Jillian Orr Eberhart doesn’t know the meaning of sitting still.
When she isn’t making up tasty treats her in Bee Sweet Bakery in Marshdale, she is downstairs in the kitchen decorating beautiful cakes or she’s upstairs in her art studio doing everything from jewelry making to pen-and-ink drawings.
“Even when I have spare time, my hands are usually busy,” said the 27-year-old, who used to make five-course meals for her family even before becoming a classically trained pastry chef.
The cakes she designs range from traditional wedding cake to funky offbeat birthday cakes to all-occasion cakes of every shape, size and color. This past weekend she made a cake in the shape of a white coat worn by doctors for a party to celebrate a person starting medical school.
If you can think it up, she can turn it into a cake.
“I specialize in the odd and in the custom-cake experience,” said Eberhart, who goes by “Jo.”
Eberhart is as quirky as her cakes, passionate about making her food unusual and interesting but always tasty.
Quirky shows through in the types of items offered for customers who can visit the shop Tuesday through Friday. Last Wednesday, for example, she offered pumpkin custard pie, a chamomile cupcake with raspberry frosting, and margarita macaroons, in addition to scones and cookies.
“I like to do herbal stuff you don’t usually see,” Eberhart said. “I like to make flavors that are off the wall. My regular customers are starting to trust me. They were a bit skittish at first.”
Quirky shows through in the cakes in the shapes of animals, beer bottles, ships and guitars.
All of the items in her shop are made fresh daily, and her mantra is painted on the wall of her kitchen: “Make it seasonal, simple and well.”
She has put her bakery in the log cabin in Marshdale on Highway 73. You can’t miss the large painted sunflowers on the outside of the building, along with the painted bees. She uses honey in everything she makes.
She had wanted to open her bakery in Bergen Park but changed her mind when she saw the log cabin because it has character, she said. She opened her shop on April 15.
Everhart’s art studio on the second floor of the log cabin doubles as an office, and she’s working on an array of drawings, ranging from Big Foot that will go on a spare tire cover to pen-and-ink drawings, watercolor and oil paintings of people and animals.
But her favorite is batik, a method of painting on cloth that uses beeswax to guide the paint.
“This was something I used to do with my dad,” Eberhart said. “It would fill the house with the smell of beeswax.”
She offers art and pastry classes during the slow season for wedding cakes.
This is Eberhart’s second career. She began as a lab technician doing testing for Denver-based Reservoirs Environmental Inc., including heavy metals, hazardous materials and asbestos testing.
When her husband Kevin, an Evergreen native and an aerospace engineer, was transferred to Houston, she decided to go to culinary school and has worked in a five-star restaurant and at upscale bakeries in Houston and Denver.
“I used to tell people their house was in trouble, and they would cry,” she said. “Now I drop off a wedding cake, and they cry. This is so different than working in a dark room with a telescope.”
Eberhart is thrilled with her new venture into owning her own shop.
“This is the best ride,” she said of her business. “It’s horribly rewarding and horribly scary at the same time.”