Monarch Bakery Takes Home Gold, Silver, and Bronze at Fresh-Ex Cake Decorating Competition in Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Monarch Bakery, a family-owned and operated bakery located in Rockford, Michigan, is proud to announce that their lead cake decorator, Shelley Shearer, has received a gold medal for Candy Dreams, a silver medal for Out of the Box, and a bronze medal for the Realism category at the Fresh-Ex cake decorating competition held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The Fresh-Ex competition is an annual event that brings together some of the best cake decorators from around the country to showcase their skills and creativity. This year’s competition saw a high level of competition, with many talented decorators vying for top honors in the three categories of Candy Dreams, Out of the Box, and Realism.

Monarch Bakery was the only company to compete in all three categories, and the team put in countless hours of hard work and dedication to create stunning and innovative designs that wowed the judges and the audience alike. The gold medal for Candy Dreams was awarded for an imaginative and playful cake that was inspired by the whimsical world of candy, while the silver medal for Out of the Box was earned for a cake that pushed the boundaries of traditional cake design. The bronze medal for Realism was awarded for a cake that was so lifelike it was hard to believe it was made entirely of sugar and frosting.

Abigail and Ben Stratton, the owners of Monarch Bakery, are thrilled with Shelley’s performance at the Fresh-Ex competition. “We are so proud of Shelley and the entire Monarch Bakery team for their incredible work and dedication,” said Abigail. “They put their hearts and souls into every cake they make, and it’s wonderful to see their hard work recognized in this way.”

Monarch Bakery has been serving the Rockford community since 2019, offering a wide variety of cakes, cupcakes, pastries, and other baked goods. The bakery is known for its delicious flavors and beautiful designs, and Shelley’s success at the Fresh-Ex competition is a testament to the bakery’s commitment to excellence and innovation.


Monarch Butterflies and Milkweed

Help Save the Monarch Butterflies!

As you may have recently heard, the Monarch Butterfly was officially designated as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. There are a number of contributing factors causing the Monarch’s to become endangered, the primary reason being climate change. Climate change has significantly impacted the migration of the Monarch. Droughts limit the growth of milkweed and the increase in frequency of extreme weather conditions directly cause the decreasing number of Monarch’s.

So what can you do to help save the Monarch Butterflies? Studies show that bringing awareness and education around the topic is the best place to start. Next, getting directly involved by planting milkweed stems and other abundant nectar resources to help aid in the Monarch’s migration is key. That is why Monarch Bakery is partnering with the Monarch Joint Venture to help spread awareness and education. Additionally, Monarch Bakery is going to donate $1 from every Monarch Cupcake sold in the month of August to the Monarch Joint Venture.

Stop by the bakery this month to pickup information, learn more about the Monarch Butterfly and support the cause by planting milkweed, spreading awareness, or by eating the Monarch Cupcake!

Please Join Us Sat. Jan 8 for Our Grand Opening!

Monarch is Baking a Name For Itself:

Monarch Bakery is set to open its doors Saturday, Jan 8, at 10 a.m., and promises to be a new culinary crown jewel in Rockford’s eclectic downtown. The storefront is the culmination of the delicious dreams of an artistic young pastry chef named Abbie Stratton and her business-savvy husband Ben. The couple took over the former Kimberly’s boutique location late last summer and began transforming it into a mecca where traditional pastry and vegan treats meet. A hit at local farmers markets for the last three years, Monarch has made a name for itself for everything from its French Macarons to vegan chocolate croissants. Catering to corporate events, weddings, and family functions, the team is able to make sure folks with dietary restrictions have equally delightful options.

Stratton first realized the scarcity of vegan and gluten-free pastry options through a college friend.

“Through helping her out, I learned what a difficult time people who are vegan or have egg or dairy allergies have trying to get baked goods, especially ones that taste so good you can’t tell the difference,” Stratton said.

Despite the challenges of construction during the COVID pandemic and associated material and labor shortages, team Monarch is getting ready to take flight in the New Year. That’s just in time to ease into winter with a range of traditional comfort treats from scones to warm apple pie or hot cocoa bombs. Folks with dietary restrictions can celebrate 2022 with access to delectable options as well.

When asked her secret for her taste-alike treats, Stratton said:

“It’s the quality of the product you use. When making vegan items I buy the best ingredients and I put the research into what I do.”

Likewise, she says patience is the key to making the perfect French Macaron.

“You can’t rush the process. You need to let the shells rest; you need to let each step take the time it needs, even if you hate waiting!”

Stratton’s attention to detail is evident in her confections that look (and taste) like something from a fairy tale. She decided to study baking and pastry to put her artistic background to work. The attention to detail has won the hearts of many brides and corporate planners who want the details of dessert tables to reflect great taste.

Monarch will be offering a rotation of daily pastries at its “stop-and-shop” counter as well as special order cakes, pies, or creative dessert packages for home celebrations or corporate events and weddings. Gift boxes of French Macarons – with 73 flavors – and Hot Cocoa Bombs are also available by order.

“The joy for us is knowing that not only can we make someone’s day, occasion, or event extra special with traditional pastry, but that we can also help people with dietary restrictions be included in the enjoyment,” Stratton said.

“Just knowing they can count on someone to take their dietary restrictions into account and still have something great means so much to them.”

Stop by Monarch Bakery at 54 Courtland St., Rockford MI. Hours are Tues – Sat 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Or visit our menu page!

Introducing: Vegan French Macarons – And a Brief History of the Culinary Treat!

Chef Abbie has been at it again! After a year of trial and error, she has introduced that rarest of pastries — The Vegan French Macaron! We’ll let you be the judge in your own personal taste test, but Vegan French Macarons have quickly become fan favorites at Monarch!

Macaroon – Macaron – What’s the Difference?

We also create Vegan Coconut Macaroon, which is entirely different than a Macaron. Macaroons are small coconut haystacks and are often drizzled with chocolate. Macarons are elegant little sandwiches that are made with meringue, almond flour, and filling.

The Origins of the French Macaron is Not So French!

Macarons are one of the most treasured desserts in France. The French have elevated these meringue-based sweets to a near art form. So, it’s a bit of a surprise to learn that this delicacy did not originate in France!

Vegan Pastry Options in Greater Grand Rapids Area

There are various methods to make particular types of pastry, and some can be quite tricky. Pastry dough recipes form the basis of a diverse range of treats: from croissants to croquembouche, éclairs to empanadas. Traditional pastries typically include animal fat or its derivatives, flour (traditionally sourced from wheat), eggs and water.

Vegans, or those seeking to follow a vegan diet, do not need to go through life without tucking into the many delights available in the pastry universe. Instead, Monarch has honed its specialty baking by replacing the few non-vegan ingredients mentioned above with vegan-friendly options.

The Rockford Farm Market

Monarch has been a regular vendor at the Rockford Farm Market for the last several years. We enjoy the ambiance and the network of local vendors who turn out each Saturday morning to share their wares. If you’re looking for something unique to do on Saturday mornings between 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. May thru October, check it out, and stop by to say hi! The Rockford Farm Market is located in the South Squires St. parking lot off of Main St.

For updates, visit: Rockford Farmers’ Market Facebook Page