When a celebrity in Texas flies you and one of your custom cakes to his residence aboard a private jet, that’s an obvious sign you’ve made it as a baker.
Kristina Lavallee and her husband and business partner, Kirby Lavallee, recently went through that surreal experience, which they chronicled on the Instagram account of their Tampa bakery, The Cake Girl. During the pandemic, prominent talk radio host Glenn Beck became a huge fan of the Crave’n Cup, a “cake in a jar” product made by the Lavallees to help fuel sales at a time when custom-cake orders were down — sharply. He became so enamored with the Lavallees’ confections that he had them make a custom cake for a September party celebrating the birthdays of his wife and father-in-law.
“That was a really cool cake to make,” Kristina says, “and a big accomplishment.”
Beck’s father worked in the bakery business, so he has high standards when it comes to satisfying his sweet tooth. So does Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette, who ordered a custom GOAT cake (get it?) for star quarterback Tom Brady’s 45th birthday in August. That sweet creation got so much attention, Kristina says, that she received another order for the exact same cake.
“I’ve noticed that a lot of people are wanting these very challenging cakes more and more,” she says, “like cars and all these things. We’ve seen an increase [in business] because of all the things we’ve been exposed to, as far as famous people and all that stuff.”
Kirby and Kristina now see the potential for The Cake Girl to expand and possibly even franchise nationwide. During the pandemic, they shipped Crave’n Cups across the country, and with the media exposure that comes with making cakes for Beck and Brady, their brand has only gotten bigger.
“That’s definitely something we want to see in the future,” Kristina says. “We’re working on that.”
But first, the couple plan to take some well-earned time off after a hectic couple of years. They recently bought a RV and have been taking it on weekend trips to local spots such as Fort De Soto in southern Pinellas County, where they relax with their two pit bulls.
“Vacation more,” is her response when asked about her goals for the next decade. “More time for me and Kirby, more family time. We’re trying to see if we can go out of state, but we’ll probably have to plan that for next year. It's been hard to take time off, but we’re planning on it.”
Name: Kristina Lavallee
City of residence: Tampa
Employer: The Cake Girl
Title: The Cake Girl
Birthplace: Puerto Rico
Years in the area: Nine
Marital status/children: Married to Kirby Lavallee
Alma mater/degree: University of Central Florida/bachelor's degrees in hospitality management and food service and restaurant management
Are you working from the company office, home office or hybrid? Working daily in our Tampa bakery
What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had? Or the weirdest task you’ve ever been assigned? We’ve had some pretty interesting cakes over the years … some X-rated that we can’t mention here.
What’s your top tip for being productive? Set the bar high and hold yourself to very high standards. By setting high standards, every day you will push yourself to achieve your goals and objectives. I think you also have to write down your goals; that way, they are easily referenced and tracked.
If you could have a side hustle, what would it be? Something with dogs
What’s your favorite off-hours activity? Spending time with my fur babies in our new RV
What's the most significant item on your life bucket list — and what's keeping you from completing it? Meeting The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) — the opportunity for it to happen.
At what percentage on your phone to you start to get low battery anxiety? My phone is always on low battery … LOL.
What are the top three apps used on your smartphone? Instagram, TikTok and WhatsApp
What's your go-to music genre, band or act to be inspired? Pop music
Who would play you in the movie of your life? Jennifer Lopez
Where is your happy place? Hanging out anywhere with the family
Describe yourself in three words: Sweet, loving and humble
Who is your mentor for your career and why? My husband Kirby. He is my biggest fan and pushes me to be better daily.
What are the biggest lessons you have learned from your mentor? Be fearless; go big or go home; and always put 110% into everything you do and take care of those who help you along the way!