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She hoped baking cakes would save her home, but the health department shut her down. What now?
I was up to my elbows in cake batter when I heard a sharp rapping at the front door of the house. “Coming!” I shouted from the kitchen.
I hoped it was my fiancé, Melvin, with supplies for more cakes.
Not Melvin. A stranger, a woman with a rigid expression.
“Are you Ms. Angela Logan?” she asked.
“I’m from the health department. You need to cease baking and selling cakes from your home. Immediately.”
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“Stop making my cakes? There must be some mistake...”
“It’s a health-code violation. You cannot sell baked goods from your home. They must be made in a state-approved commercial kitchen.” She handed me a notice and left.
I shut the door and sank to the floor. “Lord, no!” I cried.
Those cakes were my last hope to save my house. If I sold a hundred apple cakes, that would give me enough to make the first of three payments to qualify for a mortgage-loan modification.
Melvin and my teenage sons, Marcus, William and Nick, had helped me spread the word. A reporter from the local paper had even interviewed me, though I had yet to see the story in print. I’d gotten quite a few orders already. How could I fulfill them if I couldn’t bake? And that payment was due in five days!
I buried my face in my apron. What was I thinking? I wasn’t a business owner. I wasn’t even a professional baker.
I was an actress. I’d dreamed of making it big in the movies. It never happened. I’d done commercials, one-woman shows, had bit parts on TV. I made enough to get by, but with three college-bound boys, I needed a regular paycheck.
So I enrolled in a nursing program at the community college and found side work as a hairstylist.
Then the storm hit. The recession of 2009, and an actual storm that left our roof, windows and top floor in shambles. I hired a contractor to fix the damage, but he took our money and ran. Not long after that, my talent agency went under and I didn’t get paid for acting jobs I’d already done.
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I fell behind on mortgage payments. Foreclosure notices rolled in. A credit counselor worked with me to apply for the loan-modification program. The catch was, I had to make three trial payments to qualify. How in the world would I do that?
The idea came in a flash of inspiration: cake! What if I baked and sold cakes? Cake makes people happy. I learned that from my grandma Melissa.
The highlight of my childhood Sundays after church was going to Grandma’s and having home-baked treats, like her famous glazed lemon cake. While my brothers and sister devoured their pieces, I studied mine. Did she use real lemon juice? How did she get it to smell so yummy?
Grandma, seeing my interest, taught me her secrets, like using only the best and freshest ingredients.
I developed my own specialty raising my boys as a single mom. Apple cake–using the freshest Gala and Delicious apples, Saigon cinnamon, organic sugar, cream-cheese frosting. It was the boys’ favorite (they’d even hide pieces in their rooms!) and a big hit at school bake sales and church functions.
Then I reconnected with an old friend, Melvin George. We fell in love, and he fell in love with my apple cake too.
When I floated the idea of baking my way out of foreclosure, he was all for it.
“You bake and I’ll deliver,” he said. Normally the boys rolled their eyes at any idea of mine (teenagers!) but this time they were totally into it.