Hi! My name is Marrah Balan and I am so excited to be featured here! I am a local Millburn Mom and have lived in the area since 2005. I live with my husband of 19 years, Lee, and my two boys. I decided to launch my local baking business of creative and outrageous cookie cakes and cookie cups in November 2021. I have received an amazing local reception and I am so grateful for it!!!!
Kids? How many? Ages?
I have two boys who I adore. They are 10 and 13.
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Essex County?
I grew up on Staten Island and then moved to NYC after college. Once we got married and wanted to start a family, we decided it was time to move to the suburbs and ended up in Millburn.
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!
I have always loved to bake for my family and friends on holidays, birthdays, and gatherings. Once COVID hit, my kids started to request many different types of cookies and cakes, which evolved into creating cookie cakes. As I received feedback from people, the cookie cakes began to reflect their unique interests, with each new combination more outrageous than before. Yet, the more outrageous the creations became, the more everyone loved them!
One day, during a conversation with my son about how in life you need to take chances and follow his dreams, he challenged me with “but you are not following yours”. On that day, Baked with Love by Marrah was born. I launched an Instagram page to see what level of interest was out there, and before I knew it, word spread about both my cookie cakes and individual cookie cups. More people than I ever expected started to reach out about parties, birthdays, and even corporate events.
I think Ina Garten said it best when she said, ‘You can be miserable before you have a cookie, and you can be miserable after you eat a cookie, but you can’t be miserable while you are eating a cookie. I love bringing smiles and enjoyment to people, so this is perfect for me.
Favorite things to do in town/Essex County?
We love to walk into town (Millburn), go to dinner, have ice cream, and enjoy Taylor Park.
What is your favorite restaurant town/in Essex County?
Lorena’s Restaurant in Maplewood. Amazing food and fabulous service every single time. Chef Campos takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary.
Best advice you have gotten?
Work hard to create a quality product and people will return!
What Song Puts You In a Good Mood?
“Waiting on a Sunny Day” by Bruce Springsteen
Favorite Piece of Clothing?
A crossbody handbag
Best Show/Series You Are Currently Watching or Just Watched?
Emily in Paris. It’s perfect because its easy to watch and the storylines are simple.
Favorite Book You’ve Read in the Last Few Years?
I haven’t read a good book in years! I need to!!!
Favorite Local Business?
Avalon Salon in Millburn. It is a family run business and I absolutely love going there. You feel a part of this big, happy family. They do a wonderful job and you can relax while you are there.
What Are Your Parenting Goals?
My parenting goals are to raise happy, healthy, well adjusted kids that give back to their community and are productive citizens.
We love supporting local businesses. Can you please share your favorite places in your area!
My favorite places in town are Avalon Salon, Fiamma, Millburn Standard, and Vinnie’s Pizza. Out of town, in Maplewood, we love Lorena’s and Sabatino’s Pizza. Other local favorites include Fox and Falcon, Roots, Pizza Vita, and Picante. Other than restaurants, we love Bob Beck Sports Collectibles, Love Letters, EdynDesigns and Collaborative Designs.