Julia Baker
Photo: John Hall Photography
PAGE 15
Confectioner Julia Baker's sugary creations are as dazzling as they are delicious.
In the kitchen of her Scottsdale, Arizona, headquarters, Julia Baker creates decadent truffles, chocolate bars, and cakes that delight both the eyes and the palate. Her chocolates—in flavors like Irish Creme and white chocolate raspberry—are often adorned with vibrant patterns; her wedding cakes are crafted to evoke couture gowns, resemble giant chocolate flowers, or mimic the colors of a dramatic sunset; and her innovative cake truffles are topped with elegant sugar flowers or seasonal flourishes like Easter-egg-shaped chocolates coated with edible glitter. Says Baker: "I want everything we make to have a 'girly-girl with class' sensibility." Because she believes truly beautiful chocolate starts with the right ingredients, she imports her fruit purees from France—where she attended the prestigious culinary school Le Cordon Bleu, graduating first in her class.

Her Spark

New flavors are occasioned by "whatever I'm craving at the moment," Baker says, whether that's the chocolate-hazelnut mousse she sampled in Monaco that inspired a praline confection, or the passion fruit filling that reminds her of her visit to Bora Bora. She also looks to the runway for ideas: "Fashion translates so well onto a cake," Baker explains. Her Valentino creation features a cascade of the designer's signature rosettes. Baker says the aesthetic of her patterned chocolates—often decorated with plaids, polka dots, and stripes—is drawn from the tongue-in-cheek guide The Official Preppy Handbook.

Her Story

Baker was inspired to pursue her dream of working with chocolate by an unlikely catalyst—a difficult marriage. In 2007 she found the strength that would help her begin to break free: "I thought, If I don't make a small step today, I'm going to be stuck in the same place next year, and the year after that." Within a year, Baker had secured a factory space and ended her marriage. She credits her passion for her work with changing her life—and keeping her going through the hard times. "For a small business to succeed, it has to be something that's really your love," she says. "It has to be something you can't live a day without doing." —Molly Fischer


Photo: John Hall Photography

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