Pat Labbe, with Labbe's Cakes & Catering, offers a number of wonderful treats, including a strawberry pie and citrus sweet tea. -- Photos by Tim Reeves
Pat Labbe, with Labbe's Cakes & Catering, offers a number of wonderful treats, including a strawberry pie and citrus sweet tea. -- Photos by Tim Reeves

Love is at the core of Labbe’s Cakes & Catering

Published 2:48pm Monday, July 29, 2013

Best known for her pies, Pat Labbe, owner of Labbe’s Cakes & Catering comes from a long line of women who love to cook and she herself has turned her love for cooking into a business.

It all started in 1972, Labbe said, after she saw a picture of a beautifully decorated wedding cake.

“I was so overwhelmed by that picture. I said, ‘You know that’s something I might like to do,’” she recalled, noting that at the time cake decorating was not yet an art form and the supplies had to be mail ordered from a catalog.

labbe_forweb_02After completing a cake-decorating course in Montgomery she traveled to Chicago in 1975 to take the Wilton Course, where upon graduation she began teaching cake decorating professionally at Wallace Community College in Selma. Labbe taught cake decorating at Wallace until 1998, but said she always wanted to cater.

“I always wanted to have a catering business, but I knew that was a business that’s very consuming, and I have three children that I wanted to be momma to as well,” she said. “It wasn’t until my children started college that I started my catering business, and let me tell you, it is all consuming!”

Labbe said that now, operating out of the shop her husband Wayne built for her behind their house and helping out with her grandchildren, she has the best of both worlds. Labbe caters everything from weddings to box lunches and said her business spreads by word of mouth.

“The best part, really, is just knowing that people enjoy the food,” she said. “It’s a wonderful life. How can I not love what I do? Honestly — I’ll be 61-years-old in July, and I’m not planning to retire. In fact, I’ll probably never retire, and I’m going to expand my shop because it’s currently bulging at the seams.”

And while she has a passion for cake decorating and a love for catering, it’s her pies sold at Mark’s Mart that have helped make her business a well-known name.

“I make 50 pies a week and they sell out, and some weeks more than that,” she said with a grin, noting while everyone has their favorite, her buttermilk pie is the most popular.

In addition to pies, Labbe is also known for her cheese straws she lovingly calls, ‘Labbe’s Cheddar Blossoms.’ She added the cheddar blossoms are a labor of love that she shares with her husband.

“My husband, with the many hats he wears — I know he loves helping me,” she said. “The cheddar blossoms, that’s something we share; we make those together. We share making them, and we share the profits.”

Labbe said making them together is one of their projects together as man and wife, noting they often make more than 200 dozen in a week.

And while the work is hard and the hours are long, Labbe said she couldn’t imagine herself doing anything else.

“It’s a business that you work hard, but if you love your business it doesn’t feel like work — it’s a pleasure,” she said, adding she’s always whistling while she works — and the harder she’s having to work, the faster she’s whistling.

So as the hot summer months roll in Labbe suggests residents cool down with some of her favorite summer recipes.

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