Bakery giving away over 1,000 cakes to seniors missing graduation festivities
The sweet surprise is bringing joy to graduates during an uncertain time.
The coronavirus pandemic has put many milestone celebrations on hold. From weddings to birthday parties, families are now finding ways to enjoy big days remotely — or canceling the festivities all together.
For millions of students in the class of 2020, a season of graduation parties is being replaced with virtual celebrations or quiet evenings at home.
To make the loss of those big bashes a little sweeter, one baker in Minnesota has found a sweet way to make local kids feel special.
Last month, Hanisch Bakery and Coffee Shop in the town of Red Wing decided to make a custom cake for every graduating senior at nearby Red Wing High School.
The inspiration for the kind deed came from an unlikely source. In April, Bill Hanisch, the owner of Hanisch Bakery, was watching a coronavirus pandemic briefing. After discussing statewide lockdowns, the governor of Minnesota started talking about Red Wing and, according to Hanisch, “He just had kind words to say about our town.”
While watching the conference, Hanisch felt motivated to bring some joy to the students he now knew would be missing out on a special day. “I just knew we had to do something for these kids graduating from Red Wing High School,” he said. Hanisch himself graduated from Red Wing in 1988.
He called his decorator and posted a message on Facebook, letting followers know that his bakery would be making two-layer cakes for every graduating senior at Red Wing High — about 220 people. The cakes would also be decorated in the school’s colors and they’d be free.
Soon after his first post went up, Hanisch got a call from a resident in the neighboring town of Goodhue, inquiring if he could do anything for their graduating seniors.
“I was floored!” said Hanisch. “The next day, I did another post announcing the Goodhue cakes. Next thing I know, a lady from Cannon Falls contacts me and wants to support her seniors! I posted that video the next day and then the rest is history.”
As word of Hanisch’s custom cakes for seniors began spreading to different towns, the baker said his shop was flooded with donations, allowing him and his staff to continue taking and fulfilling new orders.
Most of the confections are made from white cake with a buttercream base. For the past month, Hanisch’s baking team has been busy customizing every cake with the different schools’ colors. Some locals have gone a step further to make their cakes even more special.
“For Red Wing, they (the kids) actually come to the bakery to get the cake, so they get their name on it and get to choose the flavor,” said Hanisch, who added that other kids from smaller schools have been able to get personalized cakes as well.
For the rest of the cakes, Hanisch has been coordinating special deliveries with the schools based on their specific graduation timelines.