2.8 min readPublished On: March 22, 2024

Brownwood Farmers Market: Cantreats by Cantrese

Every Saturday between 9am and 1pm, you can find a mix of produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods and handcrafts as you stroll the square at the Brownwood Farmers Market.

Stop by the booth with the big “St. Louis Gooey Cakes” sign and you’ll find a special treat. St. Louis native Cantrese Moore makes these regional favorites in her home kitchen, a staple from her old soul food restaurant back in St. Louis.

“I got off to a slow start at Brownwood. People didn’t know about gooey cakes, and they walked right by,” Cantrese says. She didn’t give up. Instead, she brought out samples to teach the people in her new hometown about this buttery sweet confection that resembles a blondie more than a cake. Now, she has a loyal customer base, but they don’t all come for the gooey cakes.

Cantrese offers a selection of gluten-free and sugar-free treats her customers crave. “I had a lot of requests for gluten-free products, so I decided to give it a try,” Cantrese says. After playing around with different ingredient combinations, Cantrese developed her own recipe. “Customers say it’s the best gluten-free they’ve ever had.”

Judging by the number of products Cantrese sells each week, they must be right. She usually brings about 10 varieties of cakes and other fresh baked goods to the farmers’ market, several gluten-free items and some sugar-free.  Anything that doesn’t sell goes to the Wildwood food pantry. Every Thursday Cantrese begins baking a fresh batch for Saturday’s market.

Cantrese is a self-taught baker who learned from her father, who was the baker in the family, when she was growing up. When he passed along his lemon cake recipe, Cantrese ran with it.

“I’ve always enjoyed experimenting with flavors to come up with my own recipes,” Cantrese says. “When I moved to Florida, I had to make adjustments to my recipes to accommodate the environment here, and I started developing gluten-free and sugar-free versions of my more popular items.”

Cantrese is always open to suggestions for new items. When a customer asked for a sugar-free chocolate cake, Cantrese experimented with monk fruit, stevia and other sweeteners until she was satisfied with the result. That customer was more than satisfied; she bought 15 sugar-free chocolate cakes and sent them to friends and relatives. Cantrese’s sugar-free line and customer base have grown from there.

After cooking and baking in St. Louis for several years, it was hard to leave her customers behind. Cantrese still takes special orders from her old customers in St. Louis. But she is also developing a loyal following here in Florida.

“I love my customers at the Brownwood Farmers Market,” Cantrese says. “They will stand outside my booth and announce to everyone walking by that I have the best items.”

Many of Cantrese’s Brownwood customers make a point to stop and see her every Saturday. Some call in their pre-orders for the week and pick them up at the market. Cantrese pulls those items off the table, so they don’t sell out before the customer arrives.

Cantrese is working on getting her specialty baked goods into local stores, but for now you’ll have to get them at the Brownwood Farmers Market. Be sure to get there early because the most popular items sell out fast.



About the Author: Christine Andola

Christine Andola
With a bachelor’s degree in communication from the State University of New York, College at New Paltz, in 1990 Christine embarked on a blind journey to building a career. She moved through teaching in the inner city public schools, reporting for a weekly newspaper, writing user manuals and technical documentation at a software company, lobbying and public relations at the state level for national associations and marketing for professional services firms. Christine’s writing portfolio includes everything from newspapers to grant proposals. She has developed web content, written blogs, ghost-written professional journal articles and drafted ad copy. From technical writing to lifestyle feature pieces, Christine lives by the value of words. She enjoys learning about the people around her and sharing information in a way that resonates with readers.

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