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Forest baker brings passion for pastries to farmers market, new storefront – Lynchburg News and Advance

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Sherwin Pilley talks to a customer in her bakery, Cakes and Pipers, in Forest on Wednesday. Pilley opened her bakery in the Forest Farmers Market last spring before recently opening her own storefront on Forest Road.
Sherwin Pilley removes sticky buns from the oven at her bakery, Cakes and Pipers, in Forest on Wednesday. Pilley hopes to open a Haitian and Dominican food truck selling savory menu items by the end of the year. 
Sherwin Pilley waves to a neighboring store owner through the front window while talking with a customer in her bakery, Cakes and Pipers, in Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022.
Sherwin Pilley boxes up treats for a customer at her bakery, Cakes and Pipers, in Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022.
Sherwin Pilley poses for a portrait in her bakery, Cakes and Pipers, in Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022.
Sherwin Pilley crumb-coats a chocolate cake at her bakery, Cakes and Pipers, in Forest on Wednesday. Pilley sells a variety of cakes and pastries, including brioche, cinnamon rolls, puff pastries and buttermilk biscuits.
Virgin piña colada cakes made by Sherwin Pilley sit on display in her bakery, Cakes and Pipers, in Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022.
Sherwin Pilley assembles a chocolate cake at her bakery, Cakes and Pipers, in Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022.
The storefront of Cakes and Pipers, owned and operated by Sherwin Pilley, in Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022.
Sherwin Pilley assembles a chocolate cake at her bakery, Cakes and Pipers, in Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022.
When Sherwin Pilley invested in opening her own business — and recently, a new storefront bakery in Forest, she worried she would regret it.
“I have two young kids and a dog and I didn’t want to squander our money but it’s paid off. Baking is my true love. I’m always tired, but I have two young kids so I’ll be forever tired,” she joked.
Born and raised in Boston, Pilley attended pastry school at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Cambridge, where she earned an associate’s degree and focused on French cuisine. She later attended law school at University of California in Irvine and decided to get her bachelor’s from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, studying their patisserie program.
She didn’t love law school as much as she thought she would — and still had an itch for baking.
“I always wanted to go to law school, so it was kind of like, ‘Why not learn how to cook?’ and I love French food,” she said. “I traveled around Europe for a bit. I loved it.”
She did an internship with Bottega Louie, a French macaroon patisserie in Los Angeles.
Pilley worked a variety of jobs but was ready to get back to her first love: baking.
She studied one year at Liberty University about 15 years ago, where she was first acclimated with Lynchburg and its low cost of living, which was the deciding factor in moving to the Hill City last year with her husband and two small children.
“I was still baking and honing in on all my recipes and just making sure I was still up to date with all the new trends in baking,” she said. “It’s so surprising because if you ask anyone who owns a bakery for any sort of advice, they’re like, ‘Pull up a chair, I’ll tell you all about it.’”
She made her debut with “Cakes and Pipers” at the Forest Farmers Market last spring, where she said, she was welcomed with open and generous arms from the community.
Dorothy McIntyre, market manager of the Forest Farmers Market, said Pilley approached her last May to explore being part of the market and her upbeat personality made her a perfect fit.
“From the beginning, Sherwin created a welcoming atmosphere to her little part of the market that enhanced the customer’s market experience,” McIntyre said. “So many of her baked items became instant hits. Cake pops, tarts and brownies are just a few that come to mind, and the French baguettes always sell out quickly too, which is my favorite. I know a lot of hard work and determination went into opening her bakery.“
Pilley still has a presence at the market but recently opened her own storefront at 17980 Forest Road, Suite H selling cakes, pain viennois — a Vienna bread made in the shape of baguette — brioche, buttermilk biscuits, cinnamon rolls, gluten-free desserts and one of her own favorites, puff pastries.
“My family is from the Caribbean, so they eat a lot of pastry,” she said. “All we do is eat savory, spicy things. Every morning, like, I always have a Haitian patty, which is always filled with salted cod and slivered onions.”
She makes that pastry plus one with ground beef and cheddar and some sweet ones with crushed pistachios and chocolate to sell at the shop and at the market on Saturdays.
By the end of the year, she hopes to open a Haitian and Dominican food truck selling savory menu items.
“I love being busy. I enjoy the excitement of it all,” she said. “I like to dabble.”
Some of her closest friends have been made just through her business.
Christy Marker, a friend and customer of Pilley’s for a year now, is from Louisiana and said she has tried many different buttermilk biscuits. The ones that Pilley makes are, she said, by far the best.
“She can make anything, even if it’s not on the menu, but I love her baguettes and croissants as well,” she said. “She’s made quite a few cakes for me for various occasions. There is nothing that I have asked her to make that she said no to. And she has surpassed my expectation every single time.”
Marker said it was no wonder the two became friends — Pilley has a way about her that makes everyone feel welcome.
“The way she approaches you is just so warm and friendly,” she said. “It’s like you’re the only person around. She really knows how to make you feel great and is excited to see you. And everything she’s making is made with love.”

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Sherwin Pilley talks to a customer in her bakery, Cakes and Pipers, in Forest on Wednesday. Pilley opened her bakery in the Forest Farmers Market last spring before recently opening her own storefront on Forest Road.
Sherwin Pilley removes sticky buns from the oven at her bakery, Cakes and Pipers, in Forest on Wednesday. Pilley hopes to open a Haitian and Dominican food truck selling savory menu items by the end of the year. 
Sherwin Pilley waves to a neighboring store owner through the front window while talking with a customer in her bakery, Cakes and Pipers, in Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022.
Sherwin Pilley boxes up treats for a customer at her bakery, Cakes and Pipers, in Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022.
Sherwin Pilley poses for a portrait in her bakery, Cakes and Pipers, in Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022.
Sherwin Pilley crumb-coats a chocolate cake at her bakery, Cakes and Pipers, in Forest on Wednesday. Pilley sells a variety of cakes and pastries, including brioche, cinnamon rolls, puff pastries and buttermilk biscuits.
Virgin piña colada cakes made by Sherwin Pilley sit on display in her bakery, Cakes and Pipers, in Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022.
Sherwin Pilley assembles a chocolate cake at her bakery, Cakes and Pipers, in Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022.
The storefront of Cakes and Pipers, owned and operated by Sherwin Pilley, in Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022.
Sherwin Pilley assembles a chocolate cake at her bakery, Cakes and Pipers, in Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022.
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