Latter-day Saint mom Courtney Rich didn’t start out as a baker. But after making a cake for her son’s first birthday, she was hooked! Now the owner of Cakes by Courtney, Rich not only makes and sells cakes but also teaches cake-making classes, allowing her to share her passion, talents, and faith with others. We sat down with her to find out more about what drives her passion.
What is your favorite part about decorating cakes?
The whole process, really! Taking an idea from a sketch in my notebook to putting that idea on a cake and seeing it come to life is so satisfying! Sometimes it’s simple and modern and other times it’s over-the-top and intricate. No matter the design and the time that went into it, I finish with the same feeling of pride and satisfaction. I walk away thinking, “I did that!”
I also love how therapeutic making and decorating cakes is. Taking the time to focus on something creative, something that’s just mine for a moment, has always brought me so much peace and joy.
Are there any gospel principles that apply to baking?
So many! I find more and more every day too. One that immediately comes to mind is patience. Oh, the patience you have to have for baking! We often decide we want to make and eat a cake immediately, but successfully baking and decorating a cake takes time. If you want a cake to come out the right way and taste as delicious as you dream it to taste, you can’t rush the process. Ingredients have to get to room temperature before you make the batter. The cake needs to cool and be chilled before you can decorate it. You need to give yourself time to apply a crumb coat and a final coat of frosting. It just simply can’t be done quickly.
I know for me, there have been so many times in my life that I have felt that same sense of urgency to receive blessings that I’m asking our Heavenly Father for. There have been moments that I’ve tried to rush the process of prayer, fasting, temple worship, and even my faith in order to see the blessings I desire so badly. However, we know that’s simply not how it works (not usually for me, anyway). The Lord requires patience on our part. Patience and trust in the process. And I’ve seen that when I have been patient with the process and have done a more thorough job on my part, I not only see those blessings come into my life but I’m more appreciative of my relationship with the Lord and His timing.
What advice do you have for young Latter-day Saint moms with kids at home who want to pursue a business idea or passion?
Do it! Just start! Your ideas may be so big and grand that it feels daunting, but don’t let that hold you back from starting. I live for to-do lists. Get started by doing something toward your goal every day, even if it’s just for 10 or 15 minutes. Then check it off your list and plan something new for the next day. I love the quote that goes something like, “Success doesn't come from doing things occasionally, it comes from doing things consistently.” If consistently pursuing your passion for 10 minutes a day is all you can get to right now, then give those 10 minutes everything you’ve got. With time and patience, you’ll be able to devote more time and more energy to your passion as you enter different phases in your life.
And don’t waste a minute of your time comparing your efforts and work to that of someone else. It’s simply that: a waste. There is room for all of us to do what we love and to share it with others. Focus on your goals and don’t lose sight of them in the noisy world around us.
What is something not many people know about you?
I spent over a decade in media consulting, traveling the country moderating focus groups for television shows, talent, websites, video games, and media marketing campaigns.
I also had a lisp until I was about 10 or 11, when I started speech therapy. However, I made my first television appearance when I was about 4 in an Easter commercial for a television station in Pittsburgh.
What is your favorite cake/frosting flavor combination?
This is honestly the hardest question for me to answer and I’ve been asked it more than any other baking question. I have several cakes I love and would call favorites. Currently, my Creme Brûlée cake and my Lemon Ricotta Olive Oil Cake with strawberry basil compote and lemon mascarpone frosting are at the top of my list. Not far behind them are my Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake and my Biscoff Cake.
What baking item do you believe should be in every kitchen?
I think the most important item to have in your kitchen to set yourself up for the most success is the right type of pans. I don’t think people realize what a difference good baking pans make to their baked goods. You want a pan that is light in color and is anodized properly (which means that the metal has been made to perfectly distribute the heat throughout the pan). The brand I use and always recommend is Fat Daddio.
For decorating cakes, I think it’s nice to have a turntable, a cake scraper, and straight and offset icing spatulas.
Have you had any missionary opportunities through making cakes?
Yes! And if you would have told me 5 years ago when I started my blog that I’d have missionary opportunities from making and sharing cakes with the world, I would have thought you were crazy. I really never expected to have missionary moments doing what I’m doing, but I’m so incredibly grateful for the moments I’ve felt inspired to share gospel messages or uplifting thoughts on my social media and for the resulting opportunities to answer questions about being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or to bear my testimony of the gospel to a complete stranger via email or Instagram DMs. If nothing else, each of these moments has helped strengthen my testimony that we are here to do the Lord’s work, and as we diligently pursue a relationship with Him, He will help guide in our efforts to further His work—even through cake!
What is the best part of being a mother?
That’s like asking me my favorite cake! There are so many! I love being able to watch the joy in their faces when they realize they can do hard things. I love witnessing their testimonies grow. I love hearing them pray. I love when we laugh together. I even love when we cry together. I love learning from them. I love the person they’ve helped me become.
The year 2020 marks 200 years since the First Vision. What does the Restoration of the gospel mean to you?
The Restoration of the gospel means everything to me. I truly can’t imagine my life without the gospel of Jesus Christ and the knowledge and testimony of a true and living prophet here in the latter days to lead and guide us. I will forever be grateful to the prophet Joseph Smith for having the desire to know which church was true. And not just for having the desire, but really, for acting on the desire to know—for turning to God and asking for help. Because of that one act, and many more incredible acts of faith on his part and the part of many others, we are able to live our lives with the knowledge of the restored gospel, which helps us better understand Heavenly Father’s great plan for us. That knowledge gives me hope, it gives me peace, and it fills me with joy.
Hear more from Rich in All In episode 66: "My Recipe for Battling Depression—Christ and Cake"