If you love home-made cakes, pies and cupcakes, baked from scratch using natural ingredients, you’re going to love what’s coming to downtown Saline.
Enchanted Oven, owned by Saline resident Amber Wardia, will soon open at 103 N. Ann Arbor St., in the space most recently occupied by Sweet Leilani’s and Detroit Dog Company.
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For Wardia, Enchanted Oven is all about surprising and pleasing people with flavors they might have forgotten about as many commercial bakeries have cut corners.
“You know when you go to a farmers market and taste a grape with seeds in it, and you taste it and think, ‘Oh yeah, that’s what grapes are supposed to taste like?’ That’s what Enchanted Oven does. We use natural ingredients and bake the old fashioned way,” Wardia said. “People don’t realize what they’ve been missing all these years until they taste it. And then they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s what cake tastes like.’”
During the recession, Wardia said, many bakeries started cutting corners.
“Butter is expensive, so they switched to margarine. Chocolate is expensive. The cost of vanilla is unprecedented. It’s through the roof,” Wardia said. “A lot of bakeries were forced to go with cheaper ingredients or quick mixes, or use fruit flavoring instead of real fruit.”
And when the recession ended, Wardia said, many bakeries never went back to the natural approach.
But doesn’t that make Enchanted Oven expensive? Wardia said it’s not cheap. But, she said, because of the quality, people will find her prices more than fair.
“I can’t compete with the prices in a grocery store. But we’re fairly priced and we’ve never had a customer leave us because they couldn’t afford us. I know how to work with everyone’s budget,” Wardia said. “For the quality and flavor you’re getting, the prices are very competitive.”
Like Jen McPherson, next door at McPherson local, she said people are becoming more and more concerned about the ingredients in the food they eat. It’s a concern that’s not only about taste. It’s also about health, sustainability, and ethics. Wardia uses natural and locally produced ingredients. For things not available locally, like chocolate, she’s careful to buy “fair trade” ingredients.
“In Saline, we’re conscientious about what we’re putting in our body. My customers know we’re not using low-quality ingredients,” Wardia said. “They know the money they’re spending isn’t going to some far-off, evil corporation that uses slave labor.”
Enchanted Oven specializes in custom cakes. It might be a wedding cake. Or a birthday cake. Or some other fancy cake. Cakes are what attracted Wardia to baking when she was a little girl.
“The first cake I ever baked was when I was seven, and I made a cake for my mom for Mother’s Day,” Wardia said.
She quickly learned she loved baking.
“I love making people happy with food,” Wardia second. “And I’m a creative person. This is artistic for me.”
Customers visiting the store can sample her work. She’ll sell cupcakes for $3 ($2 for students on Wednesdays), slices of cake for $5 and slices of pie for $4.
Wardia has owned and operated Enchanted Oven since 2007. She began the business and developed a following in Birmingham, where she shared space with a local caterer. When her family moved to Florida, she opened her own storefront. Then, when she returned to Michigan with her school-age daughters, she began looking for a place near Ann Arbor. It was tough to find commercial space in the area. She became friendly with Sheila Vish, of Sweet Leilani’s. When Sheila decided to move to Tecumseh, she called Wardia to let her know her space was opening up. Everything started falling in place.
“It’s very small, and I’ve had to adjust my menu a little bit, which is OK. I won’t be making bread and breakfast items,” Wardia said. “I’ll be focusing on the things I started out doing: cakes and cupcakes.”
Wardia anticipates opening soon. She expects to be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday.