I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t in the kitchen. My earliest baking memory is of learning a passion for fresh baked bread at Grandpa Joe’s house. When I was little we would go to visit on Saturday mornings and I would race my three brothers and cousin Bill to be the first in the house when a fresh loaf came out of the oven. If I was lucky and fast, I’d get the coveted heal piece…the very best bite to be had. I also remember holidays and family dinners with the most delicious pies in the state. Aunt Vera’s Dutch Apple, Grandma Decker’s Kansas State Fair Grand Prize-winning pumpkin pie, Grandma Hallie’s Lemon Meringue pie, and many more graced our table every year. I remember hearing stories from Grandpa Joe and Grandma Maralee to go with almost every dish we ate: at Christmas time we’d be regaled with the superhuman stories of Grandma Dorothy whipping her famous Divinity by hand, or how Grandma Hallie started baking pies for a restaurant at age 9!
When I was in middle school, I graduated to working with my Momma baking pies for my Uncle Les’s Hometown Café in Tupper Lake NY, or braving the sweat-lodge feel of the tiny sugar house watching enraptured as my Grandpa Leon turned watery tree-sap into heavenly maple syrup every spring, then sitting around his table enjoying fresh cream-top milk from his dairy while enjoying a slice of newly baked, piping hot bread. In College, I had my first taste of using those treasured skills and memories as an entrepreneur, when I baked pies to finance a trip to Italy.
As I grew older, started a family, and began to raise my babies, I became aware of so many Mommies and Daddies that never had the opportunity to learn the kitchen arts as I did, and a spark was lit in my heart.
In 2012, I started my bakery as Cake Whimzy, a custom cake bakery, in the garage of my rental home in Gladstone, MO, with the support of the city council. Honestly, I had set a goal of opening a storefront within 5 years, but I’m not even sure I believed that was possible. When I tell you with God ANYTHING is possible, I mean it! He used amazing customers and a perfect opportunity to move us into what you can visit now as The Laughing Place Bakery. This is a dream come true as a place where I can invite you directly into my own kitchen. Sit at the bar and ask questions as we bake or decorate a cake, or just watch to your heart’s content. Buy a homey cinnamon roll and get comfortable on the couch in the corner for some quiet time or a good visit with an old friend. Rub elbows with local teachers or city officials as you dig in to a bierock and a piece of Grandma Hommon’s Sour Cream Raisin Pie on a Friday afternoon. The question is: What does home mean to you? I wager you’ll find it at The Laughing Place Bakery.