The story behind the baked goods at the El Moore

Hi everyone! My name is Peggy Brennan, and along with my husband, Tom, I am one of the owners of the El Moore. I am also the baker of the coffeecakes that you find at your weekend breakfasts. How did I find myself in this role?

Baking has always been something that I enjoyed. I took cake decorating classes when my daughter, Molly, now 36, was 1. Unfortunately for me, my husband is not a big sweets eater, and many of the cakes I brought home ended up in the garbage. As our 3 children grew, it became obvious that they took after their father — none were big into sweets. Sometimes I would bring cakes or cookies to friends and extended family members, and they loved my offerings, so I knew it wasn’t the quality of what I was making that my family was rejecting. I just had a family who weren’t that into baked goods.

Fast-forward to about 10 years ago. We bought the Green Garage and began weekly Friday meetings, and I took the opportunity to resurrect my cake and pie plates, bringing in goodies for these meetings. I found that people loved homemade treats, and told me so. So I continued. As the building moved from construction mode to a business incubator, I made sure that I brought something in at least one day a week. I always had takers.

Soon we bought the El Moore, began a rehabilitation process, and finally opened. I originally thought that my contribution to the business could mimic what I did at the Green Garage, namely work at the front desk. After many months of training and desk work at the El Moore, I found that I was not suited to this type of work in a hotel setting. I scoured my brain to see what I might be able to contribute to the venture, and began sending over a coffeecake or muffins for the weekend. Here I found a match for my talents. I now have a permanent role of providing coffeecakes for every Saturday and Sunday morning breakfast, understanding that weekends allow visitors to linger a bit more over their coffee and pastries, time weekday guests often do not have.

I make everything at home, usually Tuesdays or Thursdays, and then pop the cakes in the freezer. Everything I make must pass the freezer test — if I can’t freeze it, I can’t use it. I have been able to stretch my baking skills a bit over the many months we’ve been open, trying a variety of breakfast confections. If something doesn’t turn out just right, or I find the recipe needs to be improved upon, it goes to the Green Garage, where people gratefully gobble up baking mistakes.

The past couple of weeks I’ve taken photos of some of these items as they were cooling on my counter, and I thought I’d share them with you. By the way, recipes for everything I bake are available at the front desk at the El Moore.

Blueberry sour cream bundt cake.


Lemon streusel coffee cake.


Swedish cinnamon butterhorns.


Polish coffee cakes (luckily the recipe makes 3!)