Teresa Carpenter learned about baking and Southern cooking at an early age, mimicking the daily chores and learning the skills of a beloved lady Teresa referred to as “Miss Maggie”. Miss Maggie and her husband had always wanted a little girl, but had two boys of their own and four grandsons. She agreed to babysit when Teresa’s mother returned to teaching in a nearby school, finally having the girl that she had always wanted. Having child sized pots, pans and skillets, Teresa created half-pint sized portions of everything that was made in a little house nestled in the hills of Southern Middle Tennessee in what locals know as Winchester Springs. Teresa’s older sister took a cake decorating class when Teresa was in junior high and planted a seed for what has now grown from an interest to a hobby and finally a profession. When Teresa and her husband renovated her family home, the kitchen naturally became the focal point of the house and now serves as the center of activity whenever family and friends visit. There’s an irony behind her passion for making beautiful and delicious cakes . . . Teresa doesn’t like cake, never has and likely never will! She’s a pie, cookie and homemade ice cream lover through and through, but is constantly on the prowl for new cake ideas and flavors to make for others.
After balancing a full time job with her then part-time hobby of cake making and decorating for 15 years, Teresa opened a quaint little bakery and eatery in New Hope, Alabama in 2009, occupying a newly reclaimed antique of a building known lovingly in the area as Dr. Carpenter’s old office. In the search for a name for the new Bakery & Eatery, she began researching possible names that would relate to the building and its timeless beauty. Her dream was to come up with something that would maintain the legacy of the original name of the town prior to being burned by Union Soldiers in December of 1865. That name was Vienna and so in keeping with the Old of the history, Old Vienna Bakery and Eatery was founded. Realizing quickly that the eatery popularity was taking away her time to devote to her passion for cake decorating, she downsized two years later to a specialty shop serving only special order cakes and goodies. The business boomed and her happiness bloomed.
Old Vienna Bakery has been named a recipient of the Couple’s Choice Award from Weddingwire.com for 2014 and 2015 thanks to the many happy couples who have shared their experiences of the cakes created for them by Teresa at Old Vienna Bakery.
Teresa currently lives in New Hope, Alabama with her husband of 32 years (Michael) who serves as minister of the New Hope United Methodist Church. They have two talented daughters (Amanda and Anna-Kathryn) and an awesome son-in-law (Norman), all of whom have been called on at one point or another to help out with cakes from either the mixing/baking stage to the final delivery/set-up stage. While people say it takes a village to raise a child, in the cake decorating world of Old Vienna, it often takes a loved and appreciated family to make a wedding cake happen!
It’s always good to have stories come full circle: 49 years after she first began staying with Miss Maggie, Teresa had the privilege of creating a wedding cake for one of Miss Maggie’s great-granddaughters. As a thank you for making the cake as a memorial to her beloved Miss Maggie, the family unanimously voted to give the most precious of gifts to Teresa – – – Miss Maggie’s family ring, a treasure she wears frequently as a reminder of who taught her the early skills that have brought her to a job she loves!