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The Short Version: LadyCakes, a family-owned and operated bakery, is well-known across Southwest Florida for its personalized and delectable wedding cakes. Founded by self-taught baking aficionado Bess Charles, LadyCakes’ first physical location opened in 2014 in Cape Coral. Since then, Bess and her team have crafted hundreds of personalized cakes for weddings, birthdays, and every other kind of special occasion. Bess talked to us about how LadyCakes got to where it is today and shared some reflections on current wedding cake trends.
In 2022, a video went viral on TikTok showing a wedding guest doing the unthinkable. In the clip, which surpassed millions of views across platforms, a woman in a red and white polka dot dress stands behind a small white wedding cake presented on a decorated table complete with a white tablecloth. Armed with a cake cutter and a seemingly complete lack of situational awareness, the guest cuts the cake, serves a few pieces, and then licks her fingers in victory.
The video, shockingly posted by the wedding guest herself, included the text: “Me! A guest at my friend’s wedding! Ignoring the brownie table and confidently cutting myself a slice of HER WEDDING CAKE thinking uh-oh! They forgot to serve it to everyone else!”
If the thought of a guest cutting the cake at your wedding is enough to cause steam to come out of your ears, don’t worry– the rest of the internet is on your side. Commenters wagged their finger at the wedding guest for such abysmal etiquette, and, as all things on the internet go, quickly moved on to the next viral video.
Reactions to the infamous red-dress wedding guest illuminate just how meaningful a wedding cake is. People who weren’t at the wedding – who didn’t even know the couple whose cake was being compromised – were outraged that the couple didn’t get their quintessential cake experience.
LadyCakes is a bakery in Cape Coral, Florida, that provides couples with beautiful cakes perfect for that quintessential wedding moment. Bess Charles is the founder of and head baker at LadyCakes, and she talked to us about her shop’s wedding cake offerings and gave couples advice for designing a cake for their big day.
“I started making cakes as a hobby, and after leaving corporate America, I was a stay-at-home mom for a little while,” Bess said. “I really needed a creative outlet in order to survive as a mom, so I started making cakes at home. It was just something I loved to do, and it grew from there.”
When Bess first started baking, she wasn’t the perfect baker, but her family and friends always enjoyed the cakes she brought to gatherings and functions. “I wasn’t very good at first, but I was really enjoying it,” she said. “Every occasion I would bring a cake, and then my friends started ordering cakes, and then friends of friends, and neighbors, and it grew from there.”
Bess grew to the occasion and began operating her small business from home. “I developed a really strong customer base and after about seven years of doing it from my house, I opened our first location here in Cape Coral,” she told us. “We opened in 2014 and I hired my husband as a baker. And from there, we’ve expanded three times.”
LadyCakes Bakery works with several resorts and hotels in Southwest Florida. Since Florida’s west coast is a prime destination wedding location, many hotels and resorts regularly host and coordinate weddings. LadyCakes is a trusted vendor and works with hotels and resorts to provide wedding couples gorgeous cakes.
“We were recently impacted by Hurricane Ian, which kind of devastated a lot of the Fort Myers Beach resorts,” Bess said. “I want to plug them because they’re really trying to rebuild business. We love working with them and helping with their weddings.”
LadyCakes frequently works with Pink Shell Beach Resort, The Tree House, DeRomo’s Banquet Hall, the Marriott Sanibel Harbour, and Sundial Beach Resort. Bess said supporting her local Southwest Florida community was very important to her as a small business owner, especially in the years after Hurricane Ian.
Bess and the team at LadyCakes can make couples’ wedding cake dreams come true, no matter what they’re made up of. LadyCake’s past wedding cake work has included understated “naked” cakes featuring berry ornamentation, classic black-and-white multilayered cakes, and beachy blue cakes that reflect Florida’s coastal vibe.
“Couples usually reach out to us six to eight months in advance,” Bess said. “Of course, we’ve worked with plenty of couples in less time, and certainly more time, but six to eight months is typical. Once they contact us, we schedule a consultation and tasting appointment.”
Couples meet Bess at the bakery for the initial appointment, where she learns what they’re looking for in their wedding cake and lets them try out a few of her flavors. “We custom create the wedding cakes to be perfect for them,” Bess said. “We take all the colors and designs and centerpieces and make sure the cake matches all those things.”
The LadyCakes team reaches out again 30 days before the wedding to finalize logistics and go over any lingering details. “At that point, we wrap up all those final planning details and finish coordinating with the florist, wedding planner, and any other vendors that we might need to get in touch with.”
Wedding trends come and go, but Bess said there are plenty of cake options that couples will be pleased with for years to come. “I think from now until the end of time, timeless wedding cakes will never go out of style,” she said. “A simple white wedding cake with flowers or a texture of some sort. For me, it’s just beautiful and will always be. In terms of trends, the half dress style or naked cake style have been in.”
While traditional cakes may be Bess’s favorite, that doesn’t mean she’s limited. LadyCakes is committed to making any kind of cake their clients love, and browsing the shop’s wedding cake photo gallery proves it. LadyCakes has made an Ohio State-themed wedding cake and a wedding cake featuring a red fondant pickup truck, front and center.
The process of finding trusted vendors can be stressful for couples planning a wedding, especially if they’re working with a time crunch or a limited budget. It’s important for couples to find vendors who not only offer a great service in the expected timeframe but also understand their individual needs. A great wedding cake vendor will get to know each client and work hard to match the cake with their wedding theme.
Luckily, LadyCakes loves making wedding cakes. “As far as decorating, I just love wedding cakes. They’re my favorite,” Bess told us. When asked about her favorite cake from the shop, she said, “Out of all of our flavors, my personal favorite is our vanilla cake with orange buttercream. It’s very popular here in, being that Florida’s fruit is an orange.”
Bess said she’s had a close connection with cooking and baking her entire life. “As a child, I baked a lot at home and my mother was a phenomenal cook,” she said. “My grandmother baked all the time and I have very fond memories in the kitchen at home. When I had my own kids and they started getting older, I wanted to create something that exemplified giving back and serving the people around you.”
This was Bess’s inspiration for her first children’s book, called “The Adventures of LadyCakes: Kindness is Sweet.” Bess said, “The story is about a little girl and her mother, and it’s loosely based around me and my mom. In the book, they bake at home and share their cupcakes with the local community, and it brings everyone together.”
When couples choose LadyCakes as their wedding cake baker, they’re not only supporting a small business, but choosing a service that always has the best interests of its community and clients in mind. “LadyCakes grew so much larger than I ever thought it would,” Bess said. “Never once did I think I would own a bakery, but here we are.”