Hi! My name is Lasondra Wilson and I am the owner of Yellowcake Desserts, a small bakery in Northern California! I am a former preschool teacher of 13 years and I recently resigned to pursue my business full time. In addition to educating children and baking, I love to read, hike, and garden.
Baking and cooking have always been a part of my life. When I was younger, I would help myself to things in the kitchen, trying to make food for myself such as toast and eggs. I have fond memories of cooking enchiladas with my grandfather, Mexican wedding cookies with my uncle and cakes with my mom. I made the transition from Southern California to the Bay area 11 years ago and I didn’t know a lot of people.
In that first year I watched Food Network incessantly. I tried my hand at everything from homemade doughnuts (which were a fail) to homemade biscuits. The more I cooked and baked, the more I fell in love with baking from scratch. At the same time, I became obsessed with local and organic food products, as well as the story of dishes we hold dear; where does upside- down cake come from anyway? I researched company product lists, which led me to some of the best ingredients there are when it comes to food. I also researched recipes and food history, reading cookbooks of acclaimed chefs, bakers, and even chocolatiers. This became the foundation for how I create flavors and my desire to expand the idea of what dessert is. Sweets get a bad rap; and yes, they should be enjoyed in moderation. However, I learned that having the best ingredients, thoughtfully sourced and produced, contribute to the overall well-being of everyone, earth included. Creating unique flavors that honor the earth is an ode to the past and sets the stage for how we connect to each other in the future. Food sustained nations. It is still used to welcome people to communities and helps foster relationships as we break bread around a table.
I love flavors that play up natural ingredients versus processed items like candy. That’s where flavors like lemon rosemary and earl grey cupcakes come from; they are flavors we can produce naturally. It’s not the only thing we do, but it is the heart of our creativity. My favorite thing about baking is that there are rules, and the rules can be broken. It’s my favorite way to be creative; playing with the boundaries of artistry within food, while remaining true to the essence of each dish and how it nourishes our mind, body and soul. Baking allows me the opportunity to explore, create and experiment. Having my own business allows me to set boundaries around how I create, work, and essentially, how I live. I have found many peaceful moments while baking dozens of cookies. In the same vein, baking dozens of cookies can be very stressful! Having my own business is challenging. I am still growing as a business owner. I am mastering time management, while looking for ways to creatively serve my customers. Baking is a challenge because it is not always perfect. Most times it’s not perfect. I have messed up dozens of brownies, cookies, and cakes. I have dropped cupcakes right at delivery, I have mixed up orders and I’ve forgotten ingredients. In all of that, there is a lesson that allows me to reflect and grow as a business owner.
Teaching influenced me in two keyways. First, it made me more mindful of myself and those I interact with. Children simply react to a situation. Young children cannot explain in great detail the intricacies of their emotions and how they would like to move forward. Working with young children breeds patience and understanding as you work through the highs and lows with them. Children are a constant reminder that each situation is made up of many layers, and that everyone, even adults, may not be able to adequately express themselves. Patience, kindness and grace are needed as we interact with one another. Second, teaching has taught me the importance of relationship building. Some of the parents of my students are now my customers! I appreciate that we are familiar with one another and that I have had the chance to share special moments in their lives, such as birthdays. I feel so honored to be a part of their lives in this way; to be trusted with moments that are dear to them. It is humbling to know that they made a choice to patronize my business.
As I transition from a teaching to full time business owner, my current goal is to promote good food. I want to promote desserts that use sustainable, ethically sourced ingredients as a way to uplift our communities through our engagement with food. My secondary goal is to continue to grow as a business owner; utilizing systems and processes to scale my business and become more efficient. It will be an adjustment to not have the set schedule of a teacher, but I know I will continue to grow as a business owner by continually evolving my ideas, processes and goals.
Lasondra is featured wearing the Bondi 7.