Monica Chatterton is relaunching Flake Baby Pastry. Daniel Baxter/Monica Chatterton

After building out the pastry program at The Bagel Shop, Monica Chatterton is turning her attention back to her solo baking project. The mover, shaker and baker responsible for the widely popular and highly addictive Flake Baby Pastries (like a Pop-Tart on flavor steroids) channeled her talents at the Little Rock SoMa hotspot throughout the past year, drawing crowds for her perfectly chewy chocolate chip cookies and her meticulously researched quiche recipe. Now, Chatterton told the Arkansas Times, she’s resurrecting Flake Baby Pastry with a renewed focus and an emphasis on creating custom cakes.

Courtesy of Flake Baby Pastry
Flake Baby cake

The pastry standards The Bagel Shop fans have come to love will still be offered at the shop, Chatterton said, adding that Nicholas Herrington — her baking pupil dating back to the days and weeks before The Bagel Shop’s opening  —  is ready to take the helm. Chatterton said one of the reasons for her departure from The Bagel Shop is that she missed running Flake Baby, and she’d never envisioned it truly going dormant.

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“Ultimately, I think I miss having the freedom and fully taking ownership of a brand and having that full control,” she said, “I got a taste of it and then it was hard to give it up.”

She’s viewing her new venture as a Flake Baby 2.0. Before, she was juggling a variety of box drops and custom cakes while producing hundreds of flakes in a week.

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“I was trying to do too much,” she said, sometimes staying up all night to bake her signature flakes so they would be fresh for farmers market drops early in the morning.

Previously, people would email her ideas for custom cakes, she said. Her plan now is to open up cake orders about a month in advance. She’s revamped her website to make the ordering process more streamlined and user friendly, she said.

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Chatterton’s pastries are wildly delicious, but they’re also artfully decorated in a distinct style with vibrant colors and patterns. When a customer wanted a custom intergalactic Lisa Frank cake, Chatterton delivered.

Courtesy of Flake Baby Pastry

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Feel pretty blasé about an upcoming birthday? Chatterton can make a succulent cake that looks the way you feel.

Flake Baby Pastry

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She told me in a 2022 feature for the Arkansas Times that some of her previous custom requests were from people who liked her style and asked her to do whatever she wanted.

Courtesy of Flake Baby Pastry
Flake Baby cake

She described her cakes as bright, fun, textural and quirky with swirls of color, sweeping shapes and fresh florals. It’s food, but it’s also art, and she said baking items for customers’ birthdays and anniversaries is something she’s missed.

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Courtesy of Flake Baby Pastry
Flake Baby cake

“It is so cool to be a part of people’s special occasions and make something that they’re gonna remember for a long time,” she said.

Courtesy of Flake Baby Pastry
Flake Baby cake

And after years of avoiding it, she plans to finally delve into the lucrative world of wedding cakes. The responsibility and pressure of delivering something that could potentially spoil someone’s special day is stressful, she said, but this time around she feels oddly calm and excited about the undertaking. She’s had some practice baking cakes for friends’ weddings, and she’s purchasing a Flake Baby-specific fridge for cake storage. These days, she said, she feels more regimented and prepared for the endeavor.

“I feel like everything that I learned through my role at The Bagel Shop — where I was waking up at five in the morning, sometimes getting there at 5 a.m. every day — proved to myself that I am capable of that structure and that I actually thrive in it,” Chatterton said.

And she plans on being selective about what she’ll take on. Plenty of other talented bakers can make traditional white wedding cakes with smooth sides.

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Courtesy of Flake Baby Pastry
Flake Baby cake

Chatterton is still going to make flakes, but the focus will be on cakes, she said. She said people will be able to order custom flakes, and she will likely do fun, rotating monthly flake specials.

Chatterton said she sometimes thinks about the recurring line “There’s always money in the banana stand” from the quirky oddball comedy television show “Arrested Development.”

“The banana stand is just this thing in the family where they sell chocolate covered bananas at the pier or whatever,” Chatterton said. “I think of it like there’s always money at Flake Baby because I’ve proven to myself that I can do the grind or whatever I need to make it work.”

Chatterton said this time around she’s prioritizing her health, sanity and well being.

“Before I was closer to the bottom of the totem pole,” she said, “but I have a better routine of waking up early, going to the gym, and I think it’s really going to reflect in the work that I do.”

Orders are now open on Chatterton’s website. You can follow her shop for updates on Instagram and Facebook.

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