This marks our third year to explore and discover individuals and businesses that are the best at what they do in the Willamette Valley.
Daydreaming in buttercream isn’t just a fantasy for Michelle Ashley Timberlake of Michelle Ashley Custom Cakes; it’s her whole world – at least the professional part, that is.
Michelle began creating custom cakes in the summer of 2015, leaving a long career in the tech industry. After completing a few cake-decorating classes, she began working at Fred Meyer stores as a baker. She went from being a rookie to professional artist in less than a year. Michelle was urged by others to start her own business.
She launched her bakery business, Michelle Ashley Custom Cakes, from her licensed home kitchen in 2016 and by 2018, her business growth drove her to move into a brick-and-mortar shop.
In 2020, she won the gold medal in both of the Best of the Willamette Valley’s Cupcake and Bakery categories. This year, her bakery won gold in four categories including the Best of the
Willamette Valley’s Bakery, Woman-Owned Business, Cupcakes, and Dessert categories.
Michelle Ashley Custom Cakes is currently housed in the 45th Parallel building. Michelle’s bakery is known for its delicious custom cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, cookies, and gender-reveal cakes. Michelle and her team also make other desserts such as colorful macarons, cannolis, cinnamon rolls and select handcrafted artisan sweet treats.
What really sets her apart from other bakers in the area, though, is her willingness to create specialty desserts for the dietary specialty markets.
The bakery staff love to talk about the shop being the place in town folks go-to for all their vegan, keto-keeping, sugar-free, gluten-friendly, and dairy-free desserts.
All of the recipes are scratch-made and designed by Michelle herself.
“We make our own powdered base for sugar-free desserts,” Michelle said. “Sure, it would be a whole lot cheaper to not grind it down for our cream-cheese frostings, but it is so worth it to see the smiles on the faces of customers who know they can rely on me to let them indulge and not have that weird aftertaste that so many sugar-free substitutes have.”
The specialty cakes and cupcakes are not ordinary, so don’t expect grocery-store prices. But customers know they’re getting their money’s worth with Michelle Ashley Custom Cakes.
“My customers know that I use the finest ingredients in my products and the taste really brings it home for them,” Michelle said. “They know they’re worth every penny.”
What started as a fun past-time and a way to channel her creative energy, quickly became a full-time (and then some) passion for Michelle, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
The staff volunteering to help others through their Rick’s Community Support Drive is a labor of love for the employees of Rick’s Custom Fencing & Decking.