From popular cartoon characters to sports teams and beloved hobbies, Bess Charles and her staff at LadyCakes Bakery have creatively personalized countless cakes for birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, baby showers and many other special occasions. Scroll through her online gallery and you’ll find a dizzying array of wedding cakes of all sizes and designs.
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In addition to cookies and pies, the bakery offers over 25 flavors of cupcakes that change daily or weekly with names like Country Girl, Doozie, and Queen Anne’s Lace.
So when it comes to Valentine’s Day, it’s no surprise that Charles offers love-themed treats like red velvet pies, decorated sugar cookies, and chocolate chip cookies. the rose in the shape of a heart.
Charles has been operating LadyCakes for eight years. She founded and co-owns the Cape Coral store with her husband Jeff. And as busy as she is, Charles continues to find time to put down her kitchen utensils to serve up delicious life lessons by mentoring the next generation of successful women and supporting local causes.
Last July, the pandemic forced the cancellation of a planned speech and meeting with members of the PACE Center for Girls to motivate and inspire them – one of many nonprofits Charles has attended. also donated freshly baked treats.
“I was so disappointed,” she said, adding that both parties were hoping to reschedule it soon.
Charles wrote his first book, “The Adventures of LadyCakes: Kindness is Sweet,” in November 2019, but its distribution stalled with the onset of the pandemic. The lavishly illustrated work – the first in a series that encourages and empowers young girls – is now available at local retailers where the books are sold and on Amazon.
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Charles also sits on the board of the non-profit organization Better Together which finds advocates to keep families intact and improve foster care by reducing child abuse and neglect.
Some of the many other nonprofits she has donated cake to include Cape Coral Animal Shelter, Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife, Icing Smiles, Mighty Mikey Foundation, and the Wounded Warrior Project.
His passion for helping the community reached new heights with the recent Caring Through Cakes program which benefited the Cape Coral Caring Center. In December, customers were invited to drop off non-perishable cake ingredients at her store and enter a raffle. Materials collected – including 161 boxes of cake mix, 112 boxes of frosting, 31 bottles of oil “and tons of sprinkles and disposable pans!” – were donated to the charity on December 23 and one lucky participant won a dozen free cupcakes during a Facebook live event.
“The response has been fantastic,” Charles said. The program “helped those who had no money to make their own holiday cakes.”
She likes to mix work – which takes up three times the space of when she started her bakery – with community support. She will be a guest speaker at the SWFL Goodwill Industries Micro-Enterprise program graduation ceremony on March 17.
“I wouldn’t be here if the community didn’t help me get to where I am now, so I feel it’s my duty to give back.”
If you are going to
What: LadyCakes Bakery
Where: 2924 Del Prado Blvd. South, Unit 7, Cape Coral
Info: 239-549-CAKE (2253); iloveladycakes.com and Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.