After seven years working for the Department of Corrections, Ryan Lake quit to pursue something he'd been thinking of doing for a long time.
"A cake shop has always been on the radar," Lake says.
He's been baking for a long time, but over the past dozen years, Lake taught himself via trial and error to decorate cakes — sculpting methods, fondant technique and all.
"It was throw away, start over, throw away, start over," he says. "Before I knew it, I was making things that made sense."
At Lake's Cakes, which he opened at the beginning of August, you can order whatever kind of 3-D cake you can dream up. There are no set sizes, prices or designs.
"We like the out-of-the-box stuff," says Lake. "I like stuff that people come to me and say, 'Will you even do this?'" For example, divorce cakes, chainsaw cakes, Pac-Man cakes and gothic wedding cakes are some of Lake's favorites so far.
If you ask to see his portfolio, he'll show it to you, but only to see his abilities. He doesn't want you to look, point and say, "I want that one."
"I want to sit down and do something that's completely out of your brain," he says. "We'll figure it out together. It won't be a cookie-cutter cake."
Two months before Lake opened the bakery, he needed a grab-and-go item to go along with the coffee menu. He was fervently against cupcakes (not because cupcakes aren't good, he clarifies; because so many places sell them), but recalled a friend in Iraq who used to receive jarred cake in care packages from his mom.
So Lake decided to bake cake in Mason jars ($5.50). Rotating flavors like maple bacon, spiced apple, lemon blueberry and cinnamon roll stay moist and fluffy for up to five days in the unopened jars, and he has a rewarding recycling system: Bring back five empties and get one free jar cake.
Lake plans to keep the Mason jar trend going. Soon he'll be making fudge in 4-ounce jars and cooking up 12-ounce breakfast and lunch jars. Think layered biscuits and gravy or jalapeño mac and cheese. ♦
Lake's Cakes • 1718 N. Hamilton • Open Mon-Fri; 7 am-7 pm; Sat, 9 am-7 pm; Sun, 9 am-5 pm • lakescakesspokane.com • 999-1208