The health department wouldn't let her bake cakes to save her home, but God interceded.
Posted in , Jun 5, 2014
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.”
“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.
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.
That’s how Mortgage Apple Cakes came to be, just 10 days before I had to make my first loan-modification payment. If I sold a hundred cakes at 40 dollars each, that would cover the payment and then some. But would people pay that much? And who would I ask?
“You’ve got to tell everyone you know that you’re in trouble and need their help,” Melvin said.
That was going to be hard. I was used to making it on my own. All these years as a struggling actress, the only one I’d ever asked for help was the Lord.
I swallowed my pride and wrote an e-mail. “Buy a Cake, Save a Home” was the subject line. I explained my situation and ended with, “Would you be willing to help me?” I sent it to everyone on my contacts list.
I even admitted my problem to my nursing-school classmates. I stood up in class one day and said, “I’m selling cakes to save my home. Would any of you like to buy one?” Hands shot up.
We got 42 orders in four days. I couldn’t believe it. Maybe I could pull this off after all! Even with only one mixer and four cake pans.
But now the health department had shut me down. How could I have been so foolish as to think cake could save my house? I dried my eyes on my apron and broke the news to Melvin and the boys. “It’s over,” I said. “There’s nothing else I can do.”
“There is one thing we can do,” Melvin reminded me gently. “We can pray.”
And we did. Lord, I know those apple cakes weren’t my last hope, I prayed. There’s always hope when I turn to you. I called the reporter who’d interviewed me and all but begged him to get the paper to print the story. “I’m running out of time,” I told him.
“Actually, your story will run tomorrow,” he said. “It’ll be in the obituaries section.”
I groaned. He might as well have told me the story was dead. Who would see it in the obits?
Turns out: just about everyone! The manager of a nearby Hilton hotel called and offered me the use of their kitchen. I was whisked away in a limo to appear on a national news program. Orders poured in from all over the country, so many we could hardly keep up.
The boys set up a website and Melvin helped with shipping. Those apple cakes saved our house after all.
Now, five years later, Mortgage Apple Cakes is a full-fledged business. I’m proud to say a portion of the profits goes to helping folks in financial trouble.
Oh, and remember how I dreamed about making it in the movies? Producers at the UP network heard my story and found it so inspiring, they made a movie out of it!
Download your FREE ebook, A Prayer for Every Need, by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale.