Cake-ing A Difference
Every month, the T-Town Cake Club delivers works of art to the YST front desk. That art comes in the form of masterfully decorated cakes and cupcakes meant for the YST Street Outreach birthday party.
Spearheading the effort is Susan Bohannon, and she’s got a thing about cakes. In a previous life, Susan worked with children at Children’s Medical Center in Bartlesville. Every so often, or maybe quite often, she’d bake a cake for a co-worker’s birthday or some other special occasion. She excelled at the decorating, and she enjoyed doing it.
More than once, she was asked why she wasn’t in the business of baking and selling cakes. Why not? So she started looking around at brick and mortar locations to do such a thing. Turns out, renting a space is expensive, kind of scary, and she could bake a perfectly good cake at home.
Except that at the time, it was illegal in Oklahoma to sell a cake baked in your home. Not to let a thing like legality stand in her way, Susan decided to get the law changed. She found a state representative who would support her, then wrote a Bill.
Passing the bill took five years and hundreds of cupcakes handed to state senators. “Maybe that had something to do with it.
"Once it became legal, I opened up a home bakery,” she says. “I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Susan likes to bake, mind you. Not cook. “I think most people either really like cooking or baking. I can cook, but … I just put in stuff until it tastes right.”
But baking … that hits her sweet spot. She’s especially fond of having customers who trust her to come up with something great, even if she doesn’t know what they’re talking about. She remembers one time someone ordered a Harry Potter cake. They wanted a golden snitch on it. She had to look it up.
She relishes the variety of creating something new every time. “I really don’t like to make the same cake twice.”
Most of her favorites have been cakes she’s made for YST, including one that looked like a swimming pool, a grill that actually lit up like glowing coals and all the different Chinese New Year cakes she’s done over the years.
“The best part is seeing someone’s face when they see their cake,” she says. “I just love that.”
Susan’s connection to YST could’ve started with YST Director David Grewe. She met him way back when he worked as a therapist at Children’s Medical in Bartlesville. But that wouldn't be true.
“My passion has always been kids,” she says. “I love the teen population.”
After home caking became legal, Susan had a hand in forming the T-Town Cake Club. She hit upon the idea of doing something for the community through the club, and with her propensity for helping youth, she contacted YST. She visited, took the tour.
“Something about Street Outreach grabbed my heart,” she says. She asked some questions and discovered that street outreach hosted a monthly birthday party. It seemed like a perfect fit for the cake club.
That was three years ago, and Susan and the club still reliably deliver cakes and snacks for the party.
“It’s kind of dwindled down, but I made a commitment, and I take that seriously. I think it’s really important that people feel special on their birthday. If I can make one of these kids feel special just by making a cake, why would I not do that?”
She also believes in YST as an organization.
“I know some of the staff. I’ve seen them with the kids. They do an amazing job. And when you donate money to the organization, it goes where they say it will,” she says. “All I have to say is, ‘I have a youth in need. Can you help this person?’ And they’re right on it.”
Susan also participates in Gifts of Hope every year.
“It’s such a needy population. It’s hard being a kid under the best of circumstances, but when you don’t have a family or support … I can’t imagine.”