About Cretia Cakes
LaCretia's love for Southern cuisines and desserts began early, inspired by her Southern parents and their love of Soul Food and its traditions. When LaCretia is asked how she describes herself, she says, "I'm a Northern City Girl grounded by her Southern roots".
She was born and raised on the West side of Indianapolis, right down the street from the Indianapolis 500. Before she started to bake herself, she watched her older sisters whip up baked goods in the kitchen. She attended All Saints Catholic school. Often, the school would have bake sales to raise money. She would bake sweet treats for the bake sale and was dubbed Ms. Betty Crocker by her friends. She entered a yearly hobby show at school, where she made her first custom cake with the help of her cousin in the fifth grade. After elementary school, she went to Cardinal Ritter High School and later transferred to Ben Davis High School, where she continued her food classes and developed her passion for baking.
After graduating high school, LaCretia thought it would be beneficial to have a career in Corporate America rather than in baking. She went to school and received her degree in Accounting. As a hobby, she signed up for a cake decorating class at Cake Create, a local cake and craft supply store. She made cakes for family and friends. She would make a custom cake whenever there was a family birthday or special occasion, and people began referring to her cakes as "Cretia Cakes".
When LaCretia faced a health challenge, she decided Accounting was not her forever. After coming from a Doctor's appointment, she decided to enroll in the Culinary Program specializing in Baking and Pastry Arts at Ivy Tech Community school.
Her first instructor was Chef Paul Vida, who instilled in her a passion for pastry art. You could tell he loved what he did, especially in the Yeast bread class. Another instructor that was influential to her was Chef Linda Shonk. Chef Shonk created Choco Pan and was also seen on the Food Network Cake Challenge. LaCretia joined American Culinary Federation as a Junior Chef while still in school. After she graduated, she switched from a Junior Chef to a Professional Chef.
While in school, she worked at Just Desserts under Chef Goudi, a chef instructor at Ivy Tech. While there, she gained knowledge of wholesale baking and how manufacturing worked. She also worked at Panera Bread as a baking assistant. She interned under her mentor, Marsha Brooks of Ms Sweet B's on the Westside of Indy.
LaCretia earned her license and worked out of a licensed daycare in 2004 owned by Randy Lane. What would she call it... Cretia Cakes? The opportunity presented itself to open a retail bakery in 2006 while in school on West 16th Street, three minutes from The Indianapolis 500. She worked with Mr. Greenspan, who worked at the Indy 500. She later made a custom racecar cake for one of the driver's birthdays. With her family's help, she built the business by attending events such as bridal shows, expos, and the like. Then the bottom fell from under her during the House Market Crash in 2008. Her husband, Angelo, "The Baker's Man", lost his job as a drafter. He worked for a local builder who was forced to close their doors. It was then that Angelo became more active in Cretia Cakes. When one door closes, another opens.
She is very proud of her accomplishments thus far. In 2010, she worked with Hoosier Park and Casino in Anderson, Indiana. She was responsible for all sorts of baked goods for the central kitchen and made monthly birthday cakes for them. She is also recognized as a certified minority woman-owned business by the state of Indiana. LaCretia was awarded a contract with the 2012 Super Bowl XLVI in her hometown. She and her family made over 2000 cookies to represent each team. In 2013, she returned to Ivy Tech now as an Adjunct Pastry Instructor.LaCretia and her husband, Angelo, traveled to Florida to visit the Home Shopping Networks corporate office. They pitched one of her Southern-style cakes, and HSN loved it. Later, she was asked to participate in HSN American Dreams Academy in Washington, D.C., along with her husband. At the academy, she asked their lawyers and merchandisers many questions and learned shipping logistics. She is also involved in philanthropic work with Death by Chocolate, The Children's Museum, and The Indianapolis Zoo.