Welcome to the latest edition of our Virginian of the Week series. This week, we interviewed Tanya Logan, a Springfield-based baker and business owner. Her work can be found on her website, Instagram, and Facebook.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Are you from Virginia originally?
I am actually from North Carolina, but have lived most of my life in Virginia. My father was in the Marine Corps so we moved from Jacksonville, North Carolina to Savannah, Georgia, then finally to Quantico, Virginia. I went to elementary schools in Dale City and Springfield, then graduated from Hayfield Secondary School in Alexandria. I am also an alum of George Mason University.
Where do you live now? What brought you there and what made you decide to stay there?
I live in Springfield now. After I graduated from Mason, I got married and spent five years in Delaware. While being away from the DMV area, we truly began to appreciate everything it had to offer in terms of culture, diversity and just always having something going on. We decided to return to the area because we enjoyed living here and we also wanted to be closer to both sets of parents who live in Northern Virginia.
What’s your favorite thing about living in Springfield?
One of the great things about living in Springfield is that it’s close to everything and diverse. We can be in D.C., Old Town Alexandria, National Harbor or Potomac Mills within 15-20 minutes (on a clear, no traffic day). We also have great schools, parks, local restaurants and shopping.
You run your own bakery. Tell us a little bit about how you got your start. How did you learn to bake and how did you get to a place where you started your own business?
My mother taught me how to bake pound cake at a young age. While living in Delaware, I used to sell the pound cake to my co-workers. At that time, I didn’t think about having a bakery, I just enjoyed baking. In 2006, I had been working for a Fortune 500 media company for 10 years when I told my husband I no longer wanted to do accounting. He asked me what I wanted to do and I said: “Bake for people.”
Shortly afterwards, I started Soul Cakes by Tanya LLC out of my house and I went to culinary school. After graduating, I built the company patiently, selling desserts at farmers markets, vending at holiday markets, and opening a kiosk at Springfield Town Center. Ten years later, I finally opened a bakery in Woodbridge. We will have been open for three years this October.
What’s the most exciting thing about running your own bakery?
Who doesn’t love being around sweets all day and making people happy?! But I really enjoy being able to plan our sweets offerings for the different seasons as well as executing different design trends through our custom cakes.
What’s the most challenging thing about it?
Having limited time and space. We are a small operation in size and staffing (one baker, one decorator, two front-of-the-house staff, and myself), so trying to accommodate a lot of orders every week can be challenging.
What’s something people wouldn’t expect about your day-to-day?
That even though I no longer do the bulk of the baking (I still make the pound cake), I am very involved in the daily operations which includes purchasing ingredients and making cake deliveries.
What kinds of things do you bake and what sorts of occasions do people come to you for?
In the bakery you’ll find cookies, cupcakes, brownies, cake slices, bread pudding, banana pudding, cake pops, cakes, and pies. We also make cakes for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and quinces. We also cater large events.
Do you have a personal or professional accomplishment you’re particularly proud of?
I’m proud that I graduated summa cum laude from culinary school.
Do you have a favorite dessert?
I’m actually a meat and potatoes girl, but I love apple pie.
What do you do when you’re not working?
My first thought was: sleep! But I also love to spend time with my family and watch movies.
This interview has been lightly edited.