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Leah Kakes High school student creates own business

January 26, 2014
Jessica Larsen - Managing Editor , Reinbeck Courier

Peanut Butter Cup: a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting and topped with a mini Reese's peanut butter cup. Maple Bacon: a maple flavored cupcake with maple butter cream frosting and topped with bits of caramelized hickory smoked bacon. Wedding Day: an almond flavored cupcake with almond butter cream frosting and topped with edible sugar pearls; these are all cupcakes made by Reinbeck resident Leah Holman.

Leah is the sixteen-year-old daughter of Troy and Stephanie Holman. Leah is a young entrepreneur that started her own business rightfully named Leah Kakes, a kupkake for any occasion. Leah discovered her passion for baking by taking a cake decorating class at Hobby Lobby. Before taking the class Leah spent time with her grandma making Christmas cookies, plus her aunt bought her baking utensils for a birthday.

Leah's business was not planned, Leah began making the cupcakes as a hobby. While driving in the car one day Leah and her mom had a conversation about Leah starting a business and what they would name it. Stephanie took Leah's cupcakes to work one day at Veridan Credit Union and soon discovered that the cupcakes were a hit. "It just snowballed from there," says Stephanie. Leah began making cupcakes for baby showers, birthdays, graduations etc. She received so many orders that she moved from her families kitchen to a basement kitchen at her grandparents Gene and Diane Barker's house. The basement kitchen offers Leah a lot more space to make her creations. The space was once her grandfather's workshop, but was transformed into a kitchen. "Grandma cleared out all the cupboards and the space is mine now," says Leah. It was initially her grandparents' idea to move her business to their basement. "I have no idea what I'd do now in our kitchen," explains Leah. There is just not enough room in her parents' house to make orders of over 1000 cupcakes.

Article Photos

Leah Holman in her kitchen displaying new cupcake creations.
Photo by Jessica Larsen

Leah has been balancing school and her business quite well, "It's not very difficult for me. Sometimes it creates problems and I have to miss a practice as the boys' basketball manager. I've learned that for work, you have to sacrifice some of your social life, but I've gained time management skills and I'm saving money for college," says Leah.

"I think it's awesome that someone her age takes initiative to have her own business and will take these skills someday when she gets out in the real world," says Stephanie.

Some new creations that Leah is working on is a red velvet cake with vanilla cream cheese frosting, champagne cupcakes and a chocolate cherry cupcake with cherry butter cream frosting topped with a cherry and chocolate ganache. Currently Leah Kakes has over twenty flavors available. Leah will also be making cookies for Valentine's Day orders. To place an order contact Leah on Facebook at or call her at 319.240.2962. Make sure to place your order five to seven days in advance. For large events make sure to contact her at least one month in advance. In addition Leah Kakes will be available this summer at local farmer's markets.



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