Interviewed by Leslie Criss | Photographed by Joe Worthem
Lois Virginia Washington Jones of Vardaman is a longtime baker whose cakes are well appreciated by friends and neighbors. Her coconut and caramel cakes are among her most popular, but she can also design and decorate a fondant creation that looks too amazing to eat. Jones also teaches sewing through the “You Can Make It” program, and the 59-year-old also recently learned to drive an 18-wheeler.
Q: When and how did you learn to bake?
A: I have always loved to bake. My mom and both grandmothers, also my mother-in-love were great bakers and cooks. I learned 90% of what I know from watching them. They made the most amazing food you could ever imagine.
Q: Do you follow recipes to the letter, or do you experiment with new ingredients?
A: I have a few basic recipes that I always follow to the letter. This you must have to keep a certain level of organization. But I also have a few recipes that lend themselves to creativity, additions here and subtracting there. These too are very necessary in baking.
Q: Where did you learn to decorate the amazing cakes you do?
A: As a person who loves a challenge, I saw my first fondant cake and was so amazed I decided I would learn. And through trial and many errors I have created many interesting and unique cakes. I give God all the glory for any success I have accomplished. I totally lean on the Holy Spirit for guidance in everything I do.
Q: Do you have a favorite cake to make?
A: I don’t have a favorite cake — unless you count the ones that my clients appreciate. Those are the ones that bring me the most joy. Birthday cakes are the most popular. (Clients) love my 3- to 5-day coconut cake. It’s a super moist coconut cake that has to be made 3 to 5 days ahead for ultimate flavor.
Q: Have you ever had a baking disaster?
A: A few! That’s why I no longer deliver cakes... I have even been so excited about an order that I made it a week before it was due. That only happened once. Once was enough.