By LOIS KINDLE
When Megan Malin was a child, she learned to help her mother make fresh breads, sweets and pasta, all from scratch. She loved to bake, and it was a skill she carried into marriage, shared with her children and turned into a booming business.
Megan and her husband, Dennis, opened Petite Madelyn’s at 1017 E Bloomingdale Ave. three years ago. Just on the outskirts of Riverview, their bakery serves the greater Brandon area and South Shore, offering scheduled deliveries of their increasingly renowned custom cakes, breads and sweets.
“We have many customers in Riverview and Apollo Beach,” Megan said. “And we recently delivered a custom-order cake to Sun City Center.”
One such customer, Bill Kirkland, of Riverview, recently celebrated his 70th birthday.
“I love to play the guitar, so my wife ordered a 4-foot vanilla cake (with buttercream frosting) shaped like one. I was blown away. It was awesome!”
His day was made even more special when he received a new guitar, as well.
For the Malins, creating is a team effort and all in a day’s work.
After 24 years in the Marine Corps, Dennis retired in 2014 and began looking for something to do during the next phase of his life. First, he helped Megan open Petite Madelyn’s, a European-style bakery named after their 3-year-old daughter and the madeleine, a petite French cake.
“It seemed only fitting,” Megan said. “She goes around telling everyone it’s her bakery, and she’s already learning to greet customers and use the register. Her younger brother David wants our next one named after him.”
After more than two decades of military life and traveling the world, the couple decided they wanted to work together near home and their four children. So Dennis enrolled in classes at The Art Institute of Tampa, where Megan had graduated from in 2013. Like Megan, he specialized in pastries and baking and graduated June 16.
“I like that it involves chemistry,” Megan said. “It requires precision, accuracy and time management. When you put everything together just right, you get an amazing result.”
“But there’s an artistic element, as well,” Dennis added. “It’s fun to take a basic recipe, change it slightly and then make it your own.”
Petite Madelyn’s features a wide variety of European-influenced pastries, breads, tortes, napoleons, cookies, cakes, French macaroons, cupcakes and custom cakes for any occasion.
“Someone just asked me for a ‘half’ birthday cake to celebrate her child’s year-and-a-half birthday,” Megan said. “It’s becoming a trend now.”
The from-scratch bakery also offers gluten-free and vegan selections.
Then there’s the bread. In addition to loaves of rye, sourdough and other traditional varieties, the Malins bake challah, focaccia and brioche.
“We also make specialty breads during the holidays,” Megan said.
Petite Madelyn’s is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 813-681-2253, visit petitemadelynsbakery.com or check out www.facebook.com/PetiteMadelynsBakery1/.