by Kelsey King
Photography by Sarah Kert
Sarah Kert is a senior in Sargent’s Nutrition and Public Health program, pole-vaulter for the BU Women’s Track and Field team and second-in-command at Becky’s Bakery on Cape Cod. For her, baking is a creative outlet.
“Cupcakes are my favorite because I can go crazy with the flavor and texture combinations,” said Kert. "Conversely, I love cakes because that’s definitely where I can let the artistic creativity shine. When I was young, I wanted to be an artist, so I’m not really surprised by it. My mom is an interior designer, so I’ve always had that gene.”
At Becky’s Bakery, Kert is allowed to let this creativity flow without reservation. One thing that the owner, Becky Gully, holds in high regard is variety. Each weekend, Becky provides customers with different creations from the last, which are frequently dreamt up by Kert in her long days at the bakery.
Over the weekend, Kert wakes up at 3:30 in the morning to arrive at the bakery before 4:00 a.m. Once there, she and Gully fire up the stove, ovens and proof box. The breakfast pastries requiring proofing make their way into the box first. Then, the two work together tirelessly to get scones, cookies, muffins and pies into the oven. While those items are rising and baking, they begin brewing coffee, filling the cases and jumping into the day’s orders—all before the bakery opens its doors.
“In general we do six different kinds of cookies, nine kinds of muffins, three different scones, four croissants, turn-overs, almond horns, Hamentashen, cinnamon and raspberry sticks, assorted Danish and cinnamon buns. All of that is for the dry case, but the cold case is much more fun and what I love doing,” said Kert. “Becky basically gives me free reign to make what I want to fill up the cold case.”
This case contains assorted cakes and cupcakes, bars, pies and specialty pastries, such as lobster tails, tiramisu, cream puffs, éclairs and the occasional brownie. So far, Kert’s summer cupcake creations have included salted caramel chocolate pretzel, margarita, lemon-blueberry compote, strawberry shortcake and lemon meringue.
“My favorite things to eat at the bakery are probably the scones, lobster tails and whipped cream,” said Kert. Becky and I love crunchy stuff, so on the rare occasion that a scone comes out too small, we break it up and toss it in the oven to make ‘scone croutons.’ They’re amazing, I definitely think they should be mass-produced as a topping for yogurt.”
Kert began working at the bakery four years ago without any prior professional experience on her résumé. She began baking at a young age with her mother’s approval to make dessert for guests or special occasions. However, without any serious bakers in the family, Kert was, in essence, self-taught. Now she has Gully’s nearly 20 years of professional experience to gain wisdom from.
“Working at the bakery with Becky has improved my baking skills to another level. At this point I have the skillset to qualify as a pastry chef, which I think is pretty incredible,” said Kert. “I even got a callback from The Food Network after applying for a competition. I never got a second call, but I plan to reapply at some point.
“My ultimate dream would be to compete on The Food Network and I honestly think I’d be really good at it: track makes me really competitive and motivated, and working at the bakery has instilled an insane ability to multitask.”
Kert plans to one day follow in Gully’s footsteps and open her own bakery. Until then, you know where to find her.