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The Short Version: When it comes to satisfying your sweet tooth, Lark Cake Shop can deliver — literally. As of 2020, this popular L.A. bakery can receive orders online and deliver its goodies to a local customer’s doorstep within 72 hours. Lark Cake Shop has become famous for its custom cakes that can bring extra flavor to any occasion. Whether you’re planning a birthday, a date night, or a wedding, you can count on Lark Cake Shop to bring that extra wow factor with its memorable and delicious creations.
John Hensley was working in the television industry when the Great Recession hit in 2008, and he found himself at a crossroads in his career. He wanted to spend more time with his family and be his own boss, so he began looking for small businesses up for sale in Los Angeles.
Things took a turn for the sweeter when he discovered Lark Cake Shop, a beloved Silver Lake bakery founded “on a lark” in 2007. The original owner had used his family recipes to tantalize people’s taste buds, but he was overwhelmed by the demands of starting a small business from scratch.
Although John had no experience with baking, he knew a great cake when he tasted it and saw a lot of potential for Lark Cake Shop. He took over the business in 2011 and began raising its profile in the Los Angeles area.
Today, Lark Cake Shop has two bakery locations — one in Silver Lake and one in Pasadena — where it sells traditional cakes, vegan cakes, and icebox cakes that range in size from six inches to 16 inches in diameter.
Lark Cake Shop also offers a customization option for folks celebrating a special occasion. Its decorators are masters at turning just about any cake vision into a delicious reality, and all they ask is a photo or drawing for inspiration.
Over the last year, Lark Cake Shop has adapted to the new normal by instituting an online ordering and delivery service that has become extremely popular. Now L.A. couples and families can order a special treat from the bakery, set an afternoon delivery date, and celebrate birthdays, holidays, and relationship milestones without leaving home.
“Our products touch everybody’s lives,” John said. “A lot of quality and effort goes into it, and it really warms my heart that we can provide cakes for every community in L.A.”
The coronavirus pandemic has presented a significant challenge to small businesses in the restaurant industry, wedding industry, and events industry — but Lark Cake Shop has used a spoonful of ingenuity to continue serving the local community through lockdowns.
On March 21, California instituted a statewide stay-at-home order that meant many customers couldn’t go to Lark Cake Shop, so Lark Cake Shop came to them and created online ordering and on-demand delivery services to get its cakes into the community.
“We had to turn on a dime and implement delivery services quickly,” John said. “Within 24 hours of the stay-at-home order, we had a new website up and running.”
Changing business models from in-person pickup to doorstep delivery was by no means easy, but the nimble Lark Cake Shop team made it look like a piece of cake.
John said one of the benefits of switching to the delivery system was being able to see how widespread Lark Cake Shop’s customers are. The delivery drivers have visited just about every neighborhood in the L.A. area. The bakery’s signature cakes are fairly priced and can appeal to people from every socioeconomic background.
The icebox cakes are a particular favorite on the Lark Cake Shop menu. Icebox cakes hearken to a tradition in the 1920s of stacking cookies and icing into a frozen dessert. The bakers use fresh whipped cream to hold the thin chocolate or gingersnap wafer cookies together into a frozen cake or individual cupcakes.
“There are seven layers of whipped cream in between the cookies,” John told us. “It’s a mouthful of deliciousness.”
Lark Cake Shop can deliver icebox cakes, cupcakes, or its signature cakes within one day of a person making an online order. Custom cakes require at least 72-hour notice. The delivery service has been a game-changer for families celebrating special occasions and couples looking forward to a relationship milestone.
Lark Cake Shop’s location in Silver Lake is currently open for in-person pickup as well as delivery, but its location in Pasadena has been closed since March. John said he’s hopeful that the Pasadena location will be able to reopen safely in the near future.
Lark Cake Shop has perfected the recipe for many stunning creations, and it can take any type of celebration to the next level upon request. The bakery team is always ready to innovate with icing and decorate a custom cake for a party or a wedding.
Customers can order a custom cake with just about any design under the sun. The bakery only asks for at least one photo that shows what you have in mind. Over the years, Lark Cake Shop has fielded all types of requests from globe-shaped cakes to superhero sheet cakes.
Couples often choose a design that means something to their relationship — it could be a movie they saw on their first date or a hobby they share — to make the dessert something they won’t forget.
“The decorating is where the magic happens,” John said. “We have real professionals who take our recipes and turn them into a work of art.”
John said he doesn’t believe jacking up prices for wedding cakes is good business, so Lark Cake Shop has a transparent pricing system for all its custom tiered cakes. The prices are the same whether the cakes are for a wedding, a birthday, or just for fun. The only difference is that couples ordering wedding cakes receive a bit more personalized attention.
Engaged couples can fill out an online form to request a free wedding cake tasting and consultation with Lark Cake Shop. John is passionate about providing the perfect wedding cake to fit a couple’s vision and budget, and he can offer an array of sizes, flavors, and decoration options to satisfy their needs.
Lark Cake Shop bakes nearly 200 wedding cakes every year, and he takes a personal interest to make sure each cake is exactly what the engaged couple wants.
“Every week, I wait for the delivery folks to text ‘wedding cake one is there’ and ‘wedding cake two is there,’ until they’ve all made it safe and on time,” John said with a laugh. “Then I can rest easy knowing everyone has their cake.”
Lark Cake Shop has a wonderful reputation when it comes to wedding cakes. It currently has a five-star rating on WeddingWire, and many of its happy couples end up being repeat customers for birthdays, anniversaries, and other relationship celebrations in the future.
Lark Cake Shop started in 2007 with a bunch of family cake recipes and a dream, and it has grown into a local sensation by staying true to those delicious roots. John has let the quality of Lark’s menu speak for itself, and the menu highlights the classic flavors that customers crave most.
Lark Cake Shop has created decadent cakes and cupcakes that are perfectly suited to any relationship milestone from a low-key date night to an elegant wedding reception.
Plus, as of 2020, Lark Cake Shop can bring its craveworthy creations straight to your door and instantly glam up a night at home. By meeting customers where they’re at, Lark Cake Shop has added a new layer of enjoyment and convenience to its bakery business, and John said he intends to keep the delivery services going through the pandemic and beyond.
“It’s hard to tell what the future holds right now,” John said. “We’re just taking it day by day and doing our best to make sure our customers are happy.”
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