Jessica Rose Boutwell and Joyce Boutwell are a mother-daughter team that does one thing really well: create stylish, high-end cakes with local ingredients through their business, Ruže Cake House.
Joyce, or mom, has been baking for most of her life. She and Jessica would often make desserts – cookies, macarons, and of course, cakes – for friends’ special occasions. Two years ago, the duo made a cake for one of Jessica’s girlfriends having a bridal shower at El Chorro.
“We just made a cake for like we normally do for my friends,” Jessica says. It prompted a phone call a few days later from the catering sales manager at El Chorro, saying she wanted to refer clients their way. “At that point, my mom and I weren’t a business,” she says.
That soon changed. Within a few weeks, Jessica says they had so much business from El Chorro that she was able to leave her job in investments; her mother soon left her job in electronics.
Now, mom does all the baking, and daughter takes care of the customer service and design, though they work on the finishing touches of the cakes and desserts together. Unless it’s an especially busy weekend and they have to use a commercial kitchen, Ruže Cake House is run out of Joyce’s kitchen in Scottsdale – from which Jessica lives 10 houses down.
“It wasn’t ever a decision, it was more of encouragement from someone,” Jessica says. “Both of us are very creative, and what we were doing didn’t allow us to express our innate talents. We realized this is definitely something we would be happy doing.”
The first thing you might notice about Ruže Cake House creations is the elegant and often desert-themed look of the desserts, which are clearly inspired by the Boutwells’ surroundings. “I grew up here, and I feel like we’re really lucky in the Southwest to have so much inspiration that isn’t available to many other bakers across the world,” Jessica says. “The saguaros, all the wildlife, we really like weaving that into our design. We like our food to look like it could have grown out of the ground.”
For now, the Ruže Cake House only consists of the two, unless you count the backyard chickens the Boutwell women raise to include fresh, sustainable ingredients in their food. “They don’t produce all the eggs for our food, but they’re definitely our hardest-working employees,” Jessica says.
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The backyard eggs are important to Ruže Cake House, especially Jessica, who’s been a vegan since the fourth grade. “When we started doing this, I told my mom that something really important to me was being able to infuse my beliefs into our business, but to do it in a way where it’s still [accessible],” Boutwell says.
She says it’s the little things that make the difference with their food. When they started looking for organic eggs, they realized finding organic and ethically raised eggs is difficult, especially at a price clients would pay. That started the backyard chickens, but it doesn’t end there. All of their cream and milk comes from Danzeisen Dairy, a local business based out of Laveen Village. The bakery's prickly pear syrup, honey, and citrus are all locally sourced as well, with many ingredients coming from the Scottsdale Farmer’s Market.
The success of Ruže Cake House so far has prompted another milestone for the mother-daughter team: a physical storefront, soon to open at 7033 East Main Street in Scottsdale. The location will seat roughly 17 people and serve pastries, croissants, and other premade desserts, as well as coffee and tea from Teaspressa Tea.