Skip to Main Content Jump to Main Content
Jane Henry of Jane’s Sugar Magnolia – Why NEPA? image
June 23, 2020
Jane Henry of Jane’s Sugar Magnolia – Why NEPA?

“NEPA really never was a question for me.”

Jane Henry always loved baking, from her childhood days of choosing Food Network over cartoons to trying out new recipes at her college apartment at Penn State Main Campus. She honed her skills at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, then moved to New York City to work under the celebrity cake designer Ron Ben-Israel.

But in the end, she always knew she wanted to come home to the Back Mountain. In January 2020, she opened her own bakery, Jane’s Sugar Magnolia in Dallas. The name tied together two things that were close to her heart: her passion for making lifelike sugar flowers and her father’s favorite Grateful Dead song.

It didn’t take long for the community to fall in love with her delicious pastries and showstopping cakes. (Seriously, check out her Instagram. These desserts are works of art.) We caught up with Jane to learn more about the sweet success of starting her own business in NEPA.


How long have you lived in NEPA?

I was born here. I went to Wyoming Seminary, I graduated from there and then I went to Penn State Main Campus. After that, I was in New York for a little bit—two and a half or three years—and then moved home. So I’ve really spent my whole life here with the exception of school and working for a little while.


What did you miss most about NEPA?

When I was in the city, I missed the land and the greenery and the sense of community here. I went to a small high school, and I’m from a smaller neighborhood. I missed that sense of home-ness, I guess. I always knew I wanted to return home. It was a nice place to grow up with my siblings, and my cousins were right near here. My dad’s side of the family has been here for over 100 years, so NEPA’s kind of in my blood.


What’s your favorite thing to do in NEPA?

I love going to Harveys Lake. I think it’s really fun going out there, getting pizza and just spending the day. It feels like you’re on vacation— enjoying the water and activities like tubing and going out on the boat— but you’re still at home. You don’t have to travel to another state to be able to enjoy it and feel like a beachy summer getaway. I love going for walks and hiking out at Ricketts Glen. We also do a lot of fishing.


What’s next for you?

I really just want to focus on building my business and getting it to a point where it can run on its own. I’m really hoping to grow our wedding aspect of the business. That’s what I’m most passionate about: creating wedding cakes. I’m hoping that can flourish once we’re allowed to have parties again.


Where do you see NEPA heading in the future?

I think and I hope that a lot more young people will be moving back here and reinvesting in the community. I think it’s a really great place to be able to follow your dreams, open your own business and do what you can’t do in major cities. I’m hoping a lot more people will kind of do what I did and move back young and raise a family here so that one day, their kids will want to come back and do the same.



My dad’s family started Martz Trailways here over 100 years ago. I grew up here with my family, with my cousins, everybody within miles. I loved that growing up, and I knew I wanted to have that for my family too. So NEPA really never was a question for me. I knew it’s what I wanted.