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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Let them eat cake

Ely baker nears 100 sweet delights to honor the area’s essential workers

Keith Vandervort
Posted 5/21/20

ELY - Some people are baking more these days as they shelter at home out of caution over the coronavirus. A local baker has taken her love for this community and put it into icing. This week, Susan …

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Let them eat cake

Ely baker nears 100 sweet delights to honor the area’s essential workers

Posted

ELY - Some people are baking more these days as they shelter at home out of caution over the coronavirus. A local baker has taken her love for this community and put it into icing. This week, Susan Laine will be baking, decorating and delivering the 100th cake for people around Ely who work in essential services and businesses.
Laine was building quite a following here with her cake-making business, “…And I’ll Make the Cake,” but COVID-19 and the stay-at-home orders immediately put a stop to her endeavor. She moved to Ely about two years ago with her husband Curt, and has been making cakes for more than two decades. She wanted to stay in the kitchen despite the new challenges that came with the pandemic.
“When we were told to shelter in place, I had seven (cake) cancellations right off the bat,” she said this week at her Pattison Street home. “No one was having parties and everyone was just hunkering down. No one knew what was happening.”
The couple’s plan to open a new cake studio and graphic arts business on the top floor of the NAPA building was put on hold.
As featured in the Timberjay last Christmas, Susan was aware that she had her own “cake groupies,” and she created an online poll asking her social media followers to nominate an essential business or worker who deserved a cake. For a 24-hour period, she received suggestions for a person or organization to receive a cake.
“I literally received hundreds of votes,” she said. “Well, I thought about doing a second cake for the underdog who didn’t quite get the majority of votes but also deserved a cake. I figured I would make one or two cakes and that would be the end of it.”
Boy, was she wrong.
Immediately, Ely’s cake eaters stepped forward to offer donations to keep Susan in the kitchen doing what she does best.
“Who doesn’t like cake?” she asked. “Well it turned out that everybody wanted everyone else to have cake.”
She announced to her social media cake groupies that she had three winners, the Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital and pharmacy staff, Carefree Living senior housing facility, and the Ely School District that was responsible for providing child care for the community’s essential workers while also ramping up distance-learning procedures.
On Monday afternoon, Susan took a break from the kitchen and sat on her front porch sipping a glass of iced tea waiting for cake number 86 to be picked up. Every creation has the tagline, “LovELY” emblazoned on the cake along with a name or business logo.
Since mid-March, Susan has been baking around the clock to fill all her orders and told a visitor she is blown away by all the selfless donations from Ely and surrounding communities.
“That’s lovely. That’s what this is all about; it’s love and Ely. This place is so magical. Ely is just such an amazing place and when you get everybody together and they’re all happy and they all love each other they’re all off doing wonderful things for each other,” she said.
The cake effort has grown beyond her belief. She said her goal was to bake 100 cakes for the community’s essential workers. That benchmark will be reached this weekend, but her to-do list is much longer.
Susan is getting donations from all over the country. For example, a couple from Florida donated a cake to the Boathouse Brewpub and Restaurant because they got engaged at that business. Two sisters donated their allowance toward a cake for the G-Men Environmental Service waste removal business.
The LovELY movement is spreading. Susan was asked to make cakes for businesses in the Tower, Babbitt and Aurora areas, too. 
So, who gets the milestone 100th cake?
“I won’t know until it is done,” Susan said. “Schedules change and delays happen. I reached out to our Governor to let him know what we’re doing up here. He is so essential. Wouldn’t it be great if he could get that one?”
When pressed, Susan said she considered shutting her oven off on this effort at the end of May but declined to make that promise.
“Our friends, family and neighbors are out there every day putting the needs of Ely above everything else,” she said. “They keep us fed and keep us safe. They care for our children and pets. They do our taxes and they pick up our trash. We are blessed to have these dedicated people in our community. Maybe a piece of cake will take their mind off this virus, at least for a little while.”
Look for Susan Laine on Facebook, or call her at 218-235-8065.

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