Jocelyn Pierce turned her passion for baking into sweet success.
Photos by Doug Levy
As the proprietress of Gloucester-based Mayflour Confections, Jocelyn Pierce has made a name for herself in the North Shore wedding and party world, creating elegant and delicious cakes, cupcakes, and sweets made from organic, locally sourced ingredients.
She also has a propensity for what she calls “lovely things,” whether she’s making them herself or collaborating with one of her talented friends. But Pierce knows that lovely things don’t need to wait for special celebrations. That’s why she created her “flourboxes”: sweet and sophisticated gift boxes that are perfect for holiday giving, hostess gifts, or simply to say “I love you.”
Mayflour’s gift boxes, cakes, and sweets are as beautiful as they are delicious, reflecting Pierce’s “former life” as a store designer for Crate & Barrel. She’d always loved baking, and finally decided to formally pursue her passion.
“I quit my job and enrolled at a program in The French Pastry School in Chicago,” she says. It was a bold move. “Even when I say it now, I’m like, ‛What was I thinking?’”
Now, four years after graduating, Pierce is creating signature cakes and confections that are pretty, elegant, and not too sweet, like her lavender cake with honey buttercream and rosemary lemon cake with champagne buttercream. She loves baking with berries, figs, herbs, spices, and citrus.
“I take a sort of simple approach to design. I don’t use fondant. I only work in buttercream,” she says. “I never think food should be overly fussy or overly complicated. Food should look pretty and enticing but it should also look edible.”
That natural approach extends to her dedication to local ingredients and purveyors. “The ingredients and the flavor and the quality are really important to me,” Pierce says, and that extends to the products in her gift boxes. “Everything is hyper-local. All the food items are made by myself or another North Shore maker.”
There’s certainly no shortage of high-quality local businesses to work with, from Tomten Beeworks and Eastern Farm in Ipswich to Atlantic Saltworks and Black Earth Compost in Gloucester to Equal Exchange in West Bridgewater.
But for Pierce, using local ingredients is about more than the freshest and best ingredients. She also believes that working with other local businesses is an investment in the community, and she is passionate about supporting other small local growers and artisans.
And in that way, her flourboxes are the epitome of the values upon which she’s built her business.
For instance, the small-sized flourboxes are packed in wooden boxes and always include Mayflour’s signature pyramid-shaped coconut macaroons, and their classic homemade granola made with coconut flakes, raisins, walnuts, Atlantic Saltworks sea salt, and Vermont maple syrup that Pierce drives to get herself. Rounding out the boxes are a dried flower bundle that’s foraged and sourced from local farms and another sweet treat that rotates seasonally, such as shortbread cookies, candied pecans, financiers, or chocolate sable cookies. Large boxes include an additional sweet, plus local creamed honey or house-made jam.
Pierce also likes to collaborate with and support other female entrepreneurs, and she’s doing just that with her brand-new Pantry Box, the latest Flourbox which launched this fall, just in time for gift-giving season. The Pantry Boxes not only include Mayflour’s large seasonal granola, candied pecans, and a dried floral bundle, but also a custom, French linen dish cloth from Boston’s The Everyday Co., and dried handmade pasta from Gloucester’s Pastaio Via Corta.
Kathryn Yee, owner and creative director of The Everyday Co., says her handmade table linens were a perfect fit for inclusion in Mayflour’s new Pantry Box. “We’re both women businesses and we’re both small businesses. We’re small but we’re mighty,” she says. “Those towels are handmade just like the granola in the box is handmade.”
In fact, the dishcloths are custom-made exclusively for Mayflour’s Pantry Box. Yee creates her hand towels, napkins, coasters, and other products from upcycled, remnant fabric that she sources from all over the United States. She was keeping the linen she used to create the Mayflour towels for “something special.” The edge stitching and handle color are custom, too.
“It was a really great pairing between us and Mayflour, and we’re really excited to be in her beautiful boxes,” Yee says. Also excited to have a product included in the new Pantry Box is Danielle Glantz, the chef, owner, and pasta maker at Pastaio Via Corta in Gloucester.
“Jocelyn is super talented,” Glantz says. “She has really high standards for making her cakes.”
Glantz, an Académie Brillat-Savarin Medal of Merit recipient at the Culinary Institute of America who spent several years working at Chez Panisse, shares those high standards for her own products, sourcing ingredients for her handmade pastas and sauces from North Shore growers like Alprilla Farm in Essex and Chicken Little Farm and Plough in the Stars Farm in Ipswich. Moreover, she shares Pierce’s commitment to the local food community.
Pierce is excited to be able to offer these beautiful gift boxes to people who appreciate the North Shore, good food, and a well-stocked pantry.
“The presentation is really nice,” she says. “And they feel really special.”