Tiffeny Wycoff has been baking since she was 5 years old.
“I had the Easy Bake oven,” she remembers. “Grandma would always save batter out of the cake. We’d put it in those little pans, pop it in (the oven), and make the little tarts and things.”
On June 1, Wycoff took those early-learned skills to a new level, opening Tiffeny’s Temptations, in the Tapio Office Park’s Brown Flag Building, at 104 S. Freya. Wycoff is the owner and baker. The café occupies 1,250 square feet of space and leases its quarters from Spokane Valley-based Cloninger & Associates, she says.
The café offers gourmet goods, such as pies, cakes, cookies, and brownies, as well as homemade soups, deli sandwiches, salads, and feature chef specials. Sides include pickles, chips, and dinner rolls for the soups. Beverages include sodas, gourmet coffee, gourmet tea, hot chocolate, and juices, Wycoff says.
Some food items change with the season, she says.
Although the business didn’t offer deli items originally, Wycoff says she “upped” her business permit to be able to sell them.
She says the space Tiffeny’s Temptations occupies was the former location of a deli.
“The people in the Tapio Center were used to this being a deli, so as soon as I opened, I could see that it would be important to have the deli sandwiches to help pay the bills,” she says. People whose employers are located in the Tapio Center also were used to soups being offered there, she says.
“People liked to be able to not have to get in their cars and leave their offices. They can just call in and order, and I can have their sandwich ready,” Wycoff says. “Or, they can dine in, relax, read the newspaper, and have good food.”
Customers can sit down at one of the square tables, decorated with lacey white tablecloths. A clear glass vase with flowers serves as a centerpiece.
Despite the compliments she receives on the business’s interior design, Wycoff says she didn’t have any particular theme in mind.
In addition to the retail food operation, Wycoff offers cake decorating classes through Tiffeny’s Temptations. She says she teaches classes that cover the use of buttercream, royal icing, sugar flowers, gelatin, and color flow technique.
Because the business is so new, though, she says she has offered only two classes so far: one demonstrating color flow technique, and a buttercream class, where the students learned how to make tulips using frosting bags with Russian tips.
“You learn a lot of tips and tricks when you take classes, versus going on YouTube or reading from a book,” she asserts. “That’s the fun of taking the classes, so you don’t have to be frustrated when you are at home trying to do what you learned or saw on TV.”
Tiffeny’s Temptations also offers private classes, which typically require at least six participants, says Wycoff. Private classes are well-suited for special occasions in participants’ lives, she says, using the example of an upcoming wedding.
“You could do a private class, say, if you had a daughter that’s getting married, and you want to make her wedding cake,” she says. Wycoff would then book the class and help the student with the particular project they have in mind.
She says people will bring in pictures of what they want to learn to make, “which makes it rather difficult because they have no idea what kind of work is involved,” she says, laughing.
A member of the Monroe, Mich.-based International Cake Exploration Société, an international organization of cake decorators and sugar artists founded in 1976, Wycoff applied to the organization for a scholarship. She received one for $1,000 in August 2012, and chose to attend The International Sugar Art Collection, in Norcross, Ga., and study under Chef Nicholas Lodge. She completed the program and earned her master’s in sugar art, which “boosted my ability to teach,” she says.
“When I applied for the scholarship, I had just written, which I feel is very true, that our community really needed something like that to teach and to give back,” she says.
Wycoff says her personal favorite treat at Tiffeny’s Temptations are her torte cakes, which she says she wants to be known for.
“I have Death by Chocolate (torte cakes), made by scratch, very decadent, very moist, and I like them filled with real whipped cream, and with the chocolate buttercream frosting,” she says. “If you’re into chocolate, that’ll take care of that craving.”
Born in Spokane, Wycoff has spent most of her life in the area. She attended business classes in Portland in the 1990s and then, more recently, here, through the Spokane Neighborhood Action Partners’ Women’s Business Center, and took out a $25,000 loan from the U.S. Small Business Association.
Wycoff is the only employee of Tiffeny’s Temptations. On weekends, she works as a pharmacy technician at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children’s Hospital.
She projects revenues of about $50,000 for the first 12 months of operation at Tiffeny’s Temptations, ending June 2017.
Wycoff says she loves what she does, the customers, and the social aspect of business.
“I love that (the customers) return for those homemade, by-scratch goods,” she says. “There’s a big difference between the taste and flavor, versus what you buy in the store.”
When Wycoff checked out her competition, she says, “I was not nervous because I truly believe in what I do.”
Tiffeny’s Temptations is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., although it sometimes stays open later than that, she says.
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