Best of Phoenix

Taste Maker

Tammie Coe, 35, makes the cake. We discovered her amazing, fondant-covered creations in the dessert case at La Grande Orange, and pretty soon they were everywhere. (And coming soon to her second location at Artisan Village near Seventh Street and Roosevelt.) Tammie Coe Cakes is a tasty Phoenix phenomenon that could easily take over the world -- except Miss Coe won't let that happen.

On the inevitability of becoming a big-time local cake maker: I was the little girl in the kitchen baking cakes, so it's not like I took a left turn with my life and ended up baking.

And about single-handedly reviving fondant: It makes things look pretty, and I love to work with it, and so it's what we've become known for. Most fondant tastes like it has chemicals in it, or like a brick. Just awful. Ours has white chocolate in it, and it's really yummy.

What is it about Tammie Coe cakes, anyway? We use simple ideas and simple designs. Our cakes are based on what you would eat every day. I'm not making cakes that are infused with lemongrass or black pepper or green tea. I'm just doing cakes that are based on the flavors and elements you would have loved in a cake when you were a kid. Our zebra cake is about the flavors you would find in an ice cream sandwich, and it has red raspberries in it, too. We're about simple ingredients, done really well, and about not skimping on the good stuff.

Her family loves the "good stuff": I sent [a cake] to my mom, and she put it in the freezer. She cut a little slice off every day to make it last longer. She made that cake last a month. It was ridiculous. My husband's mom is the same way. We gave her this giant banana bread, and she would just eat little pieces of it. People are funny about desserts.

But Tammie Coe isn't funny about desserts: I don't care where we go, I always order dessert. I like plain desserts; I'm not as interested in ordering some huge artistic creation. I've seen them; I've made them. A slice of pie or a piece of chocolate cake at the end of a meal is just fine. But good dessert or bad dessert, I eat it. And junk-food desserts? Well, I don't really like Twinkies, but I'll eat them. We had an order for a cake a couple of months ago, and the customer wanted the cake covered in Twinkies, and we were eating them while we were decorating it. It was so gross. And it was also kind of okay.