At The Table With: Bianca Dodson, Creator of Lenox Bakery
Ask professional baker and mother of two Bianca Dodson—aka Lenox Bakery—about the secret ingredient that goes into each and every one of her recipes, and she’ll tell you: it really is love.
“Baking is my way of showing others in my life that I care about them. Anytime I know we need a little pick-me-up in the house, I’ll whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies or brownies and all seems right in the world just for a moment.”
A native of Detroit, Bianca moved to Virginia when she was 8, where she now resides with her partner, Jeremy; their two kids, Jeremy Jr. and Marley; and two fur babies, Lady and Deuce. And while she may call Old Dominion home now, it’s her Midwestern roots that turned her into the baker she is today.
“I come from a really big family filled with lots of aunts, uncles and a bunch of cousins. Some of my fondest memories growing up are centered around food and family. I loved seeing my mom and her sisters in the kitchen helping prepare a meal, talking, laughing and occasionally bickering about how they would’ve prepared a certain dish.
Taking that first bite of food just felt like a warm hug. You knew lots of love went into each dish. That’s something that I try to replicate and strive for with my recipes. I’m big on helping anyone create a beautiful yet easy dessert that they can share with their loved ones. I want someone to make these desserts for their family or friends and for them to feel like a lot of love and thought went into that dessert.”
“Beautiful, yet easy” desserts are exactly Bianca’s forte. Whether she’s artfully styling one of her stunning Bundt cakes or serving her drool-worthy peach cobbler-inspired French toast, she’s doing it with one person at the center of it all: her grandmother.
“When I was younger, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. She also had a serious sweet tooth and loved baking. She made the best cakes and pies and I’d always wanted to help…I always admired how she had no recipe, no measuring cups—yet the recipe turned out perfect each and every time. She showed me that baking doesn’t need to be complicated.”
After all, Grandma knows best. In fact, when asked for a tip or trick to share with our readers, Bianca’s advice echoed her grandmother’s: “Just have fun with it and don’t overcomplicate things!”
But it’s not just her natural affinity for baking or her sweet tooth that Bianca inherited from her grandmother. The name of website and her Instagram handle, Lenox Bakery, is inspired by the woman herself.
“My blog is named after the street my entire family grew up on in Detroit, MI: Lenox St.
My widowed grandmother and her 10 children moved into that house in the early 70s. My entire family grew up there, and it’s somewhere that’s near and dear to all our hearts. What better name to give my blog than the place where I developed my love of sweets and where I learned to bake.”
Today, that street and that home has turned into an online presence that has amassed over 11,000 followers on Instagram and a website where she inspires readers with the likes of dipped ice cream bars, hot chocolate cheesecake and birthday cake inspired blondies.
And if even just one person makes one of her recipes—for Bianca, that’s what it’s all about.
“I’m so very grateful and thankful for every single person that supports me on IG [sic] and my blog. One of the things that brings me the greatest joy is seeing someone create one of my recipes. With so many other recipes they could’ve chosen from, it makes me feel good that my recipe is the one they decided on. It truly warms my heart and it’s what makes me keep going.”
But even with all that love baked into each and every recipe, Bianca will admit, it’s not always sunshine and roses.
“Being a Black creator, I feel like I’ve had to work twice as hard as non-Black creators for way less pay.
I’ve worked with brands that I later felt truly didn’t value me, but rather, what I could provide for them while offering very little compensation for an extensive list of deliverables.
After a few bad experiences, I only work with brands that are truly inclusive and see the value of working with me and my brand. I see you Sur La Table.”
It’s those negative experiences that highlight the difficulties of being a Black or BIPOC creator in the fast-paced, ever-changing and often cutthroat landscape of content creation. And, as Bianca explains, all the more reason to honor those who’ve paved the way for creators like her to have a voice today.
“I think it’s so important to remember those who fought and continue to fight for equality for all. Although we highlight and celebrate the contributions of African Americans throughout history during Black History Month, it’s important that we also highlight them throughout the year as Black history is American history.”
In fact, if she could choose, Bianca explained that she’d jump at the chance to sit down with some of those history makers. When asked if she could host a dinner party with any 5 people, living or dead, there was no hesitation:
“I would invite Harriet Tubman. The amount of stories she’d have would be incredible to hear.
Next on the guest list would be President Obama and Former First Lady Michelle Obama. I’d love to get an inside look at their time in the White House and their journey for the White House. Next on the list would be my grandmother, I’d love to have one more dinner with her!”
As for the final guest on her list?
“Lastly, I’d invite Adele so she could serenade us with her beautiful voice.”
Whaddya say, Adele? Trade a song or two for a bite of Bianca’s decadent Milk & Honey Loaf Cake?
Hungry for more? You can explore some of Bianca’s recipes in our recipe library or head over to her website, Lenox Bakery, for her full collection of delectable eats and sweet treats.