LadyCakes in Cape Coral has sweet relationships with the local community
Randy Kambic – Published in the News-Press
From popular cartoon characters to beloved sports teams and hobbies, Bess Charles and her staff at LadyCakes Bakery have creatively customized countless cakes for birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, baby showers and many more special occasions. Scroll through her online gallery and you’ll find a dizzying array of wedding cakes in all sizes and designs.
Along with cookies and pies, the bakery offers more than 25 cupcake flavors that change daily or weekly with names like Country Girl, Doozie and Queen Anne’s Lace.
So when it comes to Valentine’s Day, it’s no surprise Charles is offering such love-themed treats as red velvet whoopie pies, decorated sugar cookies and heart-shaped death by chocolate and rose-topped cakes.
Charles has been operating LadyCakes for eight years. She founded and co-owns the Cape Coral store with her husband Jeff. And as busy as she is, Charles continues to find the time to put down her cooking utensils to serve delicious life lessons by mentoring the next generation of successful women and supporting local causes.
Last July, the pandemic forced a cancellation of a scheduled speech and meeting with members of the PACE Center for Girls to help motivate and inspire them — one of many nonprofit organizations that Charles has also donated fresh-made treats to.
“I was so disappointed,” she said, adding that both parties hope to reschedule it soon.
Charles wrote her first book, “The Adventures of LadyCakes: Kindness is Sweet,” in November 2019, but its distribution was stalled with the onset of the pandemic. The richly illustrated work — the first in a series that encourages and empowers young girls — is now available at area retailers where books are sold and on Amazon.
Charles also serves on the board of the nonprofit Better Together organization that finds advocates to keep families intact and improve foster care by reducing child abuse and neglect.
Some of the many other nonprofits she has donated cakes to include Cape Coral Animal Shelter, Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife, Icing Smiles, the Mighty Mikey Foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project.
Her passion for helping the community reached new heights with the recent Caring Through Cakes program that benefited the Cape Coral Caring Center. In December, customers were invited to drop off non-perishable cake ingredients at her store and participate in a sweepstakes prize giveaway. Collected materials – including 161 cake mix boxes, 112 icing cans, 31 bottles of oil “and tons of sprinkles and disposable pans!” – were donated to the nonprofit on Dec. 23 and a lucky participant won a dozen free cupcakes in a Facebook live event.
“The response was fantastic,” said Charles. The program “helped those who didn’t have funds to make their own holiday cakes.”
She loves to mix work — which encompasses three times the space compared to when she started her bakery — with supporting the community. She’ll be a featured speaker at the SWFL Goodwill Industries Micro-Enterprise program graduation ceremony on March 17.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the community helping me get to where I am now, so I feel it’s my duty to give back.”