New Olympia cake studio bakes up tasty treats with a personal twist
222 Market — a collection of businesses in downtown Olympia that largely create food, drink or both — has filled a longtime vacancy after a broth-serving business closed about a year ago.
Taking its place is Sift & Gather, a cake studio run by Amber Markland. The business has been at its new location for about a week, she said, but that doesn’t mean Markland is new to cakes and baked goods.
After serving three years in the Air Force (where she also met her husband), they settled in Boston.
“I just wanted to be a mom,” she said about her time after military service.
But after having children, she also wanted to teach them the value of giving back, so they volunteered their time at a nonprofit called Birthday Cakes 4 Free. It was there that Markland honed her skills as a baker and discovered a creative side.
“It allowed me to use cakes as a canvas for my art,” she said.
The experience of baking cakes for children and others in need eventually morphed into a home-based business where Markland found a market for her custom-made cakes through her website and other social media channels.
Now, she’s taken that next step and has a storefront at 222 Market.
Markland, originally from Yelm, describes her custom-designed cakes as Pacific Northwest inspired.
“Bohemian meets modern simplicity,” she said.
She does not use fondant on her cakes — a kind of hard icing common on decorative cakes — and sticks to local ingredients. She still takes cake orders through her website for weddings, birthdays and other special occasions, but also in person now that she’s in a public spot.
And Markland isn’t just about cakes.
She plans to serve sweet buns on Saturdays. You also might find her working on other creations, such as sugar cookies or cake pops, which she calls junk in the trunk balls. For those she uses a variety of flavors, including pistachio, rose petal and cinnamon butter cream.
Sift & Gather
Owner: Amber Markland
Location: 222 Market at 222 Capitol Way N. in Olympia
Hours: The hours will reflect the marketplace hours, she said. She expects to open about noon Tuesdays through Saturdays and stay open later in the day.
Online: You can find Sift & Gather on Facebook, Instagram or at www.siftandgather.com.