Amid the Latin candies that clutter the checkout counter at Old Fourth Ward’s LottaFrutta lie a few pristine wrapped handmade pastries: perfectly formed Pop-Tarts and mini chocolate chip cookie “chipwiches.” The treats are the handiwork of Ashley Sue Holtzclaw, founder of Ashley Sue’s Baked Goods, based out of Rex, Georgia—about twenty miles southeast of Atlanta.
Holtzclaw studied at the Art Institute of Atlanta and worked under Chrysta Poulos (then pastry chef at 4th & Swift) and at the Candler Street Market before branching out on her own three years ago. “Growing up, my grandma and great grandma were always baking,” she says. “I have a knack for nostalgic junk food.”
She makes more than 100 Pop-Tarts a week in seasonal flavors like strawberry, blueberry, peach, pumpkin, and cranberry. Mini chipwiches, Hostess-style cupcakes, hand pies, Nutella brownies, red velvet cheesecake brownies, oatmeal cream pies, and Funfetti Oreo blondies are also in her repertoire. And if that wasn’t enough, she makes wedding cakes, flourless brownies, and vegan donuts, too.
While she does take special orders as time allows, she says 90 percent of her business is wholesale. You can find her goodies at Lotta Frutta, Candler Park Market, Home Grown GA, Hodgepodge, and Community Grounds, among other locations.
She’s currently looking for space for a retail spot where people could enjoy coffee and dessert. We spoke to Holtzclaw about some of the more unique aspects of her business.
What is your relationship with Cult Carts? I know they have a cart with your Pop-Tarts.
I met Mandy at a Woodlands Gardens event in 2015 and we fell in love with each other! We have a strong friendship that is based on an upbeat enthusiastic work ethic and strong desire to build up women, especially other entrepreneurs. We often collaborate, work out together, and have play dates with our daughters.
You mentioned that you have a knack for junk food. How do you decide what to make next?
I do love junk food. I often look at what I was interested with as a child and go from there. Experimenting used to be relatively easy, but now that I’m so busy, I don’t get to do it as often. I am planning creating on another faux Little Debbie snack soon!
How did you learn to make Pop-Tarts?
[I saw them] pop up on social media and thought, I can do that! I already had a killer pie dough recipe, so I started with that. The fillings are tricky though. They have to be the right consistency as to not ooze out of the Pop-Tart, so there’s been a lot of trial and error with that.
Judging from your Instagram, it looks like you let people commission interesting cookie cakes. How does that work? What’s the most unique one you’ve done?
I do love a great cookie cake, especially ones with messages. I mean, what better way to quit a job than to leave them with a cookie cake that says “bye bitches.” That’s probably one of the most unique.
Which festivals and makers events do you sell at?
I don’t do farmers markets but I do vend at every Atlanta Roller Girls Derby every month, and I also try to do almost every Indie Craft Experience market they put on and any of craft/makers event I can fit into my schedule. I did the Meet the Makers fest in Ormewood Park this past Saturday, and it was amazing.