Amateur Baker Turns Pro, Builds a Successful New Business

Kathy Hotaling measures corn syrup for a recipe.
Kathy Hotaling measures corn syrup for a recipe.

It started with a carrot cake.

“It’s such a good recipe,” said Kathy Hotaling of Fulton. “Everyone had it and said, ‘you should open a bakery’.”

So she did.

Kathy’s Cakes and Specialty Treats opened on Cayuga St. in a part of the former Montgomery Ward/Goldberg’s Furniture building that developer Doug Caster is turning into apartments.

The store features a rotating selection of baked treats such as cookies, brownies, pies and specialties. It also provides custom-decorated cakes for special events.

“I always enjoyed baking,” she said. She honed the skill during 8 years of being a stay-at-home Mom, while people kept telling her how good her baked goods were. Finally, she took the hint and began to organize a bakery.

Hotaling said she gathered and tested recipes for a year while she put the business together.

“The first day, I was overwhelmed. I was like, ‘Wow!'”

And business has stayed steady since then. Downtown office workers and senior citizens from Towpath Towers come in for a pastry and coffee, while others come in to ask for something special.

“The response to people ordering cakes has been wonderful,” she said. “To see their faces, to have a child come in, and the smile from ear to ear when they see their cake is just wonderful.”

And if you’ve got a special recipe but don’t have time to make it yourself, Hotaling said she’ll make it for you. Just bring in the recipe.

It’s a labor intensive business. The store employs at least five part-time staff. It’s also a family affair. Hotaling’s mother-in-law works part-time, her aunt keeps the books and her daughter is, she said, “learning how to bake”.

She hopes to add deli products soon so folks can get not just dessert, but a meal, too.

The hours can be long — she went from not having an alarm clock to training herself to get up before the alarm goes off at 4:00 a.m. — but the smile on her face as she talks about her business lets you know it’s worth it. “I absolutely love it,” she said.


  1. I just ordered a cake from Kathy and it was amazing!!! Pick up time was pushed back father than I would have liked but, she made it right. Everyone at the party raved about it and now my daughter is having her make a wedding cake too.
    I would love to see her open a coffe bar to go with the bake goods.We need a good place to have a good cup of coffee with our cake.
    Don’t miss the chance to ceck her and her business out you won’t be disapointed.

  2. I would highly recommend any baked goods from Kathy. I just ordered half moon cookies for a bridal shower that I hosted and she added a little flair to the cookies by decorating them to go along with the colors of the shower. She is very flexible and will make any baked good to make your special event or daily treat delicious!!!

  3. Since moving to Fulton 3 years ago I have really enjoyed living here but the only thing that was missing was a bakery. Now not only have they opened one but an excellent one! The cinnamon rolls, brownies , half moons, cupcakes and cakes I have gotten have been delicious.

  4. I have chosen Kathy’s Cakes to do my wedding cake. Though my wedding hasn’t happened yet, I wanted to touch on what you can expect from this business, besides the baked goods. When I phoned about a wedding consult, I set up an appointment with Kathy. Upon arriving, my fiance and I were joyously pleased to be presented with a full tray of sample cakes to test. Every single sample we tasted was delicious! Aside from this, everyone treated us wonderfully. They were attentive, well prepared, and gave suggestions that you could tell were backed up with wisdom about the cake making process. We all sat down and a very vivid cake model was drawn up for us and the whole time we went over our ideas, thorough notes were taken and we never once felt that they weren’t really hearing us. It was more than I could ask for for a first impression. Not to mention, the price of our dream cake was very reasonable. We went home that day and talked on and on about the great service we received, making sure to tell our family members. I now have no stress or worries about this one area of my wedding day. I feel secure and sure that Kathy’s Cakes will make us a beautiful, tasty wedding cake. Even without having tasted our cake yet, based on their customer service, I would recommend them to anyone.

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