Kristin and Aaron Leikam at their bakery, Cakes by Kristin. Photo by Joan Conrow
That approach has paid off, building both a regular clientele and word-of-mouth referrals.
“The word’s getting out,” Kristin says. “There are definitely people excited about what we’re doing.”
Kristin, who has worked in restaurants for 20 years, began on Kaua`i by making wedding and specialty cakes for Gaylord’s, Hukilau Lanai and a few private customers.
“It just started growing and growing,” she says. Kristin created the dessert and bread menu for 22º North and began baking there, while looking for a space of her own.
She found it last August, when Icing on the Cake, in Wailua’s Kinipopo Shopping Village, was looking to quickly close. Kristin bought the equipment and was immediately in the kitchen making cakes to fulfill orders placed with the previous bakery.
“It was just the right time for us,” she says. “We couldn’t have asked for a better, smoother transition, for both parties concerned.”
Aaron came on board in November, allowing them to stay open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. “That easily tripled our walk-in business.” she says. “I think we’ve really expanded.”
The couple met in a restaurant, and in the 15 years since have nearly always worked and eaten together, including on a seven-month-long zigzag across America, sampling the best regional cuisine.
“We saved our money and sold everything we owned except our cookbooks, cooking equipment and a few clothes,” Aaron says.
Ultimately, Kristin and Aaron would like to merge that love of food with their cooking and baking talents in a restaurant of their own.
“One day we’d maybe like to have a small cafe,” she says. “That’s like our long-term dream.”
In the meantime, there’s cake. For information call 823-1210 or visit www.cakesbykristin.com. Cakes require a minimum 48-hour notice.