Baked by Joy specializes in treats made with ube, a purple yam that's found in Filipino cuisine. Credit: Courtesy of Baked by Joy

Brilliant purple sponge cakes, artisan German breads and pastries and mouth-watering charcuterie boards are just some of the goodies these new Bangor-area food businesses are selling.

Baked By Joy and Bread With Character, which both sell their goodies at the Bangor European Market on Saturday mornings, and Downtown Charcuterie, which sells out of a downtown Bangor storefront, all opened within the past year.

Hermon resident Joy Dudley started Baked By Joy in May 2021, as she grew increasingly homesick for her native country of the Philippines after moving to Maine a few years ago. One of the biggest things she missed was ube cake, an iconic Filipino dessert consisting of frosted sponge cake made with ube, a purple yam, which gives the dessert its unique flavor, texture and brilliant purple color.

“I love everything ube,” Dudley said. “When I couldn’t get Filipino food or Filipino desserts, I started to create recipes to incorporate ube in the hopes of having a business where I could share my culture with everyone.”

In addition to traditional ube cake and cupcakes, Dudley now makes ube everything — ube cake pops, ube cookies, ube ice cream, ube waffles, and even ube whoopie pies, in a nod to both her Filipino roots and new home in Maine. She also makes other cakes flavored with mango, coconut or pandan, a fresh, fragrant leaf used in many Filipino recipes.

Dudley sells her goodies from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each Saturday morning at the Bangor European Market on Buck Street, takes special orders, and also regularly has ube cookies and whoopie pies at West Market Square Artisan Coffeehouse in Bangor.

Bread With Characters makes German breads and pastries at the Bangor European Market each weekend. Credit: Courtesy of Bread with Characters

Also at the European Market, Joachim Woitun and Anna Maria Baeza, who run Bangor-based Bread With Character, both had a similar reason to Dudley to start baking — Woitun deeply missed the fresh sourdough bread he used to buy in his native Bavaria, Germany.

Though baking was always a hobby for him, about a year ago, he and Baeza began selling their breads and pastries at the market. In addition to fragrant loaves of German sourdough, Woitun also makes other types of German and French breads, pretzels, cookies and cakes.

Baking is more than a hobby for them now, but both Woitun and Baeza are accomplished professional musicians — Woitun is a cellist and Baeza is a clarinetist — who have performed internationally, and who most recently have served on the faculty at SummerKeys in Lubec.

One of many types of charcuterie boards Amy Cunningham makes at her business, Downtown Charcuterie. Credit: Courtesy of Downtown Charcuterie

What’s bread without cheese? Ashley Cunningham knows that when you’re putting out goodies for guests at a party, variety matters, and at her new business, Downtown Charcuterie in Bangor, she aims to take the hassle out of creating a platter of meat, cheese and other treats.

Cunningham worked as a preschool teacher for years before the pandemic, before transitioning into an office job. She found herself looking for something fun and creative to do with her spare time, and got into creating beautiful displays of treats for people.

“I started making themed charcuterie boards for parties, friends and family in October, and so many people were interested I decided to make it official in January,” Cunningham said.

Customers can select the size of the board and the different items they want on it, alongside crudites, bread, crackers, fruits and vegetables, cookies, candy and anything else Cunningham has available. She schedules pickups on Friday afternoons at 76 Main St., in downtown Bangor, in the same location where vegan doughnut bakery The Donut GroVe also offers pickup.

To order a charcuterie board, visit the Downtown Charcuterie Facebook page.

Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.