Baker Katie Hill talks about the inspiration behind her baking talents.
Katie Hill admits she used to hate baking. The Woodbury resident said it wasn’t something she found interesting and didn’t understand the science behind it.
Now, the owner of Mama Bear’s Sweets, an in-home cottage bakery, turned a hobby into a business and discusses the talent she loves sharing with others.
We asked Hill what got her started in the trade, what inspires her and what her most unique request has been since she started baking about seven years ago.
How old were you when you started baking?
It wasn’t until after my second child was born that I took an interest in baking. I started a journey to become a healthier person, both physically and mentally. Creating foods from scratch and knowing what I was consuming and what my family was eating became very important to me. I started a little hobby and passion of making healthy toddler foods for my kids and some of my friends’ kids. But I felt something was missing in my passion. It wasn’t until I had a request to make a healthy cake that I discovered the art of decorating the things I baked. I fell instantly in love. I went on to later create my business, Mama Bear’s Sweets, which has two sections: My main page, which has indulgent sweets, and Healthy Bear, which has healthy- and nutrition-packed treats.
What was the first thing you baked? How did it turn out?
The first things I started baking were muffins. They were always hit or miss for a while. But it was a great way to play with recipes and begin to understand the interactions different ingredients have with each other.
The first cake I baked at my business was a two-tier casino themed cake. It turned out well and was very tasty. However, it had no cake supports. It’s a miracle that it didn’t collapse.
Describe how your passion for baking progressed through time?
Fear often keeps us from taking steps toward our goals. I’ve been paralyzed by fear before and it’s hard to make progress when feeling this way. Facing these fears has allowed for me the biggest growth, and in turn … a greater passion. There were many times I wanted to end my business, as I thought it would be easier if I did. I decided to keep preserving and developing it into something I can be proud of. I am so glad I did. I know the rest of my journey won’t always be easy, but it’s encouraging when you discover that you can do hard things.
What inspired the name of your business?
My business name was formed from the love and compassion I have for being a mother. My three kids are my world. If you look closely at my logo, you can see three hearts in the bear representing each of them.
What inspires you to bake?
I am continuously inspired to bake by all my amazing customers. The ability to share with others a little piece of my heart through food keeps me going and striving to do better. I am so blessed to have such support from so many people. In addition, the baking community is such a loving and welcoming group to be a part of. We became family. I am also inspired by my own personal growth. As someone who experiences a lot of anxiety, I have found that baking really helps me to be present and grounds me. I am thankful for this outlet.
What is your favorite item to bake?
I like baking a lot of things. But in all honesty, it’s the decorating and packaging, and creating new flavors and ideas that I love the most about the actual baking part. Cakes and cupcakes are the main thing I do, and the creative freedom and excitement I get is why I love it so much. I also really enjoy creating menus for sales and events.
What is one of the most unique baking/ order requests you’ve ever received?
The most unique order I had was a gender reveal cake for a cockatiel. These birds need a blood test to determine their gender. So, the vet called me after the blood test was run and gave me the news that it was a girl. I filled the cake piñata style with pink sprinkles. When the customer cut into the cake at their party, pink sprinkles came pouring out revealing the gender.
What about your baking sets you apart from others?
There are so many amazing bakers in Minnesota. I feel blessed to be able to observe and learn from them. I pride myself in using quality ingredients, carefully creating each item and offering delicious and unique flavors—I offer over 50 different options of cake flavors, frostings and fillings. My customers are important to me, and I want to be able to help cultivate a whole experience from taste to packaging.
Mama Bear’s Sweets also highly prioritizes eco-consciousness. I strive for extremely minimal waste and the use of Earth-friendly products both in my business and in my personal life.
Easy and Delicious Chocolate Buttercream
- 2 sticks butter (softened)
- 4 Tbsp. cocoa
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- water, milk or heavy cream to thin
Place butter in stand mixer with a paddle attachment, and beat until the butter becomes white and fluffy. Add vanilla, and mix. Add powdered sugar, cocoa and a few tablespoons of water, milk or heavy cream, and mix. Keep adding a little bit of liquid at a time until you get a fluffy and spreadable buttercream.