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The perfect recipe for CAKEability

Caroline Savage demonstrates proper piping form at a cake decorating class on January 13, 2018. Sarah Hansen / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 6
Pinterest-worthy ideas come to life in the CAKEability bakeshop. Courtesy CAKEability2 / 6
Custom Doctor Who birthday cake. Courtesy CAKEability3 / 6
"The ratcatcher" was Caroline Savage's contest submission for the Minnesota Renaissance cupcake battle. Courtesy CAKEability4 / 6
Caroline Savage shares her love of frosting with the community. She teaches cake decorating classes at the high school through community education. Sarah Hansen / RiverTown Multimedia5 / 6
A delectable kiss cake designed for the sixth anniversary of Salon With A Twist. Courtesy CAKEability6 / 6

Editor’s note: This is the second in a periodic series of stories about area residents’ lives outside the traditional work day.

Caroline Savage is so close to getting her custom cake and cupcake shop off the ground, she can taste it.

CAKEability will have an eclectic mix of furniture and a simple menu of cupcakes, coffee and tea. It's the kind of place where people will immediately feel warm and welcome. It'll be like seeing an old friend, reading a great book and laughing from your gut all at once. Essentially, a perfect reflection who Savage is.

But for now, until the money comes through, Savage will continue to make cake masterpieces out of her home.


Savage has been a creator for her whole life. She lucked into the art of making cakes 25 years ago when her oldest daughter turned one. Every special occasion since then (for her three children, extended family and large group of friends) has become an opportunity to develop her talent and her business.

"It's definitely way beyond a hobby," Savage said. "It was hobby back when my daughter was 10 years old. It's definitely something I want to see come to fruition ... now I'm in the mindset where it's like, okay, I'm just going to keep working towards it, and when it's supposed to happen it'll happen."

Add dry ingredients

Savage worked at the County Market grocery store (now Runnings) for four years in the bakery making and decorating cakes. Today she's the general manager at Dairy Queen where she maintains her food safety license, decorates cakes, manages inventory and trains staff.

She said the food industry, with its opportunities for human interaction and creative expression, is where she feels at home.

"I tried the factories but it just about killed me," Savage remembered. "I worked in a factory for almost four years, and the day that I pulled into the parking lot bawling my eyes out because I could not stand walking in there one more day I turned around and went back home. I was like, I can't do this anymore."

Set timer

Multiple setbacks over the years have forced Savage to reconsider her dream of opening a CAKEability storefront. Family emergencies have devoured the savings for her business. A dream location she planned to move into fell through the cracks. Still others, less perfect (but at least available), have been rented out from under her.

"I've hit so many rocks and bumps in the road the last few years ... and it really brought me to a place where I was like, I don't know if I want to do this anymore," Savage said. "Do I want to fight this fight anymore? And the end result was, oh hell yah."

Cool completely

Her clients today request Pinterest-worthy cakes that most home bakers would turn into #NailedIt cautionary tales. But Savage is a trusted go-to creator and her CAKEability following on Facebook continues to grow.

"I started charging for it and people started calling me and now people are tagging me on Facebook," Savage said. "I just got another two clients today because they keep seeing my name on Facebook. It's blowing my mind actually."

Serves 8-10

Mirror glazed cakes, multi-tiered wedding cakes, sculpted fondant towers of cake and classic sheet cake, all decked to perfection in the CAKEability home kitchen. And underneath, triple chocolate fudge, carrot cake, red velvet and white chocolate raspberry are the top cake flavors.

But it's not just the baking and decorating Savage loves, her favorite part about the work is talking to clients. Teasing out the right cake for the occasion, especially when the client isn't sure what they want, is a fun challenge for her.

"It's just the hurdle of getting the down money," Savage said. "I know once I get to that point I'm going to be off and running. I don't have any doubt in that. I know I am because I just feel like this is what I'm supposed to do. But it's just getting to that."