Mixing it up in Worthington: mother-daughter duo whips out delicious desserts
“Everything we try, our goal is to make it better, to take that and make it our own,” said Dulce Willardson, co-owner of Whip and Mix.
WORTHINGTON — Since September, Maria Adame and Dulce Willardson have been mixing ingredients and whipping out delicious desserts for their new baking business, Whip and Mix.
What started out as a hobby has transformed into a business that has kept the mother-daughter duo on their toes, and trying out plenty of new recipes, with orders for cookies, tarts, and sweet dessert empanadas rolling in.
“We always thought it was just something we’d do for friends and family,” said Willardson, who has been baking for most of her life alongside her mother. “Then I started making the empanadas and people started asking for them. I got tons of orders so I asked my mom, 'Should we do this?' and now, here we are.”
Though Willardson works full-time at the Southwest Crisis Center in Worthington, baking has always been a love of hers — and a great way to relieve stress. Taking that plunge to turn that love into a business has been a challenge she said, but having her mom, and the support of her family and friends has made it possible.
Willardson moved to Worthington from Michoacán, Mexico, in 2013, with the rest of her immediate family following in the years to come. While both Willardson and Adame attended baking classes in Mexico, Adame taught herself the hobby going through magazines and trying out the recipes she would find there.
“My mother never baked any desserts,” said Adame. “I did learn a lot from my mother-in-law, though. When I got married, my husband just loved desserts, so I would get to try out a different dessert every day. That’s how I got into making and creating different desserts.”
It’s a passion she passed on to her daughter, and throughout their years of baking together, they’ve continued to build off of recipes they’ve found.
“Everything we try, our goal is to make it better, to take that and make it our own,” said Willardson. “We start with a basic recipe and make changes until we have just the flavor, the recipe we want, so everything is really one of a kind — so we’ve got our notebooks that are all top-secret recipes!”
For Willardson, baking really picked up around the time she started making apple pies and strudels — her favorite thing to bake and eat — using apples from the tree in her backyard. It was a mistake in a pie crust recipe that led to her first making the dessert empanadas Whip and Mix has become known for.
“We really like to do different, very creative flavors,” said Willardson, noting that they prioritize using fresh, natural ingredients in their desserts. “We were afraid, when we first started doing this, but then we saw how well people responded and it just keeps growing and growing.”
Even with both Willardson and Adame working other jobs, they both spend about twenty hours a week right now on their baking business — and they have lots of help from family. Willardson’s sister, Christina Adame, came up with the name for the business and handles a lot of their marketing, and her dad helps with packaging. And of course, friends, family and coworkers are always more than willing to be taste-testers for whatever recipe the duo is trying to nail next.
“We’re busy baking every weekend,” said Willardson, “but we have a lot of support. All our family helps us and the community has responded to us so well and really supports us.”
People can place orders through Whip and Mix’s Facebook page and when the Worthington Farmer’s Market opens, Willardson and Adame plan to have a booth on Sundays, where people will be able to pick up orders or purchase extra pastries from them.
While the mother-daughter duo hopes to one day open their own shop, their next step is renovating Willardson’s garage into a fully-functioning kitchen, which will serve as a home base for their baking needs. It’s a project they’re hoping to have underway this spring, in order to keep up with the influx of orders they’ve been receiving.
“Every day, we’re learning more and becoming faster and better,” said Willardson. “And it’s been hard. I think, if you don’t love this, a lot of people would have given up by now, but we enjoy it and we know where we want to go, so we keep going.”