Tracey Levesque, right, rolls out dough for her pecan sticky buns, while Kaelyn Langlois, left, packages them up Wednesday morning at the Auburn Senior Community Center. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

AUBURN — For 20-plus years, Tracey Levesque had given her sticky buns out as gifts to friends and family at the holidays — two decades of testers, as it turned out.

Six weeks ago, she had an idea.

Levesque, a pastry chef, former chair of the Auburn School Committee and married to Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque, was feeling tapped out and looking for a new way to recharge.

Sticky buns make her happy. She’s hoping it’s a universal truth.

Bake My Buns launched last Friday.

“That’s pretty much what I was thinking to myself, it’s something that I really enjoy. Can I do a business out of it? We’ll see,” Levesque said.

She’s sold 75 six-packs already, cooking out of the Auburn Senior Center’s commercial kitchen.

Levesque graduated from the New England Culinary Institute in 2000, later working at a Boston hotel, Connecticut bed and breakfast and in a skilled nursing facility before moving back to Maine.

She’d been nudged in recent years that she was letting some of that talent go to waste.

“Pastry has always been my love, per se,” Levesque said. “Your creative brain just starts flowing and then it’s happiness.”

Her sticky bun recipe in particular, “it’s very therapeutic for me; it’s easy and it’s simple. It’s calming for me to touch the dough and roll it out. I’m a perfectionist, so when it comes to cutting the sizes and the amount of cuts I have per roll, ‘Did I beat myself this time? How did I do?’ It’s almost like a competition with myself internally.”

A pecan sticky bun made by Tracey Levesque of Bake My Buns on Wednesday morning at the Auburn Senior Community Center. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

So, six weeks ago, she rented the kitchen space. Lined up a supplier for ingredients. Marketing firm Warp + Weft helped with the name, website and photos.

Bake My Buns offers both pecan and maple bacon sticky buns, the latter made with maple syrup instead of sugar, filled and topped with bacon.

“One of my biggest issues I have, just from a culinary perspective, is that a lot of people don’t know what real food is anymore, because it’s always grab and go, fast, quick, what’s going to last the longest,” she said. “There’s no preservatives, none of that. You want bacon? It’s real bacon. You want eggs? It’s real eggs. It’s all the good stuff, which I’m really hoping people will have an appreciation for.”

The buns are sold frozen in six-packs for $18 with a $3 delivery fee. Levesque is delivering to Augusta on Mondays, Portland on Thursdays and Lewiston-Auburn on Fridays. They’re also available for pickup at the senior center on Tuesday and Wednesday, her baking days.

When the customer is ready to eat, the buns are left out on the counter overnight, doubling in size during a slow thaw, and are baked in an oven for 30-4o minutes.

Levesque said her first goal is to see how the business does over the holidays. The long-term goal is getting in a grocery store.

“I’ve only heard positives from family and friends,” she said. “This year has just been a big ball of negative. I’m hoping to spread some cheer with filling people’s tummies with sticky buns.”

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