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Rising Stars: Meet Mariah Martinez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mariah Martinez.

Mariah Martinez

Hi Mariah, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’ve always been into the slow-paced side of life- which can be surprising since I’m originally from the bustling city of Los Angeles. However, the magic and vibrancy around us are effortless to miss when our attention is constantly being pulled in different directions. This is standard for me as a neurodivergent individual, too. From the moment I wake up to the moment I drift to sleep, my head is constantly inundated with thoughts, questions, plans, and plenty of other things without a crumb of silence. So, it made sense that although I was comfortable taking everything one step at a time, my interests were quite fleeting. Every hobby or creative outlet I’d taken up in the past would eventually get dropped after I’d learned the basics. That was until I started baking. Something magical happens when I’m prepping ingredients, drafting designs, mixing colors, piping decorations, or sitting under my ring light carefully placing each sprinkle. My high-traffic freeway of thoughts softens, and I am in total catharsis, like a flow state. At the height of the pandemic, I had found myself using baking to keep the worries and uncertainties at bay with all the spare time quarantine and work from home had given me. With ample time to research and practice my craft, I had built the courage to let a few friends taste-test my little creations. Soon, I was baking their birthday cakes and named my little business Mahou Cake. The word ‘Mahou’ comes from the Japanese word for “Magic,” which I chose because I strive to deliver something that is both whimsical to look at and exciting to eat. The compliments and feedback thus far have fueled my desire to take my baking further and continuously improve while keeping my dream of eventually becoming a full-time home baker. I am 365 days better than last year, and I hope even 1000 days from now, my work reflects that much.

Please talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back, it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect.
Plenty of hurdles have been placed in front of me, with not much room to jump. But when the ceiling was too low, I found ways to crouch instead and get back on while my support team cheered me on. When faced with mental health slumps, losing dearly loved ones, moving homes, and even being displaced from my previous job, I had to take several hiatuses to find my balance again. The toughest had been coping with loss and adjusting to a new workplace. Those were issues that even baking couldn’t alleviate at the time.

Thanks – What else should our readers know about your work and your current focus?
I am a home baker specializing in lunchbox, jar, and bespoke cakes for birthdays and other light festivities. Among all that I bake, my crowd-pleasing flavor is the Lemon/Blueberry cake. It is a tender crumb flavored with actual lemons (a bit of help from extract that I keep stocked) and ripe blueberries baked in. Sandwiched between those layers, you can find my lemon/blueberry curd swirl made from scratch with just the right balance of brightness, tartness, and sweetness to accompany a lemon-flavored icing. It tastes like sunshine, and I never tire of making it. As for what sets my work apart from others, it is my experimental flavor profiles. I take great pride in adventuring past the classic tried-and-trues and pushing towards expanding the confines of our palates.

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