Catawba County News

March Featured Catawban: Asia "Mae" Magness

March Featured Catawban: Asia "Mae" Magness

Published: March 01, 2019

Baker, Barista, Entrepreneur, Mom

Not every woman gets confused with her grandma, but thirty-something Asia “Mae” Magness does. Owner of Mae’s Bakery in downtown Maiden, she has reimagined recipes from her two grandmothers so well that people think her Mamaw made them. This mother of three has earned a loyal following thanks to a supportive family, a heart for people, and the best ooey gooeys in town.

How does it feel to be a business owner in your hometown?
I don't really consider my customers to be customers. I consider them my family, because having this business has made so many new opportunities to get to know people. It's been a learning experience and honestly, it's been great. I have so many regular customers, and I know their usual coffees and their usual sweets. I have a list of people I call when I make something on a certain day, because they want to know. It's like we have a whole new extended family. That's how I feel about it. I've always been that person who just loves people.

What got you interested in baking?
I've always liked to bake. My sister and I would put our play dough in the oven when we were little. As I got older, I started messing around with pound cakes. When the older generation dies off, there’s nobody left to make it. I don't have any grandparents left, so I’m trying to find the recipes that my grandmothers used. I've always been an old soul, and I stayed in the kitchen with my mom when she was cooking or in the kitchen with my great-grandmother when she was cooking. I bake different things that I want my kids to think about when they get older and say, "Remember when Mom used to make this?" I want to leave them with something.

Did you take any baking classes?
It's all self-taught. It’s been me fiddling around in the kitchen and finding what works. Most people come in here for pound cake or ooey gooeys. Or brownies. I have one pound cake recipe I use and nobody knows it, nobody can make it. Any flavor of pound cake you'll ever have in here is from the same recipe. I just change the flavor, so it's kind of my own. What I get told is it tastes like somebody's mamaw made it. Some customers ask me, "Did you make this?" Or, "Where is your grandma?" My nickname is Mae, or Asia Mae. I think people come in here looking for an old lady. They ask, "You bake everything? Are you sure? You're too young." I say, “You’re never too young to do anything.” That's what I try to tell my kids.

Comments edited for brevity. To learn more about Asia’s story and listen to her podcast, visit www.makinglivingbetter.com.