My (long) Story
My cake story began about 20 years ago, when I offered to make my nephew's 2nd birthday cake. At the time I had no idea how to make or decorate cakes and mind you there was no Pinterest, YouTube, online tutorials, etc. So, I would go to the library and check out cake decorating books. Followed that up with taking a Wilton 1 course at a local craft store. Learning just enough to (barely) put together a buttercream star-tipped Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cake for my sweet nephew. I had a blast making it and since I was already the crafty type – I took cake decorating as another one of my creative projects! Over the next few years, I made cakes for all my family and friends while honing in on my skills (but never taking any additional classes). There came a point where I wanted to start charging for my cakes, but quickly learned that in order to market myself that would entail operating as a legal food business. So I began the uphill climb to become a fully licensed and health permitted business. I filed my fictitious business name as NO MORE BORING CAKES, got a business license, and went on a hunt to find a commercial kitchen to work out of.
In 2009, I began to bake and decorate after hours out of Eat Your Lunch Deli in Carlsbad. I had no storage space, so I would carry everything up and down a flight of stairs. Several months later, I was contacted by SmokeHouse catering company to partner with them in opening up a new joint facility in San Marcos. Just a couple weeks later I subleased a space within their building. Things were moving along very smoothly and I was thoroughly enjoying having a storefront.
Then the day came in 2010 that I received the phone call that every up and coming baker strived to get. The call came from a producer from the TLC network about filming No More Boring Cakes for their ongoing reality cake show called Fabulous Cakes. I was absolutely shocked and so incredibly humbled that they found my little cake business and wanted me! The crew did a 4 day film shoot at my shop in San Marcos and then my episode ‘Southern California Makin Waves’ aired in 2011 (it’s uploaded on my youtube channel - fyi). It was simply a dream come true to be on national tv for my cakes!
At that time I felt like I was climbing towards the top rungs of my cake career. The notoriety that the show brought allowed me to become a much more established cake shop and to be honest it was just loads of fun! I chugged along doing hundreds of cakes until that came to a screeching halt in August of 2012 when the catering company that I subleased from had a fire in the wall behind the smoker that closed us down by the health department. As I began to wonder what my next move was going to be, my Step-Dad was diagnosed with cancer (just a couple days after my fire). Surgery was on the books for him and I couldn’t help but be thankful that I didn’t have to worry about my cake shop or any outgoing orders. A quick 30 days later he beat me to heaven, but I truly believe that the fire was God’s way of making sure I was at the hospital every single day with my Dad. Within about 45 days, I had lost my cake shoppe and my Dad. I was involved (witness) to an armed robbery that was a bit traumatic for me. I spiraled into time where I felt entirely lost. My Dad would come and sit at my cake shoppe and watch me work, bring me lunch, cut my cake boards, etc. And I just couldn’t fathom going back to cakes without him.
The catering company ultimately sold to Mike’s BBQ (Escondido) which allowed me to move back in after repairs were made from the fire. But a short time later the catering business was shut down entirely and there was no opportunity for me to return even if I wanted to. I put all my equipment into storage and was sure that I would never return to cakes again. Now that didn’t mean that my phone didn’t ring and I didn’t get constant emails in which my clients were encouraging me to return. I ignored them all and was just trying to put one foot in front of the other while dealing with my grief.
One morning, in late 2013, I was sitting in my car in a parking lot and I was overcome with tears and sadness. So I simply pleaded with God to show me my path, because I was tired of feeling lost. My phone instantly rang and I ignored it like usual. Then it dawned on me that what if that was God’s answer. So after well over a year, I picked up the phone and said “No More Boring Cakes, this is Jen.” On the other end of the phone was a longtime client of mine that I had made several cakes for over the years. She pretty aggressively told me that it was time I get back to cakes and that she wasn’t going to take no for an answer and ordered a cake for 2 weeks out! I knew at that moment; it was time to return and with a grateful heart I hung up the phone and began to scramble before fear changed my mind. I immediately pulled everything out of storage making multiple trips in my car and set up a room in my home, tables and racks and all. I had just moved into a new house a few months prior and just so happen to have an extra empty office. I called my old vendors back and started ordering supplies. By that night when my family got home, my cake room was nearly all set up and everyone was very surprised. The next day, I was at the health department reinstating my health permit. While I was out of business for 15 months, the law in California changed and the Cottage Food Law was adopted. This allows for home bakers to operate under strict rules out of their homes, instead of commercial kitchens! So, in the beginning of 2014, No More Boring Cakes got their second chance. I was greeted with open arms by the local community and business got off the ground quickly and easily (again).
In 2017, my husband of (now) 22 years was diagnosed with cancer. For 2-3 years I put my business on hold, as I cared for him. I took a few orders here and there, in an attempt to have some normalcy - but was only focused on his health. Update, he is doing very well these days!
In 2019, I had the luck of meeting one of the best custom cookie ladies in North San Diego – Adella’s Cookie Creations. I helped her establish her business and get a health permit. Since then, I have had the privilege of a beautiful partnership with her. I offer my clients the option of adding custom cookies to their cake orders and not only are they gorgeous/high quality, but they taste yummy too!
In 2020 right before COVID hit, I was invited to be part of 2 Gelson’s Markets (high end grocery stores in Del Mar & La Costa), by another local baking company, Little Cakes Kitchen. I excitedly launched custom cake Holiday pre-orders in both locations, but once COVID began to shut everything down - it was clear that my time in those 2 markets wasn’t going to last more than a couple months. Things naturally fizzled out and I decided to focus on tackling the pandemic with the thought of pivoting to meet the needs of the community. I was a little concerned that my cake business would be interrupted, but I was dead wrong. I ended up doubling my typical orders and thriving while offering smaller cakes during the week to help families celebrate their special events. In the middle of COVID, I also launched a side hustle of printing and shipping edible images, under the name of EAT YOUR IMAGES (an homage to Eat Your Lunch Deli that I began this cake journey out of years ago).
So here we are at the beginning of Fall 2022 and I have had the most successful 2.5 years (making over 400 custom cakes, launching Eat Your Images, teaching classes, hosting cake decorating parties, and selling DIY cake decorating kits). I have been very focused and I’ve been learning to dream about what my hobby turned into a business can become.
Before I share with you my announcement, I want you to understand something CRITICAL here. When I moved into SmokeHouse Catering - they found me (on craigslist) and asked me to be part of their business model. Again, when the phone rang and it was the producers of the TLC reality show - they found me (on the internet) and asked me to be part of Fabulous Cakes. Again, when I lost my shop to a fire, it was perfectly, imperfect timing in my personal life (allowed me 100% of my time to be with my Step-Dad until he passed) - a gift that was afforded to me by the fire. Again, when I was exhausted from being lost and I ‘told’ God that He best show up and light my path - the phone rang and I was asked to get back in the game and given the opportunity to work from home under the new cottage food law. Again, when I received an invitation to be part of the 2 Gelson’s Markets - I didn’t seek that out, it came to me. Again, when the world shut down due to COVID - I had a record breaking 2.5 years given to me.
With an incredible amount of joy and thankfulness I am happy to share with you, what is next for No More Boring Cakes. Out of the blue, the Owner of Little Cakes Kitchen (from the Gelson's Market venture) contacted me with what could be one of the best invitations of my career thus far! I am sub-leasing a commercial space once again. Little Cakes Kitchen and No More Boring Cakes have had some similar parallel success over the last 10-15 years. And we have now partnered with one another and are ready to join forces in order to become a greater influence in North San Diego County. NMBC has created a decorating station in their (new) 2nd location in Vista. I will be able to teach classes, host parties, sell edible images & DIY cake decorating kits, decorate custom cakes, allow the public to pop in and watch me while I work, offer cupcakes to go along with cakes, and much more! NMBC will now be working solely with Little Cakes Kitchen cake layers and their Italian meringue buttercream frosting (hooray for better quality flavors and me not having to bake!).
Oh, and one more time, when Little Cakes Kitchen reached out to me in early August - you know what I am going to say here…they came to me. You see, in all of my cake career, all these things have graciously entered my world and with that, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunities that I have had the pleasure of partaking in. I am anxiously looking into the future of what will be next as well!
After moving in and throwing a spectacular Grand Opening party on October 15, 2022 - business has been transforming. I launched dessert boxes, celebration boards, monthly fondant cake decorating classes. During Holidays I have been making a handful of dessert boxes and selling them to walk-ins. When I teach a class, I raffle or auction off my demo cake at a lower cost than ordering a custom cake!
For many years I have been trying to come up with a product that I could make and sell that is not custom ordered. After taking an online course, I hit the jackpot and launched Cake Batter Pancake Mix and then a couple weeks later Sparkly Maple Syrup. These items can be purchased in my shop, online (shipping is available), or at my monthly makers market that I attend in San Marcos! So far the feedback has been great and the sales have been climbing. I am selling the 2 products individually or as a set. They come packaged nicely and make a fun gift, bringing a little bit of No More Boring Cakes into your home at an affordable price.
Come see me at 1031 South Santa Fe Vista, CA 92083 (the old Dairy Queen).
My hours vary, but you are welcome to pop in to buy pancake/syrup anytime!
Little Cakes Kitchen current hours are:
With sincere thanks,
NO MORE BORING CAKES
& EAT YOUR IMAGES