Episode 3 December 9, 2019

Tres Leches Cake with Olga Perez and Jodi Rhoden

Have you ever been in the kitchen with your bestie? The magic of two friends baking together makes everything sweeter, especially for Olga Perez, the owner of Short Street Cakes in Asheville, North Carolina. In this episode, Olga makes tres leches cake with Jodi Rhoden, her close friend and former owner of the cake shop. As they bake, Olga and Jodi remember the joys and struggles of running the bakery and raising their kids in a sugar-fueled dream world.

Short Street Cakes

Recipe for Olga’s tres leches is in Cake Ladies by Jodi Rhoden. Tag us if you bake it!


Jen Nathan Orris 0:05
This is Skillet, the podcast where we cook together and listen to each other. I’m Jen Nathan Oris. Here on Skillet, we take you into the homes of chefs, bakers and everyday cooks. We ask them to pick a dish that brings back memories, and while we cook, we talk about what comes up. The conversations are usually personal, oftentimes political, and sometimes they’re a way to capture the love between two people. I want you to meet two bakers who found friendship and empowerment through cake. Olga Perez is the owner of Short Street Cakes, an iconic bakery in Asheville, North Carolina. She sells classic Southern cakes like sweet potato spice, Georgia Hummingbird cake with pineapple and pecans, plus plenty of birthday and wedding cakes. But if you ask Olga about her family’s favorite dessert, she’ll tell you about her grandmother’s tres leches cake As it turns out Olga’s path to owning the bakery actually started with this cake. At the time Short Street Cakes was owned by its founder, baker and writer Jodi Rhoden, who you’ll also meet in this episode. Olga was a longtime employee, and when it was time for Jodi to pass the bakery on to its next owner, Olga stepped up to carry on the legacy. Tres leches cake has fueled their friendship since the beginning, so I wanted to hear more about this cake and how Olga and Jodi use baking to build economic, political,and social power for themselves and their families. So I went over to Jodi’s house to bake with her and Olga.

[footsteps] [knock] [door open]

Jodi Rhoden 1:37
Hello, Welcome!

Jen Nathan Orris 1:47
I’ve known Jodi for years and I was really excited to meet Olga for the first time.

Olga Perez 1:54
Hi, nice to meet you.

Jen Nathan Orris 1:56
Before we jump into the baking, I wanted to share just a little background on tres leches cake. Tres leches is a Latin American cake that gets its name from the three milks that are poured into it. When the cake is still a little warm, you use a skewer to poke holes into it and pour it in evaporated, condensed, and whole milk. The cake becomes rich and spongy and just saturated with sweetness. You can top it with whipped cream and whatever fruit you like for really creamy, decadent dessert. Olga will show you how she makes tres leches and talk about what the cake has meant to her and her family over the years. All the ingredients are out on the countertop, so let’s turn things over to Olga and Jodi.

Olga Perez 2:38
Hi, I’m Olga Perez,

Jodi Rhoden 2:40
and my name is Jodi Rhoden. And today we’re going to make

Olga Perez 2:44
tres leches cake [laugh]

Jen Nathan Orris 2:48
So who would like to introduce the ingredients?

Olga Perez 2:50
We have butter, sugar, and flour. A little bit of baking powder, mixing together the baking powder with the flour. Ad also we have the condensed milk and the evaporated milk and we also have whipped cream. I think pretty much that’s it.

I’m from Mexico, a small town called Hidalgo, Mexico. I have three brothers, two brothers, one sister. A small family.

Jen Nathan Orris 3:38
Was food a big part of your life growing up?

Olga Perez 3:40
Well, yeah, my mom is really good at cooking and also she showed me how to do the tres leches cake, my grandma’s recipe, almost every year when one of my brothers or me have our birthday, my mom always make this special cake for us. It’s just like you’re waiting for somebody’s birthday for my mom to make this delicious cake. It’s like heaven, like, just like the sweetest thing and like, I don’t know how to explain it. They were like really special to us.

Jen Nathan Orris 4:23
So when did you make it for yourself for the first time?

Olga Perez 4:25
Well I take classes on high school because they gave me the choice to have science class or baking classes. Like I go for the easy way.

Jen Nathan Orris 4:39
And I would say that baking is a lot of science and really hard.

Olga Perez 4:43
Yeah,it’s really hard to do it. Well, at those times we don’t have a mixer. So we have to do it everything by hand. That is more delicious. I think they have like a special taste with it.

Jodi Rhoden 5:01
Including the whipped cream?

Olga Perez 5:02
Yeah, the whipped cream all by hand. Yeah.

Jen Nathan Orris 5:05

Olga Perez 5:06
So ust having like cooking classes, and they teach us how to kind of cook and how to make desserts. So in this why is it interesting to make my mom’s recipe. So on the weekends or something like that I made myself a tres leches cake. So just asked my mom to buy me the ingredients and just try to follow the recipe. And I think the first time came out really great, I did a really good job. So I just start doing it every time. I’m like, I want a tres leches cake.

And we mix their butter with the sugar. Just a little bit.

Unknown Speaker 6:00

Jodi Rhoden 6:00
One thing I learned about the tres leches cake is that it’s a the cake itself is a lot more dense than a normal pound cake or a different kind of layer cake. And it’s because it has to be really strong and sturdy to absorb all of the liquid.

Jen Nathan Orris 6:18
Well, Jodi, where did you grow up?

Jodi Rhoden 6:20
I grew up in Marietta, Georgia, outside of Atlanta. My family is all from Georgia for many, many generations. And so my mom grew up in Monroe outside of Athens, which is where I went to college. My dad actually grew up in Tallahassee, so very southern culture that I grew up in. Food was always extremely important. Baking was very central to my life, growing up cooking and, and really celebrating and serving the family and the community through food. I remember when my grandfather passed, which I was probably my early 20s. And he died right before Christmas like, days before Christmas. And my mom had to deal with arrangements for her dad’s funeral. And she basically was like, okay, you’re in charge of Christmas dinner. So I had to take over the whole meal and all the desserts and all the pies and all the, you know, everything. And at first, I thought it was kind of burdensome. But then once I was in it, and I was, you know, taking that day and a half, two days to make this giant meal for 20 people or however many people, I realized that I loved the role of being kind of like the queen of the kitchen and being able to kind of have my own purpose and role within the family in that space and in the home. And it felt really good to me to have to do something that was important and valued and valuable, while at the same time having a little bit of authority as well. And being able to sort of shape that.

Jen Nathan Orris 8:02
In many ways Jodi’s life has been guided by the idea of building power through food. She started her cake business out of her home as a way to increase her income and support her family. Olga started her baking career out of her home, too. After she took that high school baking class and Mexico, she became pregnant and didn’t have the support she needed to continue her education. She married her child’s father and followed him to the United States and eventually North Carolina. Olga had to figure out how to make her way in a new country with a young family. She wanted to go back to school, but baking was a way she could make money right away with resources she already had. So she started baking cakes at home, and people bought them for birthday parties and special occasions. Olga started building financial independence through baking. Olga and Jodi bonded over how baking has been a driving force in their life stories. Back when Jodi was researching her book, Cake Ladies

Jodi Rhoden 8:59
The thread that I was trying to tease out in Cake Ladies was about how women utilize these traditional feminine crafts, like baking, to build power: economic power and social power and political power. And that’s what I had experienced through the cake shop. And that’s what I see Olga doing now and all the women in the book.

Jen Nathan Orris 9:26
While Jody was writing the book, she traveled the back roads of the South, documenting the stories and recipes of women who are known for their cakes. Jodi met Olga through a mutual friend who raved about her tres leches. Olga and Jodi baked the cake together and their friendship unfolded from there

Olga Perez 9:42
When Jodi contact me for to be in her book. Yeah, I think we bake it together right? At my home.

Jodi Rhoden 9:53

Olga Perez 9:55
And yeah, we do it together and we ice it. Everything like we’re doing today.

Jodi Rhoden 10:02
Yeah, exactly. And Jasper was there and he was like five. Yeah. And Valerie was like two or three. Yeah. And now these are babies who are teenagers.

Jen Nathan Orris 10:18
So you to have a really long lasting friendship.

Olga Perez 10:21
Yeah. Yeah.

Jodi Rhoden 10:22
And I think we had that in common that we were both baking when we had young children at home, and using that as a way to help make ends meet. And to bring in a little extra income. Yeah. And so we have that in common as well. And I think when I met you, I was so inspired because I could see that how hard you were working to be the mom that you wanted to be to your kids to your daughters and also to grow your life and your dreams and your goals and to work towards those and Olga told me that she’s always wanted to be a baker and to have a cake shop even since she was a little girl. And so it felt like fate that we were brought together.

Unknown Speaker 11:09

Olga Perez 11:10
We’re going to start adding the eggs in just a minute, then scrape the bottom and continue to mix.

Unknown Speaker 11:32
[scraping bowl]

Olga Perez 11:33
Then Jodi will do the four.

Jodi Rhoden 11:35
OK. All right. Thanks my friend.

So do you do it incrementally or just all at once for this recipe?

Olga Perez 11:44
Just all at once

Jen Nathan Orris 11:48
You’re starting out pretty slow with the mixer after adding the flour.

Jodi Rhoden 11:51
That’s right. If you accidentally leave the mixer on 10 and then you turn it on after you put the four and then you have an experience that we call ghosting, which is when you get completely covered with flour and you’re all white like it ghost.

Jen Nathan Orris 12:04
Is that the real name for it? Like bakers say that?

Jodi Rhoden 12:06
I have no idea. That’s what we’ve always called it. Yeah.

Jen Nathan Orris 12:10
I love that. Alright, so just scraping the paddle a little bit, get everything Incorporated.

Jodi Rhoden 12:19
And then after you have the ghosting problem, then you then you’ll have sugar burgers, you go home from a shift that the cake shop in your nose is full of flour and sugar. It’s a real thing! So I’m going to pan them into these six inch tall pans that Olga brought. And I’m just sort of evenly dividing the batter between the two pans.

Jen Nathan Orris 12:45
The little pans are so cute, too

Jodi Rhoden 12:47
They’re beautiful and they’re nice and tall for weddings and they’re good for torting as well. So if you want to make a tall six inch layer and then you want to tort it, like cutting it in half horizontally, to make two layers from a single layer, this is a good pan do that as well.

Olga Perez 13:06
I learned from the best.

Jodi Rhoden 13:10
And there’s something about baking and cakes that is really healing as well. I feel like I’ve known a lot of people, myself included, we’ve kind of baked their way out of a dark place or a bad place, whether that be emotionally or economically. And there just seems to be something healing about about baking. And I think that’s kind of a universal experience.

Olga Perez 13:36
So we’re going to put the cake on the oven for about 20 minutes and we can check it out.

Jen Nathan Orris 13:51
The cake is in the oven and it’s starting to smell really good. While it bakes, we talk about how to make 40 pies in one weekend, and why cake does not need to be made from scratch to be nostalgic. Plus we hear from Jodi’s son about why growing up in a cake shop isn’t necessarily the sugar-fueled dream world you might imagine. Don’t go away. We’ll be right back.


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Welcome back to Skillet, a podcast about food and memory. I’m at baker Jodi Rhoden’s house in Asheville, North Carolina. We’re with Olga Perez, who’s showing us how to make the famous tres leches cake from her bakery Short Street Cakes. It’s Olga’s grandmother’s recipe. And even though Olga’s bakery specializes in elaborate wedding cakes and classic Southern desserts like red velvet cake, the tres leches is a hidden gem. The cake shop, with his pink and white striped awning, is a place that’s really important to Jodi, too. She founded the bakery and raised her son in the chaos of a busy bake shop. Now Olga is the owner and her daughters are learning how to decorate cakes and run a business. Olga and Jody first bonded over the tes leches cake, so that’s what they wanted to make today.

Jodi Rhoden 16:06
Okay, so we’re going to check the cake and it’s been in for about 30 minutes. It’s nicely browned.

Jen Nathan Orris 16:15
Oh they’re so pretty

Jodi Rhoden 16:16
But the test will be, they’re pretty tall, so we want to knife test them and just see if there’s any moisture.

Olga Perez 16:24
They’re perfect.

Jodi Rhoden 16:26
So we stuck a knife in it the knife came out clean, there’s a little bit of steam, but no batter. So we know that the cakes are done, so we’ll turn off the oven and let those cool.

Olga Perez 16:37
Yeah. You want the cake still a little bit warm to put the milk on it. So then you have to leave in the fridge or minimum like eight to 12 hours. So this is why we make this cake the day before and the next day you can start icing.

Jen Nathan Orris 16:57
it like Olga said, after you pour in all the milks, the cake still needs to sit overnight. So yesterday Olga baked a cake, let it cool little and then she poured in the evaporated, condensed, and whole milk.

Jodi Rhoden 17:10
It’s crazy the amount of milk that goes into soaking the cake, like you keep thinking, it’s not possible that the cake could absorb this much liquid and yet, and it’s like what ,three cups for the tres leches, so you’re pouring like just cups and cups of liquid into these the pans with the cake batter and then you cover them and refrigerate them overnight.

Unknown Speaker 17:31
[crinkle of powdered sugar bag.]

Jen Nathan Orris 17:31
And then in the morning, ice them with whipped cream.

Olga Perez 17:37
Heavy cream in the mixing bowl and then a little bit of powdered sugar.

Jen Nathan Orris 17:45
So you can eyeball that amount of powdered sugar, you just know.

Olga Perez 17:48
I mean, I don’t like too sweet.

Jodi Rhoden 17:50
Do you want a little bit of salt, too?

Olga Perez 17:53


So start mixing it for a few minutes.

My favorite thing about the tres leches is you can put whatever you want, like you can put like strawberries, blueberries, like any fresh fruit that you have at home, it’s going perfect with the tres leches, no matter what. Well one of the things I discovered a couple of years ago now is my mom always put the tres leches on the cake exactly like that. It’s really hard to take out when the cake is ready to ice. So now I put like a plastic wrap on the bottom. And this make it easy to take the cake out.

Jen Nathan Orris 18:46
I wish you could see Olga flip the cake upside down onto her hand and lift off the cake pan. The plastic wrap just peels right off and ta-da, the cake is free and she’s balancing it on her palm.

Oh my gosh, you’re so skilled at that. It was like it just like magically appeared on your hand like.

Jodi Rhoden 19:03
That made me nervous!

Jen Nathan Orris 19:05
Just like, wow. So here’s your top layer.

Olga Perez 19:09
So this is the top layer and I started putting a little bit of whipped cream between the layers.

Jen Nathan Orris 19:19
You’re so skilled and confident doing this,

Olga Perez 19:23
Oh yeah, I do this like every day.

Jen Nathan Orris 19:29
Oh my gosh, that is like the most perfect little layer of whipped cream I think I’ve ever seen in my life

Olga Perez 19:33
At this point that you can put whatever, like you can add a little bit of jam, or fresh fruit between the layers or just like that.

Jen Nathan Orris 19:43
This is just beautiful to watch. I love it.

Olga Perez 19:47
We always make like, like homemade style, we’re not too fancy.

Jen Nathan Orris 19:55
I mean, it looks very professional and sleek to me. So do people order this at the bakery?

Olga Perez 20:00
Yes, they order it all the time. It became one of the people’s favorite cakes.

Jodi Rhoden 20:07
Mm hmm. Are you doing a lot of pies, Olga, hese days?

Olga Perez 20:12
Yeah, yeah, we have to make 40 pies for this weekend.

Jen Nathan Orris 20:17
40 pies! Oh my gosh. You have a staff still right? Like you have a team you work with?

Olga Perez 20:26
Yes, we have. And also have my daughters and my husband with me at the cake shop and yes, we have people help us to do this.

Jen Nathan Orris 20:37
Yeah, I’m glad you’re not personally making 40 pies. I mean, I don’t know how a human could do that in one weekend.

Olga Perez 20:44
Well, it’s everything about teamwork. You know, you’re nothing if you don’t have your friends or people working together to do this job. It’s one of the things I learned from Jodi. So a really good team working together and nobody’s like, oh, I want to go home, nope, just chilling and working at the same time, talking about everything and laughing.

Jodi Rhoden 21:11
Yeah, at the cake shop, it’s like if someone was there that wasn’t willing to really super work hard and actually take on the same amount of work as everyone else and work together until everything was done, they didn’t last very long. The cake shop is sort of like a self correcting organism where like, if, you know, you just get rejected by the by the system if you weren’t willing to work really hard, and be a team player.

Olga Perez 21:39
So yeah, sometimes you have to work for 12 hours, 14 hours it seems like. It’s ok, we’re still here, we’re together, we’re working.

Jodi Rhoden 21:47
Get some tacos. We’re going to help each other out. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 21:50
[crinkle of powdered sugar bag]

Jodi Rhoden 21:51
I did a lot of baking with my grandmothers, both of whom were very rural, strong kind of farm wife women who I learned a lot of baking from. By the time I was coming up in the 80s both my grandmothers had switched over to store bought pastry and store bought pie filling and that was very liberating for them and they were really excited. So a lot of what I learned was, you know, store bought graham cracker crust with cool whip and blueberry pie filling and all these crazy elaborate kind of 70s store bought concoctions, but they were super amazing as well and really creative and interesting so that I didn’t necessarily learn a lot of the scratch methods that I got into later from my family but the essence of of it was what I learned from them.

Jen Nathan Orris 22:44
Yeah, makes me think of my grandmother’s cake that would make for Fourth of July, which was seriously just like some pound cake cut up with some cool whip some strawberries on top, but boy do I remember that cake, you know? And how special it was just that we have this occasion together. So funny. I mean, it’s totally from a box, not at all scratch, but it’s still has that emotional tie.

Jodi Rhoden 23:05
Exactly. Yeah.

Jen Nathan Orris 23:11
So you did some beautiful piping just then

Olga Perez 23:15
You can decorate with whatever you have at home. And we have strawberries, so we put this on top.

Jen Nathan Orris 23:26
Yeah, this looks really beautiful and special. And actually, this looks like my grandmother’s, like a very advanced version of my grandmother’s Fourth of July cake. The strawberries and the blueberries.

Olga Perez 23:39
Yeah, well, the cake is ready.

Jen Nathan Orris 23:43
So do we get to eat some?

Olga Perez 23:46

Jen Nathan Orris 23:48
I’m just like, drooling over this cake here.

Olga Perez 23:52
Waiting for the special moment to slice the cake.

Jen Nathan Orris 23:55
Yeah, well, you’ll have to slice it for us so we can have like a special moment when you slice the cake.

Olga Perez 24:00
Absolutely I can do that. It’s my favorite part.

Jen Nathan Orris 24:02
Is it really? Slicing the cake?

Unknown Speaker 24:03

Olga Perez 24:04
Oh yeah, it’s like, yes.

Unknown Speaker 24:06

Olga Perez 24:08
I think kids have a superhuman sense when it comes to cake. It’s like they know the moment the top turns golden brown or when the last swirl of icing has been piped. But I’m still surprised when Jodi’s 14 year old son Jasper ambles into the kitchen right as we’re about to slice.

Jodi Rhoden 24:30
Yay, Jasper. [laugh]

Jen Nathan Orris 24:32
Did you hear the cake sounds and come a-running? Is that what happened here?

Jasper Rhoden 24:36
Yeah. My mom’s owned a cake shop for many years. I know how it smells. I used to have to work in the shop for a long time. Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Jodi Rhoden 24:44
He grew up in the shop. You were What? 11 when we sold it.

Jasper Rhoden 24:49

Jodi Rhoden 24:50
But up until then, his elementary school was like a block away from the shop. So I would just walk, pick him up, and then we’d walk back to the cake shop and then do his homework in the shop and we’d go on to the bank and go do deliveries and we had kind of a routine. Yeah.

Jen Nathan Orris 25:09
Was that fun for you?

Jasper Rhoden 25:10
It was kind of boring.

We would also walk over here, that would take a long time.

Jodi Rhoden 25:17
A lot of walking around with West Asheville.

Jasper Rhoden 25:19

Jodi Rhoden 25:20
And did you say that your kids, your daughters help in the cake shop?

Olga Perez 25:23
Yeah, yeah. my two daughters. Amy, the oldest, is 16 years old and my middle daughter, Brenda, she’s 15, 15 years tomorrow.

Jen Nathan Orris 25:37
Oh my gosh!

Olga Perez 25:40
Yeah, and it’s like Jasper say, it’s nothing fun for the girls at those times. But now Amy and Brenda enjoying, like, so much doing cakes and help with people. And like, exactly like Jodi did with Jasper in the past. Just taking the kids, doing deliveries and do all the stuff now I’m doing it, I take my daughters to deliver their wedding cakes and all that stuff.

Jodi Rhoden 26:12
And your daughters are amazing artists and I’ve been seeing on Instagram like some of the designs that they’ve been doing. Hasn’t Brenda been doing cake designs?

Olga Perez 26:23

Jodi Rhoden 26:23
And Amy too, right?

Olga Perez 26:24
Yeah now we do, like my daughter Brenda really likes to draw. Now she draws all the designs on the cakes and then is when I do the second step with icing. So I finished the cakes.

Jen Nathan Orris 26:45
So your daughter who has a birthday tomorrow, what’s the cake?

Olga Perez 26:48
Tres leches obviously!

Jen Nathan Orris 26:51
Lucky her!

Olga Perez 26:52
Yeah, all my family loves the tres leches and I think anybody who try it, like, it becomes one of his favorite cakes.

Jasper Rhoden 27:02
It’s my favorite.

Jodi Rhoden 27:03
It’s your favorite, Jasper?

Jasper Rhoden 27:05
I love it. I’ve had that for my birthday, like, pretty much every time.

Jodi Rhoden 27:09
That’s what I was saying before. It’s like now that we know Olga, it’s your preferred birthday cake instead of me making a cake. And I’m okay with that.

Jen Nathan Orris 27:20
But life at the bakery isn’t always sweet. Olga and Jodi remember some really hard times, too.

Jodi Rhoden 27:27
I feel like in a way we kind of went through like some form of crazy battle together, been in the trenches, and went through a lot of different crews of people together and just different people passing through the cake shop working there. I think at the most we had 10 people working and there were some Saturdays where everyone was on shift, working together and you know, maybe sometimes the air conditioner would go out. And we had days that we would work non stop for two days. Through the night and into the next day and then running deliveries and just when you work together so closely with someone in those kinds of conditions you just become so close and we rely on each other so much and everyone else that has worked there, too. There’s been the most beautiful people that I’ve ever met in my life or people that were that worked at Short Street Cakes. So yeah, so that’s kind of how we came to be co-madres of the cake shop.

And then I started to feel like I needed to make a change, and probably 2014 or 2015 was when I was really starting to feel that I needed to make a shift. It had been 10 years at that point of doing the cakes, and I was sort of feeling like there are other parts of my life, like writing and travel, and maybe grad school and these other aspects that I wanted to pursue in my life, that I’ve been putting them on hold for so long that if I didn’t pursue them, then I would never get there. And so once that seed is sort of planted, it’s hard to ignore it. And then after about a year of kind of considering and trying to figure out how to grow or expand or do something different to free up my time, I recognize that I needed to actually move on and and sell the shop and not and let someone else take the lead. And so I announced that I was going to sell the business in I think it was around New Year’s of like the beginning of 2015. And so through that whole year, the business was for sale, and that was a really hard time because it was in limbo. A lot of people recommended that I not be public about wanting to sell it because people would think that we had closed, which a lot of people did. And so there was the scary couple months of brand confusion where a lot of people thought that the shop was closing and weren’t able to parse out the difference between for sale and closed. And so that was scary. But we came back from that it really only took a couple of months for that, but then there was a sense of fear that people had and disappointment and the uncertainty and not knowing who was going to be there. And would they be able to count on being you know, there’s people that we’ve made their wedding cakes, and then we made all their children’s birthday cakes, and we’ve made their cakes for 13 years now, and it’s important part of their lives. And so that was a scary time, and I almost gave up. And then right before I give up, Olga stepped up and said, I’m going to be the owner I’m going to take this on, and she was able to get a loan from Mountain BizWorks which was a real full circle because they had helped me start the business. So it was like the most perfect thing. It couldn’t have been any other way. And once everyone knew and found out that Olga was taking on the business, it was like everyone was so relieved. All the customers were relieved because they all know Olga and trusted her and it really felt so serendipitous and so really meant to be

Jen Nathan Orris 31:39
Yeah, what was it like for you, Olga?

Olga Perez 31:42
There was, like, really, like, really scary moments. Like, what about if I can do this? Like, at first I was like, really emotional because ’cause I really want to keep doing and, you know, like, just keep doing whatever Jodi is doing and just like, what if I’m not ready? What about all the things on my mind at the same time is like and also is like, yes you can do it. You know, you can do that, you can do this, you can do whatever. And then I remember when Jodi say like, oh, we’re gonna close and then I just remember I go to the bathroom wash my face is like, okay and just look myself in the mirror and like, yes, I can do this. So when Jodi sold the business to me, other people say like, oh, you changed the recipes. No. We’re still doing the same recipes. We still keep everything the same and try to get everything like when Jodi had the cake shop And yeah, we’re doing the same recipes.

Jodi Rhoden 33:03
I feel really honored to have been able to have that role for those 10 years. And the number of people who’ve let me and Olga into their lives in this way to provide this ritual and the ceremony of wedding cakes and birthday cakes and celebration cakes like that, to me feels like a really, really great honor. And so I’m extremely thankful of, of the people in this community that supported and still support Short Street Cakes and allowing us to be the people that we are today. I wouldn’t be who I am without that business and that place in the community. And I wouldn’t be able to be doing any of the things that I’m doing right now in my where I am creatively, where I am in my family, where I am in terms of stability, where I am in terms of the love that I have for my community. I wouldn’t have any of those things without the shop and without the community supporting that, and then to know that Olga is carrying on that legacy is such a great and deep honor and I’m really grateful.

Olga Perez 34:11
Thank you. It’s like you say, our people make us grow and make us better every time.


Definitely the best cake ever.

Jodi Rhoden 34:25
So good. So good. So delicious. Oh, I love you.

Olga Perez 34:29
I love you, too.

Jen Nathan Orris 34:31
Thank you both so much.

Olga Perez 34:33
Thank you.

Jodi Rhoden 34:33
Thank you, Jen.

Jen Nathan Orris 34:43
A big thank you to Olga Perez and Jodi Rhoden for the cake and conversation. If you’d like to make Olga’s tres leches cake, the recipe is in Jodi’s book, Cake Ladies. I love this book. It features the recipes and stories of 15 really interesting women from the Southeast. It’s kind of like an epic road trip with cake. And if your travels take you through Asheville, North Carolina or you’re a local like me, stop by Short Street Cakes for a cupcake, or to get a whole cake. There’s always a reason to celebrate. We have links to Olga’s cake shop and Jodi’s book in our show notes, and a link to our website, where you will find a transcript and behind the scenes photos of us baking in Jodi’s kitchen. While you’re checking those out, we would love it if you made a donation at www.skilletpodcast.com and it would be super helpful if you wrote a review in your podcast app or posted about Skillet on social media. We’re @skilletpodcast on Instagram. If you make Olga’s cake, be sure to tag us and we’ll share. And if you’re new to the show, hit subscribe so you don’t miss our next episode. Special thanks to story editor CA Carlson and digital producer Rich Orris.

Coming up next time on Skillet…

Siona Fisch 35:57
Can I taste?

Whitney Fisch 36:00
Yes, in just a moment. Tell me what you think it needs.

Siona Fisch 36:02

Whitney Fisch 36:04
Yes, exactly right.

Jen Nathan Orris 36:05
We cook Shabbat dinner with Whitney Fisch, a social worker and powerhouse behind the blog Jewhungry. The whole family is in the kitchen as she juggles pans of potatoes, a tray of chicken, and a blender full of pesto, all while sneaking in a few slower moments to teach her children how to enjoy food and honor traditions. We’ll be back in two weeks with the next episode of Skillet.