Baker doesn’t let diabetes hold her back
By SHANNON KINLEY
County Staff Writer
and sugar do not mix; however, one baker in Owatonna is determined to prove that anyone can pursue their dream if they set their mind to it, despite the circumstances.
Thea Farrington, owner of Perfect Day Cakes, is originally from Stacy, Minnesota, and has lived in Owatonna for 10 years. Her passion for baking stems back to her childhood.
When Farrington was 4 years old, she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes and ever since, her dad was sure to make sugar-free sweets so that she could enjoy celebrations as much as other kids did.
“I got to see him bake a lot of recipes and I started actually baking with him and dumping in ingredients,” she said. “The more I realized how much my family did for me, the more it made me realize that just because you have a certain illness or disease doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do things you love. So I baked and I continued to bake.”
Farrington began experimenting with decorating when she was about 16 years old and made and decorated a cake for her then-boyfriend for making the varsity hockey team at a young age.
“I found all my mom’s decorating equipment that she had and used it and the cake was horrible. Looking back it was awful, but when you’re 16 and makiwng a cake, whatever comes out is the most amazing thing,” she said.
Over the years, through many experiments, Farrington taught herself to bake, and she decided to start her own business, Perfect Day Cakes, in September 2005, shortly after her daughter, Tatiana, was born.
“I wanted to show her you could do whatever you wanted, even if it was what I call ironic or people didn’t think you should do it,” she said. “As long as you had the skills, the knowledge, the talent, the desire and the perseverance that you could do it.”
When she started her business, she had a lot of people doubting her or asking why a diabetic was running a bakery, but she never lost the support of her parents.
Her business started out by renting kitchen space from other businesses, such as Custom Coffee and the Sportsman’s Grill in Owatonna. Eventually, she decided it was time to get her own space because her business was rampantly outgrowing the kitchens she was using.
After Custom Coffee closed, Farrington took advantage of the opportunity and actually ended up back where it all started. The shop opened its doors in February 2014.
“It is kind of crazy I ended up back where I started. Apparently, life really is a circle,” she laughed.
Perfect Day Cakes has a variety of items on a daily basis, including cakes, doughnuts, breakfast pastries, cupcakes, soup and bread, infused olive oil, black coffee, loose leaf and custom teas and other beverages.
Farrington also makes a variety of things for special occasions, such as weddings, birthdays and graduations. She even offers decorating birthday parties or private and group classes.
The salted caramel cupcake, the Touch of Country cupcake and the maple bacon long john are among some of the most popular items and Farrington always enjoys experimenting with recipes and creating flavors.
“Anytime I get to try a brand new recipe or a brand new pastry or something different is usually when I am in heaven,” she said.
Currently she has 32 cake flavors and over 70 cupcake flavors. The piece that Farrington enjoys the most is being able to put her creativity to use, and she really enjoys seeing her customer’s face after they have tried one of her desserts for the first time.
Now that Farrington has her own space, she is able to bake and spend time with her daughter.
Tatiana comes to the bakery every day after school to help out, whether it is baking with her mom, ringing up customers at the register, bussing tables, decorating with fondant or doing dishes.
“As of now, she says she wants to take over the bakery, but when she is 18, we will see,” she said.
Perfect Day Cakes has received several awards and recognitions, including Best Donut, Best Treat to Bring to the Office and Best Dessert from the Best of Southern Minnesota. Her business was also recognized by Weddingwire.com for its customer service and was nominated to be in the best 10 cupcakes in Minnesota by WCCO.
Having diabetes has made Farrington more aware and conscious of the dietary restriction some people have and she tries to make sweets so that everyone can enjoy them, whether it is vegan, dairy free, gluten free or sugar free.