North Texas Daily

Home bake shop makes business a piece of cake

Home bake shop makes business a piece of cake

Home bake shop makes business a piece of cake
April 22
23:19 2015

Kayleigh Bywater / Staff Writer

Whether it is a full-size upright guitar cake or a chocolate and avocado cookie, Denton baker Kara Nelsen can make almost anything.

Nelsen has been operating as Kara’s Bake Shoppe since January 2012. She said unlike many bakers who have created desserts and pastries since they were kids, she just recently discovered her passion for baking.

“My husband absolutely loves pie,” Nelsen said. “I had never made anything except boxed cake before, so I wanted to try it out and see what I could make.”

Through trial and error, Nelsen said she began to realize the talent she had for baking, and wanted to expand her skills past making cakes for her childrens’ parties.

Nelsen said she started Kara’s Bake Shoppe after Texas enacted the Cottage Food Law, which allowed people to legally sell baked goods out of their home.

“During my first year, I only made a handful of cakes for people I knew,” Nelsen said. “Eventually, people started to see my cakes and desserts at parties and wanted me to bake for them. I also started selling fresh breads and cookies at the Denton Community Market. And now here I am.”

One of her first customers was her best friend and supporter, Karolyn De La Portilla.

De La Portilla said Nelsen has been baking for her family’s sweet tooth ever since she started.

“Not only is the cake itself delicious, but she decorates each one so cute and exactly how the customer wants it,” she said. “The first cake she made me was for my daughter’s second birthday, and it was this adorable Minnie Mouse cake.”

Science senior Lenora Wallace said Nelsen doesn’t just make colorful and unusual desserts.

Wallace said she wanted to support local business, so she visited different bakeries around Denton but was not happy with what she found.23_bakedgoods_web2

Kara Nelsen, owner of Kara’s Bake Shoppe, creates cakes for all kinds of events and holidays. This time of year the focus is on Mother’s Day.

“All the desserts we tried would look good, but not taste good,” Wallace said. “Then, one day, my husband and I came across Kara at the Community Market. We decided to taste some of her cake pops, because that is what we wanted instead of a wedding cake.”

She said Nelsen worked closely with her and her husband to figure out the perfect cake pops for their “Star Trek”-themed wedding. They came up with a variety of flavors, including a lavender honey cake pop per her husband’s request.

Nelsen said she does something a lot of bakeries in the area maynot: she makes every single thing from scratch.

“She does not cut any corners,” friend and customer Stephanie Hunt said. “Her ingredients are a step above many because she wants her desserts to be high quality and fresh. Some people may see her prices as a little on the higher side, but the product is completely worth it.”

De La Portilla said one of her personal favorites was when Nelsen made a Harry Potter Sorting Hat out of homemade Rice Krispies Treats.23_bakedgoods_web3

Cake pops have become a popular request for Kara’s Bake Shoppe, which operares in Nelson’s home.

Nelsen said using only fresh ingredients allows for desserts to shine.

“A lot of people bake from home,” Nelsen said. “I have to be confident in my product, though. I do not want to just pull stuff out of the freezer. I love seeing the looks on people’s faces and know my hard work has paid off and that the product tastes great.”

Although Nelsen said her desserts are well known in Denton county, she also goes above and beyond for those in need. She makes cakes for Icing Smiles, a nonprofit organization encouraging bakers to create cakes for children with serious illnesses.

“Kara really goes the extra mile,” De La Portilla said. “She also makes such extravagant cakes for Icing Smiles for free in order to just make these kids smile.”

Wallace said Nelsen provides for the community and works toward making peoples’ celebrations special.

“She is willing to do just about anything for anyone,” Wallace said. “She will make a TARDIS cake for a “Doctor Who” fan or work on a “Harry Potter” battle scene cake for hours so that her customers can get the exact type of cake that they want.”

Even with the support of her friends and family, Nelsen said above all she wants to make sure people are happy with her product.

“Like most bakers, I would absolutely love to have a store front and be extremely well known around Denton,” Nelsen said. “But for now, it is so rewarding that I am able to be a part of such special events in peoples’ lives by providing them with a memory that they will cherish forever.”

Featured Image: Kara Nelsen, of Kara’s Bake Shoppe, prepares cake pops. Nelson has been baking professionally for three years and does all her work from home. Photo by Devin Dakota – Staff Photographer

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