Julie Curry loves to sample and learn to bake delightful treats from various countries while she travels the world.
From making macarons in Paris to studying how to craft the impeccable waffle in Belgium, Curry has brought international desserts to Tampa. She has taken that experience and made it her own while still utilizing authentic Belgium processes.
Her love for food culture is Tampa’s gain. Established in 2013, Bake’n Babes opened its first brick-and-mortar location inside the European-inspired food hall, The Hall on Franklin, in 2017 [editor’s note: now located in Armature Works’ Heights Public Market].
One Cupcake Started It All
What started it all was Curry’s award-winning French toast maple bacon cupcake, which snagged first place at the Ybor Saturday Market’s Cupcake Contest.
The now-famous cupcake was the happy accident from which Bake’n Babes was born. The cupcake has been perfected, as have the other mouth-watering items you’ll find at the bakery.
Bake’n Babes’ scratch-made Liège waffles use dough that has risen for 18 hours, which results in a light and delicate masterpiece that have patrons raving. Ingredients are preservative-free and locally sourced, but Curry has pearl sugar imported from Belgium to infuse that genuine taste. With another nod to Belgium, the dough is caramelized in a 90-pound cast iron waffle maker.
First, You Eat With Your Eyes
Desserts ranging from cheesecakes and key lime pies to brownies and a variety of over-the-top milkshakes are all Instagram-worthy, presented in a way that almost makes them too pretty to eat.
This isn’t your grandmother’s milkshake; they are, literally, works of art. And the decadent, three-layer sleazy brownie won Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay How Is This Vegan? award.
View the Bake’n Babes menu here.
Wow your clients and colleagues with Bake’n Babes! Catering is available.
BIT SAT DOWN WITH JULIE TO GET TO KNOW A LITTLE MORE ABOUT HER.
Q. What’s your main responsibility in your role as founder of Bake’n Babes?
A. The most important thing that I do as founder is set the vision for the bakery and ensure that everyone adheres to our high standards.
Q. What is your biggest business or work-related challenge? What’s something you battle on a daily basis?
A. The biggest challenge we have is making sure that our menu continues to feel new and exciting as we continue to create more and more over the top items.
Q. What is your biggest piece of advice for people aspiring to be in your position?
A. The biggest piece of advice I give anyone interested in opening a restaurant is that it’s a 24/7 job, and it encompasses so much more than the food. Good food is the bare minimum; you need to be ready to provide incredible service, keep a tight budget, identify talent, and promote yourself.
Q. What’s something you want to be remembered for?
A. I hope to be remembered as a community contributor. I’m happy when people recognize the brand and say things like, “We love your cookies,” but at the end of the day, I want to know that I have made a difference in my community. Giving back is extremely important to me. Tampa is my hometown and has shown me nothing but love and support. I want my community to feel the love and support from Bake’n Babes.
Q. What is the biggest difference between business in 2019 versus business in 2009? What has been a major shift you’ve noticed in the past decade?
A. The biggest shift in business in the last decade is the advent of social media. It has been a complete game-changer for me. When trying to figure out what kind of Freak Shake to make for the month of September, we decided to make a Lizzo themed Freak Shake.
I called upon two friends of the bakery, Cam Parker and Petey Cakes (who makes the most perfect sugar cookies) to help us create and promote it. We promoted the Freak Shake through Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Our campaign was so successful that Lizzo actually showed up at the bakery and got herself a Freak Shake! There’s no way ten years ago I could have gotten the #1 singer in the USA to seek out my bakery for a milkshake.
Lizzo at Bake’n Babes from Instagram
Q. What’s your personal favorite social media platform?
A. My favorite social media platform is Instagram, it’s visually pleasing, and I get the best results with it.
Q. What two words would the people closest to you use to describe you?
A. Two words that the people closest to me would use to describe me: driven and thoughtful.
Q. If you could have lunch with one person for 60 minutes (dead or alive), who would it be?
A. If I could have lunch with one person for 60 minutes, it would be Oprah.
Q. Which do you like more, dogs or cats?
Q. Favorite hobby outside of work?
Q. Name one of your biggest guilty pleasures.
A. Binge-watching Netflix
Originally published on the Brick Media blog in 2019