All people really need are the essentials, food, water, shelter, and birthday cakes. A birthday is the one time during the year where being awkwardly stared at by a group of people singing is welcomed. It’s also the only time that putting out a fire by blowing on it is cheered for. Birthdays are also a motivator for breaking any diet or getting that extra treat that parents usually frown upon. Lisa Repp–an at-home baker from Denver living in Spokane, Washington–wouldn’t miss out on this opportunity to bake up something special for friends and family. It wasn’t until her husband Drew thought of another group of kids that would light up from having their sweet craving cured on their special day.
“It was always my side gig while being a mom. Raising my kids and building cakes was my freedom from the corporate world that used to take up my day,” said Repp. “As orders began to ramp up, it drained me. Then Drew suggested saving my talent–and enjoyment of baking for those who need it most, foster kids.”
Many people forget the simple pleasure of being celebrated on their birthday. Repp refused to and began constructing what has now become a registered non-profit organization–Grace and Cakes–to ensure as many foster families are able to have a stunning cake be put in front of them.
Repp’s passion project delivered one cake to a foster child each month back in 2019 in Spokane, Washington. There are many deserving families across the country, thus leading to more chapters to be developed. Since then, she has developed this initiative across three states–Washington, Montana, and Colorado. With her family ties being in Littleton, she wanted to give back to the town she is so close to.
“There is a lot of pain, struggle, loss and sorrow among the foster care system. These cakes hopefully treat kids to a smile. It is a reminder of everyone’s deserving of kindness, hope and joy,” said Repp
As a survivor of the Columbine shooting in 1999, Repp has battled to overcome sadness. This is her way of continuing to breed beauty and love in the world. Each birthday cake commemorates what each child has accomplished and the brightness that their future holds.
Repp realized that her impact should span beyond her home kitchen. Thus she expanded her sweet fleet–as she calls the professional bakers that donate cakes to foster children. Her most recent expansion sparked in Denver. Her original fleet consisted of Bosco Baking Co, Vanilla & Cream, Over Doughs, Sugar Tats Cookies, Honey B’s Macaron, Three Seed Bakery, Sweet Cakes, and Buyse’s Bakery.
Grace and Cakes is coming into its second month with 8 confirmed kids being surprised. Most of the bakers specialize in custom cakes–Over Doughs, Three Seed Bakery, Sweet Cakes, and Buyse’s Bakery. Bosco Baking Co is also acclaimed for her over-the-top takes on cakes, additionally ensuring all items are certified gluten-free. Vanilla & Cream and Sugar Tats fit the details of an entire cake design onto the surface of a sugar cookie. These thematic cookies come together and bring a new world to life as any cake could. Honey B’s makes macaroons–the hard to master french epitome of cookie. Each sandwich would double as a trip to France for any child receiving this donation.
More bakers are hearing about this opportunity to whisk up some color creations for children that have yet to experience this type of sugar high and want to join in. The most recent additions have been Phresh Baked Goods–a triple threat by constructing cakes, piping cupcakes, and adding detail to the average cookie. Black Knife Bakery offers her painted macarons to give each cookie a themed design.
Repp wanted to ensure that the cakes were something more than that of the grocery store aisle that has the same design regardless of the uniqueness of the child. These clearly correlate with the child receiving it by more than just the name piped after Happy Birthday. The Grace and Cakes collections have seen cakes transform into a smiling baby shark or a wall being smashed by the Hulk’s legendary fist. There is no shortness of talent when it comes to each artist’s creation.
Bakers can promise to be monthly providers for Grace and Cakes or upon availability. Regardless, Repp knows the demand remains high but the payoff is even higher. Kindness spreads throughout the community through this one act and it increases the inclusivity of those it touches. It simply allows everyone to be seen and acknowledged for their one day of self-celebration.
The name Grace and Cakes doesn’t come from the name of one of Repp’s daughters that she began baking for or another kind-hearted individual that represents her concept. Instead, it’s the noun–courteous goodwill–the same grace bakers show to extend their talents to those that deserve it. Repp also wants to remind people of the good that is in the world and continues to feed it so that it grows.
To learn more about Grace and Cakes visit their website and Instagram. Folks interested in receiving a cake or birthday treat can apply here. Denver bakers interested in joining the Sweet Fleet can apply here. They accept general donations as well.
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