Sunday, December 3, 2023

New at-home bakery looks to bring back the flavors of childhood

In the midst of a pandemic, Dwan Bryant has opened a new at-home bakery in Williamsburg. (WYDaily/Courtesy Dwan Bryant)
Dwan Bryant has opened a new at-home bakery in Williamsburg. (WYDaily/Courtesy Dwan Bryant)

For Dwan Bryant, baking a delicious chocolate cake is in her blood and now part of her new bakery.

Bryant is the owner of the new “cottage bakery,” the Maple Pig Cupcakery. Each day Bryant spends with various ingredients, crafting pastries just as her grandmother and aunt before her did. 

It was 15 years ago when Bryant first started baking items for family and friends, but she’s been familiar with the end of a pastry ladle since she was a little girl. As the granddaughter of two decades-long career chefs, Bryant spent her summers in the kitchen with her grandmother who taught her the art of baking.

“It’s phenomenal to have my own business, I feel like when I bake there’s a piece of her with me,” she said. “I really feel like I have a passion for creating a quality product, so I want to make sure people feel what I felt every time I took a bite of my grandmother’s chocolate cake.”

Bryant said over the past decade her passion for baking grew as she started making pastries for friends and family and eventually for some personal events. But she had always toyed with the idea of operating her own bakery and turning her hobby into a full time profession.

And due to the coronavirus pandemic, she’s had her chance.

Bryant worked in childcare prior to opening a bakery — she was furloughed when the pandemic hit. While it was difficult for Bryant to consider a different career path, she saw this new free time as the perfect opportunity to finally open her business.

Bryant got her business license a few weeks ago and has since been marketing her bakery on social media. Her business is a “cottage bakery” which is different than other at-home bakeries.

A cottage bakery is not one that is fully inspected by the Virginia Department of Agriculture, she said. While those bakeries are still held to the same cleanliness standards, they are limited in what can be sold.

Bryant said she can’t sell products that have to be temperature controlled and she can’t sell online or across state lines.

But she still has the opportunity to sell at farmers markets and market her products on social media.

“It’s been a struggle to find customers in a market where it’s better to be seen,” she said. “When you’re just starting out without a storefront, it’s harder but I decided to go ahead and take a leap of faith.”

Her leap of faith paid off because she has been busy most days with orders for various pastries.

What makes her pastries different is that they bring a sense of southern style to traditional recipes, she said. Some of the flavors are ones people might have grown up with in the mountains of Virginia all the way to the shores of Louisiana. 

Those flavors include Alabama Lane Cake, Creamsicle, and a Peanut Cake that Bryant said can be traced back to George Washington Carver.

“It’s a bunch of southern flavors,” she said. “It’s things you may or may not have heard of and brings back memories for some people. That’s what my business is all about.”

The Maple Pig Cupcakery will officially open for business on June 10. To learn more, visit the bakery online.


Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at

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