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High school student cooks up sweet business

'Leah Kakes' created by 16-year-old

June 6, 2014
Jessica Larsen - Reinbeck Courier

Peanut Butter Cup: a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting and topped with a mini Reese's peanut butter cup. Maple Bacon: a maple flavored cupcake with maple butter cream frosting and topped with bits of caramelized hickory smoked bacon.

Wedding Day: an almond flavored cupcake with almond butter cream frosting and topped with edible sugar pearls.

These are all cupcakes made by 16-year-old Leah Holman, of Reinbeck.

Article Photos

Leah Homan, of Reinbeck, is shown in her kitchen displaying new cupcake creations she made for her business, Leah Kakes.

Leah is a young entrepreneur that started her own business, rightfully named Leah Kakes. She said discovered her passion for baking by taking a cake decorating class.

Before taking the class Leah spent time with her grandma making Christmas cookies, and her aunt helped stir her intrest by supplying baking utensils as a birthday present.

The business sprang from a hobby, Leah said. While driving in the car one day Leah and her mom, Stephanie Holman, had a conversation about Leah starting a business and what they would name it.

Then her mother took her daughter's cupcake creations to work one day and soon discovered that the cupcakes were a hit.

"It just snowballed from there," Stephanie said.

Next Leah began making cupcakes for baby showers, birthdays, graduations and other events. She received so many orders that she moved from her family's kitchen to a basement kitchen at her grandparent's house Gene and Diane Barker's house.

The basement kitchen offers Leah a lot more space to make her creations. The space was once her grandfather's workshop, but was transformed into a kitchen.

"Grandma cleared out all the cupboards and the space is mine now," Leah said.

She's now making orders of up to 1,000 cupcakes, she said.

Leah has been balancing school and her business quite well, she said.

"It's not very difficult for me. Sometimes it creates problems and I have to miss a practice as the boys' basketball manager," she said. "I've learned that for work, you have to sacrifice some of your social life, but I've gained time management skills and I'm saving money for college."

She's also gaining the respect of her parents.

"I think it's awesome that someone her age takes initiative to have her own business and will take these skills someday when she gets out in the real world," Stephanie said.

Some new creations that Leah is working on is a red velvet cake with vanilla cream cheese frosting, champagne cupcakes and a chocolate cherry cupcake with cherry butter cream frosting topped with a cherry

and chocolate ganache. Currently Leah Kakes has more than 20 flavors available. To place an order contact Leah on Facebook at of call her at 319-240-2962.

Leah Kakes will be available this summer at local farmers markets.


Jessica Larsen is the managing editor of the Reinbeck Courier. Contact her at 319-345-2031 or



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