When New Yorkers moved to Stamford, they didn’t just buy homes and settle down. They started opening businesses, too. Take the newly opened Nora’s Ovenworks (norasovenworks.com), a full-service bakery, in Ridgeway Shopping Center that comes here via Westchester.
It has all your favorites, from custom cakes and baguettes to cupcakes and pastries, and founder Nora Brunnett and her team make all of the offerings from scratch.
She started baking as a girl, learning from the best. “On Sundays I watched my grandmother bake as she shared stories, so that now the two are intertwined,” she says.
Nora didn’t think to turn pro until 2012 when PTA was trying to run a fundraiser. Nora stepped in but needed help, so she struck a bargain—if another mom helped with the fundraiser, she would run her first 5K. Nora felt so great at the finish line, she later followed up with a half marathon, and, through her baking, also raised money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of her grandmother.
Word spread, and she started getting orders. Within two years, she was making lots of cakes for celebrations—enough that she could open her own place: Nora’s Ovenworks.
Now she has space to do all of the creative baking that she wants as well as the opportunity to share it with the next generation of bakers. She runs classes for both kids and adults as well as birthday parties (on-site and virtual) and camps. A birthday party includes a personalized apron for the birthday child and cake and pizza for the guests as well as baking fun. For example, the Artist Alley Cake Decorating Party lets up to ten children decorate their own cakes, and The Cupcake Wars Party brings out the fun side of competition. There are plenty of options for small-batch festivities.
Nora also inspires the up-and-comers through summer camps, such as the July 26 Summer Camp for Films, Fondant and Frosting, to mix a love of movies and cake decorating, and the August 23 Fondant Gardens Camp to make cupcakes that look like little succulent gardens. But, again, there are plenty of options.
Shoppers should also know that the shops sells jam made with fresh Connecticut fruit.
Read on for what this local baker shared about business.
Why did you move to Stamford?
“My family lives in Stamford and we really love it. It’s big enough to have a lot of choices in places to go, but not so big that you don’t know your neighbors. It reminds me of the city where I grew up.”
What made you leave your first location?
“We outgrew our bakery in Harrison. We were limited to how much we could showcase because of space and we were only able to accommodate parties of eighteen. We were turning people away for larger parties and summer camps. We offer eight different weeks of summer camps, one-time monthly classes, and weekly class sessions in the fall. I hated turning away kids who want to learn. It feels like a crime, like cold cake.”
And Stamford was the right fit?
“We looked for over a year and kept coming back to Stamford. So, finally, in February 2020 we signed the lease and got the keys for Ridgeway on March 6. It’s been a process opening, but the City of Stamford was very supportive in helping us through it. We now have the space to showcase all of the yummy treats. Every recipe is our family’s recipe or recipes we have tweaked and made our own. From Grandma’s turtles, to Aunt Doris’s honey wheat bread, to great-gram’s brownies and suggestions from customers—we take requests. We bake everything here on site from scratch. We also do an annual baking competition, Thanksgiving Paint Night, gingerbread building with Santa visits, classes and so much more.”
What’s the secret to your baking?
“At Nora’s Ovenworks, all recipes are family recipes or tweaked finds with a little love added and made our own. We use all the freshest ingredients possible. My grandma shared her passion for baking with me and I love sharing it with any baker willing to learn.”
“Food is my passion. My heart goes into everything we serve. Food binds us together as humans. We all need food. It connects us, tells our stories, lets us explore new paths and brings us to the table. Plus, we all eat so we should all know how to bake.”