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LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) Sterling Riggs swaps gigs with a Louisville pastry engineer to learn a few tricks of the trade and find out what makes people come back for more.
Six days a week, you can find Virginia Ranking in her bakery on Shelbyville Road cranking out custom wedding cakes.
She considers herself an artist and cakes are Rankin's canvas.
With every flick of her wrist, she puts her personalized touch on her products.
Ranking owns Mert's cakes and learned her craft in her grandma's kitchen when she was only 12-years old.
"She did a butter cake with a Pineapple filling that was absolutely amazing and that's where I fell in love with cake and I never got over it," says Rankin.
Her business is now named after grandma Mert and Rankin's been making cakes that tickle her customer's taste buds for more than 20-years now.
She says her cakes are the real deal because she uses the real stuff.
"She was a firm believer in great products and great ingredients. Real butter, real heavy whipping cream, real eggs so I have not varied from that," says Rankin.
Wedding cakes makeup a large book of her business, but the focus changes from wedding cakes to her signature Louie's Derby Cakes around derby time and Christmas. These cakes showcase a butter praline flavor with a hint of bourbon and are shipped across the country.
Before we left, Ranking offered up this advice to aspiring cake makers and culinary students.
"Never compromise. There will be people along that way that will say, you don't need to do that. You need to do this, you can but corners, it costs less. I've never done that because the product is never going to be as good. So stay true to what you know is really, really good," says Rankin.