Nominate Someone to Take a "Cake Walk" with Sparkt
Nominate someone as Sparkt teams up with Oakmont Bakery to surprise people with birthday cakes and their trademark "donut on steroids" paczki!
Oakmont Bakery is known for some of the most delicious and unique baked goods in the region, and now they're helping Sparkt out with some Random Acts of Kindness we're calling Sparkt's "Cake Walk." "You love doing this don't you?" Marty asked bakery founder and owner Marc Serrao. A smiling Marc agreed. "I love doing this."
Marty and Marc's first RAK will be surprising people with birthday cakes. If you know someone who is especially deserving of a cake, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and Marty just might show up at your house with one of Oakmont Bakery's best.
The two friends are also teaming up to surprise people with the bakery's signature paczki (pronounced: poonch-kee), a glazed and filled pastry that Mark calls a "donut on steroids."
"We're going to be stopping you on the streets, randomly at first," explained Marty about how he plans to distribute the paczki. "And then you're going to tell me who deserves a paczki celebration" by e-mailing your nomination to email@example.com. For now, watch as Marty goes behind the scenes to see how these delicacies are made.
Marc says he first started making paczki about 25 years ago. The first time he made a couple dozen, he was amazed they sold out immediately. Fast forward, and the bakery sold 2000 of these delicacies on Sunday (January 6), this year's first day of production. He expects to sell upwards of 5000 a day as the start of Lent approaches.
The word paczki means "little package" in Polish. As Marc describes it, in olden times, this time of year the person who baked in a family would make small dough balls, fry them, and fill them with every last sweet in the house, like jams and jellies. That way there would be nothing sweet in the house to tempt the family during Lent.
We watched as bakers rolled the dough into balls and "proofed" them in a steam box. "It's a richer dough, it's a heavier dough," explained Marc. "The reason it has to be heavier is that it holds a lot more filling than a donut. If we put a fruit filling or a heavy filling like that it would go through the donut."
Next the dough balls are carefully fried to a golden brown. "You fry the bottom first and let it get a nice color," explained Tucker, a baker at Oakmont Bakery. "Flip it over and you want the same color. 30 to 40 seconds."
Then it's on to the vat of glaze, 150 pounds of sugar, honey and other secret ingredients. Finally, a baker injects the filling, one of 16 flavors. "The most popular are Pittsburgh Creme, a butter creme, and cherry," Marc told us. Each paczki is hand made. "We have such a good system down that we can knock out a thousand in 2 hours," said Tony, Marc's son and partner in the bakery.
You can nominate someone or a group of people to be recipients of a birthday cake, or some delicious paczki, delivered by Marty. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us their story.
"I love to be kind and generous. I think it all comes back to you," Marc Serrao, Oakmont Bakery
Did you know the bakery is about to move into a new, 19,000+ square foot facility at the Oakmont end of the Hulton Bridge? Marty got a chance to tour inside there too, so watch for that story in the coming days.