When Morgan Tomsha combined her roller derby nickname, MoLeficent—based on the Disney villain Maleficent—with her bakery business in Valley Springs, she crafted a memorable experience for those seeking something sweet and a little wicked. 

The character of Maleficent is not actually a devil at all, but a powerful, horned fairy who was dealt a bad hand by neighboring villagers, and is more than a little misunderstood. Maleficent is, however, a formidable opponent, turning into a flame-throwing dragon when she embraces her full powers. That’s why Tomsha’s roller derby persona, and then her bakery business, took cues from the iconic magical villain.

Mo’s Devil Food may be an unusual name for a dessert shop, but to Tomsha and her husband/business partner, Adam, it's perfect.

Tomsha said, “it seemed fitting because Maleficent just wanted to be invited to the king’s party. Since there is usually always cake at a party and a baker’s goal is to be invited to craft those special celebration cakes, we merged my husband's love for chocolate cake with Mo, and that’s how it all came together.”

The business, which Tomsha started by making cakes in her home, moved into its current location in Valley Springs in June of 2020. Prior to opening the bakery storefront, which is open Wednesday through Sunday, Tomsha spent most of her time driving around Calaveras County, delivering cakes and other treats to customers. Every order was a no-contact delivery, perfect for the height of the pandemic. Now that the bakery is in full swing, Tomsha misses the personal connection but is getting a sense of “what the community as a whole is into, what their likes and dislikes are, what the general ebb and flow of our little town is,” which has helped her to better serve the community.

Now, a year and a half after opening, Tomsha’s “devilish” cakes, pastries, cookies, and freshly baked bread are still luring in customers. The bakery was nominated in four categories of the 2021 Enterprise’s “Best Of” Competition. With nominations for “Best Pandemic Pivot,” as well as Best Customer Service, Bakery, Breakfast Restaurant, and Dessert, it’s clear that the family-run business is serving up more than just a mischievous personality. Their offerings of classic treats like popular lemon bars, peanut butter cookies, chocolate truffle cupcakes, and bacon, egg, and cheese quiches, cater to those who like to play it safe; while more adventurous customers might go for a s’more or blueberry pop tart, a cranberry bar with a crumbly oat crust and orange drizzle, a loaf of gluten-free focaccia, or a breakfast croissant dusted with dill and Dijon.

Mo’s also offers gluten-free cakes and cupcakes, brownies, bagels and breakfast sandwiches, cheesecakes, cookies, and other tasty treats—though ordering a couple of days ahead is strongly recommended as the selection varies from day to day. Since everything they offer is made from scratch on-site by either the Tomshas or one of their small staff of seven (four of whom are family members), they are able to accommodate many dietary restrictions for their customers. 

Tomsha’s 14-year-old son, Wilder, works the register and helps customers with the air of an experienced host, giving recommendations and looking up prices for unmarked treats in the case. Wilder’s favorite right now is the cranberry bar, and he, like his mom, is also a fan of Maleficent.

Husband Adam Tomsha recently left his job of 15 years as a custodial lead at the University of the Pacific to bake and work at the shop full-time. His newly acquired skills as a baker are put to use creating cake decorations out of fondant, making fruit bars, and hand-squeezing lemons and limes. Mr. Tomsha’s baking skills were a surprise to his wife of 20 years, who said, “It's so exciting to have a partner in life that is also passionate about baking, and just watching the amount of effort and love that he puts into his own products is just inspiring.”

The selection of sweet and savory treats Mo’s offers changes seasonally, as Tomsha tries to source most of her produce locally. She also utilizes real, fresh ingredients like butter and milk and doesn’t cut corners, like other bakeries she worked for in the past did.

Tomsha explained, “That always weighed on my conscience. It can be very time-consuming, but I take pride knowing that we are actually using butter, local ingredients, and our cakes are from scratch. … How the food is prepared is a high priority. You can absolutely taste the difference.”

Tomsha also believes in supporting the local farming community, commenting, “Without farmers there is no food.”

In addition to supporting farmers, the bakery supports several local makers and artists, giving them a place to showcase and sell handmade goods. Tomsha calls this an “upside to having a physical location,” and said, “A lot of lovely relationships have grown out of that opportunity, and helping build one another up for success is just the cherry on top.”

Mo’s Devil Food is still flexing its dragon wings with the busy bakery storefront in Valley Springs. Plans are in progress to stretch those wings even further, with an expansion into a space next door, allowing the business to offer more culinary options, like boba teas, salads, and soups in addition to their custom-decorated cakes, pastries, and breads. With more space, they hope to make an inviting place for people to “hang out” and enjoy breakfast, lunch, or a special treat and a fun drink.

The success of the bakery during a very challenging time was not lost on Tomsha, who said a perk to their “pandemic pivot” was being able to provide jobs for family members and have “steady footing during uncertain times.” She says the family counts their blessings daily, thankful “for all of the support we receive and the ability that gives us to live a simple, happy little life.” 

Mo’s Devil Food is located at 1906 Vista Del Lago Dr. in Valley Springs and is open Wednesday-Friday from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. and on weekends from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can contact the bakery for custom order inquiries at modevilfood@gmail.com, and follow on Facebook and Instagram at @MosDevilFood.

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Marie-Elena studied creative writing, art, and photography at University of Nebraska at Omaha, graduating with a BA in Studio Art -Visual Media. She moved to California from Nebraska in 2019 and is happy to call Calaveras County her home.

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