Lake’s Cakes Bakery opens near Gonzaga
-August 14th, 2014
Lake’s Cakes Bakery has opened at 1718 N. Hamilton, specializing in custom-order cakes and what owner Ryan Lake calls his mason jar treats—three layers of gooey butter frosting and moist cake in an eight-ounce mason jar.
Lake and his partner, Natalie Turner, opened the small bakery near Gonzaga University in the 1,000 square foot, two-story building, on Aug. 2, after 12 years of contemplation, he says. Lake was working as a prison guard for the Washington State Department of Corrections in Connell and Walla Walla while thinking about opening the bakery. He tested his recipes on co-workers.
“I used to bring in cake every day,” Lake says. “I would say this (work) is quite the change from that, change for the better for sure. I get to play with cake all day long. Nothing bad about that.”
The main floor of the bakery seats 12 to 14 people and the couple is working on renovating the upstairs of the business as a quieter study room “for the college kids” complete with free Wi-Fi.
Lake who does all the baking and decorating himself, says he is strictly self-taught and mostly relies on his customers to come up with designs for the cakes. While he makes traditional wedding, birthday, and other special occasion cakes, some of his best cake ideas have come from customers.
“People have their own ideas for weddings and don’t always like to go through a book and pick out a cake. I want to sit down and give them something that’s a one-of-a-kind cake wedding or whatever; we’ll come up with it and make it real special for them. We can do it all, sculpted cakes and 3-D cakes,” he says.
In addition to typical cake flavors like red velvet, apple spice, chocolate and vanilla, Lake’s offers specialty flavors like maple bacon. Lake says the most popular cake probably is red velvet and spiced apple.
Lake welcomes ideas from customers about design as well as cake flavors. “I had a woman come in and ask if we would make the s’mores flavor and the following day we had it on special,” he says. “We do whatever the customer wants.”
The mason jar cakes sell for $5.50, Lake says, while the custom cake prices vary depending on the theme.
He says the mason jar cakes have been popular because people can open one, eat part of it and reseal it, and it stays fresh on a countertop. “You can keep it for up to five days. It’s a really good portion—almost the size of two cupcakes,” he says.
This fall, Lake plans to introduce breakfast and lunch jars.
“We’ll have an egg scramble and soups, chili and corn bread, and mac and cheese jars,” he says.