Pastry chef and personality Meghan McGarry has made herself a household name thanks to the one-of-a-kind dessert makeovers she presents at Buttercream Blondie. Since its inception, McGarry has used her highly-trafficked and high-end culinary website to glam up America’s favorite desserts, reimagining one traditional recipe after another.
With as much success as McGarry has garnered in the past few years, it would be unlikely that you haven’t seen one of her desserts featured in a magazine, dished about online, or adding a sparkle to your Instagram feed. This year, McGarry was selected as the face of the holiday campaign of Farberware, the iconic American kitchen line, and her Buttercream Blondie blog has been named one of the Top 10 Baking Blogs by Better Homes & Gardens magazine. With a social media following comprised of thousands of loyal fans, McGarry has been at the forefront of finding a new baking audience where it’s at in an ever-evolving digital world.
Before McGarry started tossing sprinkles, the pastry chef got off to a much different start in the Bronx, NY. As a child, McGarry was an award-winning Irish step dancer, competing across the U.S. And she credits the strict discipline she gained during long hours of technical training as the secret to her success as a pastry chef.
“I thrive under pressure, and I’m competitive by nature,” McGarry says. “I’ll do whatever it takes to be the best I can be.”
With anything in life, McGarry learned that success is only half-baked when there’s a lack of passion for what you do. The chef was studying for a finance and economics degree when she realized she wasn’t headed down the path to sweet fulfillment. The Manhattan College student shocked her parents one spring afternoon when she told them she would be trading in her calculator for a Kitchen-Aid.
And so McGarry started from scratch – literally – as she baked her way through New York’s celebrated French Culinary Institute under the guidance of legendary Dean Jacques Torres.
McGarry has channeled the experience she gained working alongside industry luminaries in New York restaurants into building successful pastry departments from the ground up in high-end bakeries and popular eateries in the Greater Boston Area. All along, the Bronx native has honed her culinary mantra: “Flirt with dessert.”
“I take classic desserts and give them makeovers,” McGarry explains of her trademark style.
Her desire to reach a larger audience led to the launch of the immensely successful Buttercream Blondie site, which now features hundreds of mouth-watering dessert recipes. The passion project that made McGarry a household name is now read by hundreds of thousands of loyal fans each month.
“I get so excited when I create something new that I just can’t help but share it,” McGarry says of the recipes she develops for her site.
Without a doubt, the fan-favorite recipes on Buttercream Blondie are part of McGarry’s signature “boozy desserts,” in which the chef uses liqueurs and spirits to add a new warmth and depth of flavor to her recipes like Chocolate Whiskey Layer Cake and Boozy Bourbon Peanut Butter Cookie Cups. Her ingenious creations have been featured by publications as diverse as The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post, Better Homes & Gardens, Redbook, Cake Central Magazine, and The Cooking Channel.
While you may have first fallen in love with her food writing, McGarry has proven she is equally comfortable in front of both a camera and a studio audience. She recently launched her second web series, aptly titled “Flirt with Dessert,” where she has already zhushed classic desserts like Black Forest cake and Irish Cream Cheesecake and will soon share her expert cake decorating tips. Each time the culinary personality appears on screen or does a live baking demo, it’s easy to see the chef is both knowledgeable and relatable to people at any skill level.
“One of the favorite parts of my job is when I get to teach others how to bake one of my new desserts,” McGarry said. “It makes me happy to know that I’m inspiring others to step inside the kitchen.”