Beautiful cakes are works of art at Coborn’s Bakery in Delano

January 14, 2008

By Jen Bakken
Staff Writer

Cakes, cookies, donuts, and breads are just a few of the delicious items available from the bakery at Coborn’s.

Their fresh poppyseed kolaches are a popular treat, along with jumbo muffins, cinnamon sticks, gourmet cookies, seven-grain hamburger buns, and DeFrance bread items, all made here in Delano.

“My favorite is definitely the onion hamburger buns,” said bakery manager Michelle Alger.

Alger has lived in Delano her entire life, and working close to home gives her more time to care for her four boys, Matthew, Mitchell, Marshall, and Mackenzie.

Starting part time when Coborn’s opened its doors six years ago, she is now full time.

With two full-time employees and four part-time employees, the bakery is open from 5:30 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Children who come to the store with their parents are able to have a free cookie from the bakery.

Many times each day, employees are putting smiles on little faces when they hand over the yummy cookies.

“The kids love that,” Alger said. “Cake decorating, though, is the most time-consuming part of our bakery, and is a big part of our business.”

Brenda Davis is the full-time cake decorator at Coborn’s, and has worked for the company for four years.

Davis has lived in Delano 13 years with her husband, Mark, who is employed at Delano Municipal Utilities. The couple has two children, Levi and Sabrina.

“I had always decorated my own cakes,” Davis said, “but this is my first job doing it.”

She feels that attending art school years ago helps her with this creative position.

Always trying to learn, she has taken a few cake decorating classes, but admits sometimes, trial and error is the best way to learn.

There are many cakes to choose from in the bakery, and two are very popular right now – the Hannah Montana cakes and the princess castle cake. These types of cakes come with directions, which are usually easy to follow.

Sometimes, assembly is required with cakes like the princess castle cake, which has turrets to attach to each side.

Alger and Davis are always open to new ideas or suggestions, and will try to make almost any cake you may desire.

“We’ll try to do almost anything,” Davis said. “I really enjoy when I can be creative and add my own flare to a cake and do my own thing.”

Making 20 to 40 cakes per week keeps Davis busy, but she enjoys her job, and considers it a creative outlet.

A typical cake takes 10 to 20 minutes to complete, and the bakery goes through about 75 pounds of frosting each day.

From April through the fall is when this cake decorator has her busiest time of the year, and she also works many weekends.

With weddings, graduations, and First Communions, the demand for uniquely-decorated cakes is high.

“Mistakes happen though,” she said. “They aren’t usually hard to fix or redo. We always try to make customers leave happy and make it right.”

Wedding cakes are some of the most rewarding projects for Davis. Starting with the creative planning and decorating process to the delivery and set up, it is rewarding for her to see the finished product.

With years under her belt as a full-time cake decorator, she has made many different types of cakes including, a luau pig, flip-flop, and gumball machine.

One of her favorites was a pirate treasure chest complete with jewels, which took her over 45 minutes to complete.

“The best part,” smiled Davis, “is to see the kids’ expressions when they see their cake.”

Many times, adults and children stop by the bakery counter to watch her in action, and this doesn’t bother her.

“I used to do caricatures and had people watching me,” she said. “So, I really don’t mind.”

Admirers often watch in wonder as she mixes colors of frosting and turns a cake into a work of art.