“A party without cake is just a meeting.” — Julia Child
Late at night, while her family is sleeping, Laura Lumbreras is busy in her kitchen, cooking the sweet treats for her home-based business, Pookie Pops.
Her strawberry chocolate cake pops are always popular at Valentine’s Day, but her new specialty is a toasted marshmallow confection known as a S’more Pop.
The new treat is a favorite of her generous 15-year old daughter, Natalie Lumbreras, who recently organized and participated in a Christmas Toy Drive hosted by the East Aldine Management District for more than 1,500 families in the area. Joined by her 10-year old sister, Naomi, the lovely Lumbreras girls darted about in their lime green Christmas Grinch pajamas to hand out toys in a steady rain that did little to dampen their spirts. Their little brother, Nathan, 6, also helped.
Just the day after Christmas, their father, Luis Lumbreras broke his ankle, and has been unable to work at his regular construction job.
Because of the accident, the deeply spiritual Laura Lumbreras has learned the true meaning of “You reap what you sow.”
“I always tried to teach my children to do something positive for others. Not to brag about it or anything, because we are always happy to give help,” Laura Lumbreras says. “Now it seems like that is all coming back to us. The people we have helped are now helping us.”
Luis’ co-workers held a barbecue dinner to raise funds for the family, and Laura’s cake pops were a popular, sold-out item.
Her pre-Valentine’s Day orders are keeping her busy at the business she created in 2012 in a trial-and-error-filled experiment inspired by her part-time job at Hobby Lobby. She quit that job because of transportation issues, but not before purchasing necessary supplies.
“My first cake pops were a mess,” she recalled, laughing. But with kids in the house, those efforts didn’t entirely go to waste.
Laura has always enjoyed decorating and crafting, going all-out with banners, streamers and balloons for parties. She simply applied that passion to perfecting cake pops.
At holidays, her home-based business is now filled with customers. She stays busy with cakes and cake pops for birthdays, baby showers and other special events.
“I don’t sell as many big cakes anymore. People will buy a small cake for a birthday party, but they really want the cake pops more,” she said,
The reason is simple: cake pops are surrounded by icing. Not every slice of cake is a corner piece.
“I love what I do, a lot,” Laura said. “I always say, ‘You have to love your craft. If you give it 100 percent, then you are going to have every success, people are going to come to you.’ ”
Laura loves to encourage other bakers and small business owners.
“I have learned that through my business, I can help other people,” she said. “People may come to me for a cake, or for cake pops, but I have learned that sometimes they really just needed someone to talk to.”
And that’s her recipe for success.
“There are always ups and downs. And it is like a recipe. You just have to learn to set aside what isn’t working, and keep looking for what’s best.”
To place an order, go to Pookie Pops on Facebook.
— By Anne Marie Kilday