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Some Kinda Good with Rebekah Faulk: Living the dream through cupcakes and coffee
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Shannon Ward, the owner of CAKE Bakery, holds a tray full of freshly baked, true blue Eagle pride cupcakes - photo by Special

Lunch & Learn
Join Rebekah for lunch this Tuesday, Sept. 23 from 12–1 p.m. at the Garden of the Coastal Plain at Georgia Southern University! You'll learn how to cook seasonally and where to shop locally, and she'll also share her journey from Statesboro to Hollywood on ABC's The Taste. Twenty dollars gets you  Rebekah's Wild Georgia Shrimp & Grits, side salad and dessert. All proceeds support the Garden. More details available on SomeKindaGood.org.

       It’s mid-morning on a sunny Saturday, after a satisfying brunch and visit to my local farmers’ market. Dressed completely casually with nowhere to be, I stroll along East Main Street in downtown Statesboro to find an inviting sidewalk chalkboard and the doors open wide at CAKE Bakery and Cool Beanz Espresso Bar. Upon entering, I discover much more than cupcakes and caffeine. Here two kindred spirits — one culinary artist and one head coffee geek — have joined forces to make their dreams a reality.
       David Hoyle, a former senior project manager for a technology integration company, is the owner of Cool Beanz Espresso Bar. Here’s a guy who said, ‘It’s now or never,’ and dove headfirst into his passion: pure coffee, expertly brewed.
       He started down the path of coffee discovery after tasting his first cup of lightly roasted coffee on a business trip in Caracas, Venezuela. Before, David says he was a fan of triple grande, 3-pump skinny mochas. When it came to drinking coffee, he would disguise its bitter taste with heavy doses of cream and sugar, consuming what he calls “coffee-flavored sugar milk.” Curiosity led him to begin experimenting with various brewing methods, which can alter and enhance the flavor profile of a coffee bean.
       Now, just over two months into his new business venture, he’s having the time of his life offering three different brewing techniques to Southeast Georgians everywhere: Pour-over, immersion and espresso. He prepares every single cup by hand. Armed with the finest local ingredients, he’s ready to rock your coffee world.
       Two Statesboro-based coffee companies supply all David’s coffee beans: Three Tree Coffee Roasters and Iron Wedge. Java isn’t all he’s serving up. You can order hot chocolate, frozen chocolate shakes, chai tea lattes and milk. On my last visit, I ordered Three Tree’s Ethiopian coffee. Naturally bright and sweet with a hint of berries, every sip was smooth going down, not wanting for anything.
       Shannon Ward is the bakery owner. A former registered radiologic technologist and sonographer, Shannon enjoyed her career in the medical field but needed a job that would allow her creative spirit to soar. After becoming a stay-at-home mom, she began baking cake pops and cakes for extra income. She gained quite a following in Screven and Bulloch counties, and with the support of many encouraging friends and family, gained the confidence to open CAKE.
       In addition to those tried-and-true flavors like chocolate, birthday and red velvet cake, Shannon enjoys changing up the menu daily, offering creations like the baklava cupcake with all the essentials — lemon, honey and pistachios — or her maple and bacon cupcake. She says she loves the freedom of coming into her kitchen early in the morning, looking at what she has on hand and whipping up something unexpected and amazing. So far, I’ve tried the PB&J and Key Lime flavors. I also love her nod to all things local, from the ingredients she bakes with to the Georgia Southern-inspired True Blue cupcakes. Based on customer requests and her own inspiration, Forrest Gump might equate the ever-changing menu to a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get.
       French macaroons are also offered daily, along with homemade quiche. Birthday and other special-occasion cakes are made to order. Tying the knot? Wedding cakes are available too.
       CAKE is a small space with big impact. Chic and modern with exposed brick walls and quaint little tables, the atmosphere is inviting and cozy. The artwork hanging in the bakery is all for sale and painted by a local artist. Even the fresh flowers on each table are provided by a neighboring florist. Food is served on dinnerware with metal utensils. These small touches really enhance each visit. You get a happy and pleasant energy the moment you enter, and those kinds of details keep me coming back.
       With a name like CAKE, what’s not to love?

    Rebekah Faulk is a Georgia food writer and Statesboro-based TV personality. A Season 2 contestant on ABC's “The Taste,” she blogs at somekindagood.org, a Southern, coastal food blog highlighting East Coast restaurant reviews and Low Country-inspired recipes. Follow her on Twitter at @SKGFoodBlog or search Facebook for Some Kinda Good.

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