have been so busy.
It was the customers who asked for what was to become their signature pie, a coconut one.
“We use toasted coconut and shredded coconut both in the pie,” Tamara said, “and our own special pick vanilla, one of five different vanillas we use in baking depending on what we are making.”
She and her son, Logan, a trained chef and a former North High School graduate who attended Francis Tuttle and then culinary school at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, N.C., were the first two full-time employees. They recently added a third, a former pastry chef with Devon. Since then they have added four additional full- or part-time employees.
“We open the day with breakfast and pastry items including bread puddings, cinnamon rolls, Danish, muffins, scones and quick breads,” Tamara said.
They have 13 cakes, 18 cookies, 11 pies, 10 bars and treats and the always in demand puppy chow.
“My 16-year-old daughter, Jenna, and her sister sold bags and bags of puppy chow to raise money for BALTO at North High School,” Tamara said.If you have a favorite recipe but you don’t have the time to make it, Tamara said to bring it in. If you have a photo or a downloaded picture from the Internet, bring it in and let them do your baking and decorating for you.
“We want our bakery to stand apart. Food plays such a huge role in American lives, and it plays a huge part in our traditions,” Tamara said. “We set out to make quality products that are reasonably priced and our goal is to stay in business until that 1-year-old celebrates his 18th birthday with a cake baked by us each year.”
Wedding cakes are baked from scratch and are never frozen. More than 80 percent of their production is done on site, Tamara said.
Tamara and Russ chose Edmond to raise their family almost 16 years ago because of its sense of family and community, Tamara said.
While Logan talks about viscosity, looking at the ratios of elements and flavors and when to use each of their five types of vanilla, his father manages the business end and his mother tells why each of their items is full of flavor and richness.
“Our apple pie is made of marinated apple slices, that are roasted before putting them into the pie shell and then topping the pie with a Brown Betty apple topping,” Tamara said. “We call it a twice baked Brown Betty Apple pie.
“Some of our items are not ones you will find at other bakeries. We have a molasses baked cookie made from Black Strap Molasses.”
One breakfast item in demand is the cinnamon roll bread pudding with Anglaise sauce. They also make their cinnamon rolls in a tin with the glaze on the side.
“Once you get to where you are going, whether it is home or to work, pop the pan in the oven to warm the rolls up and then put the glaze on them.
She added her 18-year-old daughter, Rachel, makes the most amazing No-Bake cookie with peanut butter and chocolate chips.
“The cookie dough is made on top of the stove, and Rachel knows just when to take them off the stove. We cannot keep them in stock; they sell so quickly,” Tamara said.
With three of her children, herself and her husband all part of the family business, daughter Lizzie has pursued her own business path but does find time to sample the products.
Tamara said she always is asking, “What does the community want?”
Store hours are 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday through Wednesday and 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
“Someone is usually there by 6:30 a.m. If the lights are on, we are here,” Tamara said. “Just knock on the door. Sometimes we may be up to our elbows in icing so give us a chance to get to the front.”
With items baked to order, not baked to the box, Tamara said to give as much notice as possible for wedding cakes. Custom cakes need two weeks lead time to be safe.
“We always have something in the cases ready to be picked up for those last-minute desserts, pies or cakes,” Tamara said, “and the items we offer change daily.”
FOR MORE information go to www.countylinebakery.com. They also can be found on Facebook and Twitter. Located at 121 E. Waterloo Road in Edmond, call 757-1950 to place an order.