When she was a student at Zephyrhills High School, Cassie Lenz had a cake-decorating project. Over the course of the project, there was a dilemma: What to do with the extra cake?
“I looked online, and I found cake pops,” Lenz said. “It was interesting to find something new.”
People found them more than interesting. They found them delicious. The decorated balls of cake and frosting on a stick were a hit, and she would make them for friends and bring them to parties.
Now 23, and a student at the University of South Florida, Lenz made 200 cake pops in a variety of flavors for a friend’s wedding earlier this year. They were so popular the bride and groom didn’t even get to try any of them.
Lenz has received a lot of praise for her cake pops. Now, she has a business.
Sugar Rush operates out of the kitchen Lenz shares with her family, though they know not to interfere when she’s working. In just a couple of hours, she can make about 40 cake pops out of a single cake. Adding different styles takes more time, but provides a lot of variety in the desserts: chocolate cake, red velvet cake, marshmallows and funfetti are just some of the cake pop options.
If you can think of a cake, Lenz can turn it into a treat on a stick.
“(For) each one, you have to do something special. That’s pretty fun,” she said.
That means not only hand-making the pops, but also decorating and wrapping them one by one. Some are elaborate and others are simple, but she enjoys catering to different occasions, styles and tastes.
It’s not easy work. Each type of cake pop has a process that ensures it holds its shape and stays on the stick. She might accept some help wrapping the finished product, but she does all of the baking and decorating.
There’s also some trial and error with her creations. Vanilla cake isn’t as popular as other flavors like funfetti and chocolate, but even that ranking can change by season. At a recent church event, she didn’t sell as many of the funfetti as she expected. But, she sold out of pumpkin.
As orders come in, Lenz spends more time on her new business. But, as a college student who already has a job, she has to be smart with her time.
Fortunately, her father, Nils, is a self-employed accountant. That entrepreneurial experience has been a valuable resource for Lenz, and she prepares promotional materials to get the word out about her new business.
Having business experience in the family is a big reason why she’s felt confident enough to take on her own project.
“I think that if nobody in my family did (own a business), then I probably wouldn’t have done it,” she said.
For now, she’s put together business cards, flyers and a Facebook page, which will be used to show off her creations and solicit new orders. She finds time to make her cake pops in between taking courses on information studies in college and working her regular job.
And, while it can be time-consuming, making tasty treats is never boring for Lenz.
“People think it’s so tedious, but I get into it,” she said. “Seeing people’s faces when they see (them), I just get so excited.”
For more information about Sugar Rush, visit Facebook.com/SugarRushbyCassie, or email Lenz at .
Published November 25, 2015