Dreamworld Bakes started in a West Philly kitchen in 2022 as a hobby and side hustle for Ashley Huston while she worked various jobs within the Philadelphia restaurant industry. Now, Dreamworld Bakes, a “transcendent and fantasy” micro-bakery, is becoming a brick-and-mortar, as the 33-year-old pastry chef and cake expert is opening a cake studio and bakery in the former Franny Lou’s Porch space at 2400 Coral Street in East Kensington.
With a plan of opening during the Spring of 2024, Dreamworld Bakes will offer breakfast and lunch items, as well as an array of cakes and other sweets within its 1,080 square-foot space. There will be outdoor seating and a small garden area, and Huston plans to eventually add sit-down breakfast and a dinner series in the near future. Hours will be daytime Thursdays through Sundays.
Huston will be hosting a fundraising bake sale on Saturday, February 3rd from 12-3 p.m. at the new space in an effort to raise money for the new location. Various flavors of cake (slices) will be available throughout the afternoon.
“My idea behind the brick-and-mortar space is ultimately to expand my Dreamworld concept,” said Huston. “I want to continue to produce the fantastical cakes that made this brand popular in Philly for weddings, birthdays, and other events, but I also want to create a space where everyone can access the Dreamworld on other days, too, and experience all that we can offer. I’m excited to open a space where people can create memories.”
Huston moved to the Philadelphia area when she was five years old. After earning a Bachelor’s in Business at Temple University, she headed to Tanzania to be an education volunteer with the Peace Corps. She returned to Philly in 2016, where she began to teach herself pastry techniques while working at various restaurants and baking on the side. In 2018, she became manager and baker at Franny Lou’s, eventually becoming a partial owner in the business. By early 2022, after a split in the partnership and the closure of the business, Huston dedicated herself to baking full-time, posting monthly menus on Instagram, while also popping up in various spots in Philly with her cakes and other baked goods. She would eventually begin wholesaling her cakes, as well as her sheet cake slices, at both Riverwards Produce locations. Dreamworld Bakes started with cakes for friends’ birthdays before morphing into a full-time micro-bakery operation that now includes events, collaborations, and more.
“The loss of my father, the sudden loss of my partner, and having my business partnership end all within a year’s time forced me to sit down and really think about what it was that I wanted out of life,” said Huston. “It wasn’t to make other people’s dreams comes true. Being jobless and at a crossroads, I told myself that if there was ever a chance to bet on myself, this would be it.”
Huston is now betting on herself to become one of the preeminent bakeries in Philadelphia. In addition to delectable cakes at Dreamworld, she will be highlighting her “Cosmic Brownie,” a riff on the classic kids’ treat, and “The Breakfast Bon,” a swirled pastry filled with savory breakfast ingredients.