? Nikki O’Keefe (L) and her sister, Sami Horner-Boucher (R) stop for a smile during the March First Friday.
The sweet taste of cupcakes, cookies, cakes and coffee fill the air daily along 4th Avenue in downtown Camas thanks to Cake Happy.
Years ago, when Nikki O’Keefe was busy at home with two newborn twins and a 15-month-old, she found herself busy with baking and studying labels. She noticed what was really in so many of the packaged foods, and took up baking for her family knowing the best ingredients were paramount. Her baking at home became more and more elaborate, and word of mouth spread about her sweet treats. She took a couple of cake decorating classes, and before long, demand for her cakes was so much that she began looking for a commercial kitchen.
Nikki searched all around Camas and fell in love with the idea of a kitchen on Main Street, and what that could become. “From there, it snowballed.” There was space available in downtown Camas, right on 4th Avenue, and it was affordable. “It was like it was meant to be.”
That’s just what those who love her sweet confections would concur.
That was six years ago, and the idea of a commercial kitchen blossomed into a downtown destination, complete with lines of children after a dance class or story time at the library pointing to the sweets case, with eyes wide.
Demand grew, and Nikki called on a treasured loved one for support. Her sister, Sami Horner-Boucher, was a stay-at-home mom at the time and she told Nikki, “You got me … and I jumped in and did whatever needed to be done.” Watching the two work during the day, it’s like a well-oiled Kitchen-Aid mixer.
Grow as it did, Cake Happy sought out the best ingredients for their products, just like Nikki did for her kiddos when she first nurtured the idea of the business. One of the best sellers, they lovingly prepare coconut scones for Camas customers’ sweet fix. When it comes to cupcakes, vanilla white chocolate raspberry and chocolate peanut butter are the town’s favorites. Snickerdoodles are number one in the cookie case. Ice Cream Renaissance, homemade in nearby Vancouver, partners with Cake Happy to bring artisan flavors to the cold case. This was a way to help with their growth and was their thought behind adding the ice cream. “We knew we needed to do something but we weren’t in a position to make more here. That is why we added ice cream.” And, Nikki said they are very proud of their coffee, too, blended and roasted by Mt. Hood Roasters, which is a bit less acidic than most coffee, and makes a great cup of nitro brew.
With decorated cakes of quite the notoriety, have you wondered if Nikki has thought about heading to Hollywood? Sure, the Cake Happy team has looked into competing on many of the food television reality shows for cakes and desserts. But that might be a while down the road, as it is quite a time commitment and Nikki is the baker and the shop can’t run without her.
There’s no shortage of demand for Cake Happy products, and the team has found that many Downtown Camas Association events often bring in many regular and new customers. They’ve found a niche with their quarantine packs filled with six cupcakes and six cookies of varying flavors and are working overtime to keep up with the many demands, such as the grandmothers stopping by to pick up a pack to drop off for their locked down grand babies. That’s thinking outside the box.
“We just love downtown Camas so much,” Nikki said. “We just can’t imagine being anywhere else.”