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Sophisticated Sugar: Inspired by her grandma, local baker brings upscale desserts to Columbus

Sophisticated Sugar: Inspired by her grandma, local baker brings upscale desserts to Columbus


The vision came to Allyson Blackwell after being a highlight at the Farmers’ Market at North Market Downtown last summer. The owner behind the new North Market Downtown vendor My Pastry Factory sought to give her customers the fancy desserts they were craving. And now, with a rotation of seasonal upscale treats, The Pastry Factory has options for all kinds of palettes, including customers who are vegan and gluten-free.

Now, Blackwell has been offered a permanent spot in the market year-round.

“I love watching customers’ reactions when they try a cupcake sample, especially when it’s one of my more avant-garde flavors,” said Blackwell. “I always tell them to try it because it’s free and they won’t hurt my feelings if they don’t like it.”


Blackwell’s baking genes go all the way back to her grandmother, who Blackwell used to watch transform raw ingredients into a pound cake. It inspired the then 10-year-old Blackwell to practice her own baking using an Easy Bake Oven. Outgrowing the kiddie appliance, Blackwell began baking small cakes using a stovetop oven, which she’d sell at school to teachers and fellow students. Applying her knowledge of attending culinary arts and baking programs at Northwest Career Center and Sullivan University in Louisville, she carefully acquired the skill to make upscale treats for finely-crafted tastes.

“I believe in sourcing the freshest ingredients whenever possible and I bake everything from scratch,” she said. “Baking is truly a science, once you learn it you can interpret those ingredients however you choose and create unique masterpieces of your own.”

Photo by Jen Brown

Initially, Blackwell wanted to create a home bakery that catered to other local small businesses. In the beginning, she delivered desserts and pastries to a few coffee shops in Columbus, Springfield and Yellow Springs. Blackwell opened The Pastry Factory in 2012 as a part-time bakery; and now, she’s all fancy desserts 24/7.

For the summer, her shop will introduce a lineup of juicy fruit-based cupcake desserts from Summer Corn and Mango to Peach Bellini, Avocado Rosemary Citrus and Watermelon Margarita Cake. With ornate fondant designs and one-of-a-kind flavors, Blackwell’s concoctions range from the simplicity of gourmet cookies, cupcakes and brownies to French-inspired creations of tarts, brioche breads, croissants and decadent pastries.

 “I like to incorporate as much fresh seasonal produce as possible. I’m always inspired by the fresh fruit and vegetables available at local farmers markets and I like to challenge myself with creating something new and unique,” she said.

As the loyal following of The Pastry Factory scour to North Market Downtown, Blackwell’s philosophy on baked goods is as effortless as her anything-but-typical posh treats: “The most simple dessert can be elevated to something a little more interesting and sophisticated if you think outside the norm.”

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