Like many great bakers, Taylor Harrington posted her favorite creations on Instagram.
Soon, people began asking where they could buy her muffins and cookies. They wondered if she delivered.
She’s still only in high school (though she graduates this month). So Taylor jokingly created an Instagram location — and called it “My Nonexistent Bakery.”
So you won’t find a physical site for Taylor’s fantastic goods. But you will see clever captions online. Her brownies are “Richer than Bill Gates,” for example. And when she whips up pancakes, she writes, “I love spending time with my Aunt Jemima.”
(Note: Taylor is as good a photographer as she is a baker.)
She is also an energetic, ever-smiling and very talented young woman. A lifelong Westporter, her activities include the Staples newspaper Inklings; Best Buddies (working with students with disabilities); National Charity League, and soccer.
But baking is her biggest passion.
From a young age, Taylor baked with her mother. A couple of years ago, Taylor began adapting recipes, developing her own style. Her mother was pleased — and so, even more so, were her 3 younger brothers.
Taylor watched cooking shows (including “Cupcake Wars”). She visited Carlo’s Bakery. She was on her way.
Taylor calls her style “big.” Her cupcakes overflow out of their pans. Her cookies are large.
She is also into mason jars. The other day, she stacked a strawberry shortcake into one.
A good baker needs patience, Taylor says. “It takes more than 1 try to get something right.”
Even chocolate chip cookies are not easy. Her recipe includes melted butter — so the chips melt easily — and that demands care.
Taylor is particularly proud of her “slutty brownies” (chocolate chip cookie dough on the bottom, Oreos, then brownies on top). “They take forever to make,” Taylor says. But — their odd name notwithstanding — they are fantastic.
Of course, Taylor has had failures. A 4-layer cake with vanilla and raspberry puree collapsed. That was especially upsetting because it was her birthday.
But her successes far outweigh those calamities. Taylor would be a popular girl anyway, but her friends look forward to whatever she brings, to any event. (She asked her boyfriend to the Red and White dance by baking red and white cookies.)
“I never felt like baking was a job,” she says. “It’s helped me relax and calm down. It’s given me time with my mom, and time alone.”
Taylor’s next challenge is “figuring out how to bake in college.” She’s headed to Penn State, and is already figuring how to make cakes in a microwave mug.