Katherine White, a soon-to-be senior at Pleanst Valley High School, founded Kat’s Cakes in February as a way to indulge her love of confection while fundraising for a cause that is dear to her sweet little heart. The proceeds from Kat’s Cakes go to the place where Kat wishes she were well enough to spend her time— the Butte Humane Society. She loves animals. I mean she seriously loves them. She has a super-genius hamster and two cats, plus she has a very close dog-friend. Also she plays the french horn and the tuba—awesome, right?

I visited with Kat and her mother at their home to hear about how Kat came up with her idea and how successful she’s been so far. I want you to know that I had to stare at a three-tiered Neapolitan cake made especially for the Synthesis the entire time, and it was really hard to concentrate.

How did you get started with the cakes thing?

“Well, I used to be on that academic Ivy [League] AP track but then it kind of blew up when I got sick,” says Kat.

Kat’s mom Karen Ann adds, “Katherine has a chronic illness; she can only really go to school part-time. Next year, her senior year, she’s going to be taking half online courses and half on-site. Because of the illness, she lacks energy. She wanted to do some volunteer work but really does best at home, and she loves baking, so she tried to combine those—so far she’s collected about $500. And right now [we] are subsidizing the ingredients,” which they consider a very worthy donation.

“My best friend and I recently had a lemonade stand bake-sale and we raised $150 to throw in the pot,” Kat says.      bake sale

So what do you love about baking?

“I’m really interested in food science; I always have been. I’d like to go to college and get a degree in food science and business. I think that would be a good foundation for potentially running some kind of food industry. After [college] maybe potentially going into culinary school and if that flops then I still have my degrees. I’d like to be prepared.

“I’ve experimented a lot; I’ve had a lot of failures. I had two failures yesterday,” Kat admitted. I asked her, what does a failure look like? “Mostly it’s too dry, not cooked enough, or it cracks in half. It’s not a baking chemical failure, it’s just…” she sighs, “fate.” She goes on to say, “Even when I don’t have clients, I bake anyway. And I don’t usually eat any of it. I’m allergic to chocolate,” she laughs.

“I’m hoping to get an internship at a bakery here in Chico really soon. I’ve looked into Upper Crust; I really hope that happens. The manager is really nice. And maybe that could be a job opportunity when I go to college too…wake up at 3am, go bake, take a nap, go to class. My plan for making friends in college: I’ll bake cookies. My parents said I could take the kitchen mixer,” she says, smiling like a little pixie.

Why the Humane Society?

“I really really do love animals. I love my cats, and also my hamster is very smart. He turns corners in his ball. He’s got the entire house mapped out. And I’m very attached to a dog named Dakota, he’s my friend’s dog. He’s bigger than I am; we make a good pair. He’s a very large Australian Shepherd. Yeah, he’s a good pal.”

Kat’s cakes are not only delicious, which I can attest to firsthand, but they are also beautiful. She is clearly talented, has impeccable style, and possesses a heart of gold. If you’re interested in ordering a cake, go to her Facebook page (facebook.com/pages/Kats-Cakes/).

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