Meet the Maker: Deja Keppler of Savor the Rise

Welcome to the first in a series of blog posts called Meet the Maker! In this series, I’ll get the opportunity to introduce you to the creatives and craftspeople behind some of the products and brands we carry in the shop here at Des Moines Mercantile. Our greatest passion is shining a light on our local makers and the stories their wares carry, and we can’t wait to share more of that with you here.

I am so excited to kick off this series with a feature on Deja Keppler of Savor the Rise bakery in Indianola. Deja and her family moved here from Buffalo, NY in 2019, and she began baking out of her home not long after. Her long-time love of food and testing new recipes out on her friends and family led to a natural progression in growing that passion into a business.

Deja eventually began making her rounds as a regular vendor at the Indianola farmer’s market, the Valley Junction farmer’s market, doing bread pop-ups at Indianola’s Feed & Foster and taking custom orders in the midst of all of it - with one goal in mind. To open up her own brick and mortar bakery. And after LOTS of work, Deja opened her storefront on East Salem Ave in the Indianola square in January of this year.

And while her bread and pastries are truly some of the best the Des Moines area has to offer, her store is more than just a bakery. She also offers some of the best artisan balsamic vinegars and olive oils you can find. She partners with Veronica Foods in California to bring a curated collection of the oils and vinegars into her store, and we are so excited to be able to partner with Deja in carrying a selection of them in Des Moines Mercantile now as well.


The small Italian family that runs Veronica Foods own olive oil groves all over the world and only harvest what’s in season so that the oils are always at their peak freshness.

“The quality is just so high,” Deja says when explaining why she chose to partner with them. “And because they’re so fresh it’s a lot easier to do things with them. For example, their freshness gives them a higher smoke point than typical store bought oil, so you can actually deep fry with them.”

Deja says one of her favorite things to do with the butter flavor olive oil is use it to deep fry onion rings… here for it.

The butter flavor olive oil, though totally vegan (flavored with essential oils), will also harden in the fridge which makes it a great butter replacement to spread on toast, muffins, etc.

As for the balsamics, they are barrel aged for a minimum of 15 years in Italy. The aging and fermenting process turns the vinegars into a natural probiotic which make it an ideal addition for those looking to promote their probiotic intake for gut health.

Some of Deja’s favorite things to do with the balsamics are to just pour it straight over ice cream or to add a splash to a seltzer water. With flavors like Black Cherry and Cranberry Pear, you really don’t need to add anything else.

“Equal parts of the Blood Orange Olive Oil with the Cranberry Pear Balsamic Vinegar make a really nice salad dressing,” Deja suggests.

old fashioned

Deja’s Old Fashioned

  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 4 dashes bitters
  • ice cube
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • splash of Savor the Rise Black Cherry Balsamic
  • orange peel

I have been using the oils and vinegars from Savor the Rise since Deja started carrying them, and I splash the balsamics into my sparkling water with a mint garnish several times a week, make all my salad dressings with them, and use the oils in my cakes. I can truly attest to the quality of these products, and I love the versatility of the flavor collection Deja has curated.


Rebekah’s Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake w/ Mascarpone Cream

For the cream:

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • orange zest
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups stiff whipped cream

Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium high speed until fluffy and pale in color.

Add the orange zest and the mascarpone cheese by spoonfuls until incorporated.

Fold the whipped cream into the whipped mascarpone cheese being careful not to overmix. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until needed.

For the cake:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • zest from one orange
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup Savor the Rise Blood Orange Olive Oil
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

Add eggs, orange zest and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on medium speed for a few minute until well combined.

While still whisking, slowly pour in olive oil on low speed until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese and sea salt and whisk to combine.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda and slowly whisk or fold into the wet mixture until combined.

Divide evenly among well greased cake pans and bake at 350 degrees.

When the cakes are completely cooled, turn out and top with the mascarpone cream.

You can pick up Tuscan Herb, Lemon and Butter flavor olive oils and Black Cherry and Neapolitan Herb balsamic vinegars in the shop at Des Moines Mercantile or make your way to Savor the Rise (highly recommend this option) for more flavor options and treat yourself to some stellar pastries and coffee while you’re there.


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