Cinco De Mayo Sugar Rush

Story and Photos by Cynthia Cheng

When Santa Clara resident Mimi Young was a child, her mother refused to buy her an Easy-Bake Oven. Young’s mother explained that if she really wanted to bake, she needed to use a real oven. So Young has been an authentic baker since she was about eight years old. Today Young is the Executive Pastry Chef of Justin’s Catering & Event Productions and the brains behind the monthly pop up Bake Sale at Justin’s Venue of Santa Clara (at 1285 Homestead Rd.), with the most recent event held on May 5.

“This weekend is our second bake sale; the success of the first bake sale came from word of mouth,” Young said. “My boss, Justin Perez, lets me have my creative freedom. I’ve been in the food industry for about 25 years. My forte is retro American comfort desserts. We don’t use the venue unless it’s being rented out. We’ve done weddings, graduation parties, anniversary parties and corporate events at Justin’s Venue. This bake sale is a good way to get people through the door. It’s deeply satisfying to see people lining up for baked goods.”


Indeed, during the morning of the bake sale, a line of hungry customers spread out through Justin’s Venue to purchase freshly baked goods. Mexican-inspired blankets and cut out banners enhanced the counters where Young’s assistants waited on customers. After studying the 16 items on the menu and surveying the treats, customers placed their orders.

Today’s bake sale offered a number of items recognizing the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. A serving of tres leches cake, topped with shards of coconut and filled with sweet custard, came in a handy Mason jar.  The cinnamon donut muffinette, fitting snugly in the palm of the hand, channeled the texture of buttermilk cake muffins and the flavor of churros. Satisfyingly chewy was the cookie sandwich with a bright and festive confetti design.

“From the first bake sale, I discovered there are things people really like,” Young said. “There are things that deserve a repeat performance such as the sticky buns, the cinnamon rolls, the savory rolls and also the pink guava passion crème cake.”

Another melt-in-your-mouth ensemble was the s’more brownie, which came with a layer of sticky toasted marshmallow on top of a rich chocolate brownie with crunchy graham cracker bits.

A zesty lemon frosting was spread over the crispy pop tart with the blueberry filling.

And the bacon cheddar roll should satisfy those with a palette for the savory.

“I just bought three blueberry lemon pop tarts, a confetti cookie sandwich, a cinnamon roll, a spinach mushroom roll and a slice of key lime margarita cheesecake,” said customer Hailey Smith. “I bought the margarita cheesecake because it’s Cinco de Mayo. The other ones, I got because they look delicious.”

Visit www.facebook.com/JustinsCatering/ for details on when the next Bake Sale at Justin’s Venue will be in June.