These pieces are written in recognition of the gifts, talent and passion of home bakers. I always feel so honored to connect with these bakers, tell their stories and share their work with the world. But our latest Featured Baker, Carla Sundvall, of Carla’s Confections, spent more time gushing over a few key other bakers who have helped her get to where she is! She’s only been baking for a little more than 2 years, only decorating for about 14 months and still surprises herself with how far she’s come. She’s a humble, honest, funny, hard-working wife and mother of 2 who feels so lucky to have the small, but mighty baking support team to cheer her on! Come along to hear more and also find out…what is a “Chocki Bite?”
Carla’s Confections For The Firehouse
It all started when Carla’s husband, Tim, got a job as a firefighter in April of 2020. Carla, who works for the police department herself, had heard the stories of firehouse culture, but due to the height of Covid, she couldn’t even meet the other firefighters! Wanting to contribute to the firehouse, she started baking to send treats with Tim. Carla was very clear, “I am NOT a cook!” But she figured she could delight the other firefighters with some cookies.
She started with Crinkle Cookies, which were a huge hit. So much so, that she learned they were competing as to who could shove the most cookies in their mouths at once. Knowing this, she created “Chocki Bites”, named after one of the firefighters, which are essentially a bite-sized peanut butter and jelly thumbprint cookie. Her third firehouse specialty treat was Carrot Cake cookies with cream cheese frosting. She made these three kinds of cookies on repeat to satisfy what Carla calls the “giant toddlers with mustaches” that made up the firehouse. 😊 Pictured, are some of these favorites.
“I Found My Relaxing Escape”
During her rare downtime, Carla found herself watching videos of people decorating cookies and found it incredible relaxing. She could lose track of time watching the peaceful and relaxing decorating process. Then she thought, “If I’m this relaxed watching it, I wonder what it would be like if I tried it.” Admittedly, she was co confused and had no idea what she was doing when she started. I think all cookiers can relate to that! But she practiced and practiced and gave them away for free to anyone who would eat them! Here is an example of Carla’s early work, keeping in mind this was only 14 months ago!
Here are some of the free cookies Carla used for practice and gave away!
Carla’s skills and work improved; “I could see myself getting better”. Soon, word of her delicious cookies was getting around! Over the last year, Carla has grown to booking several weeks out! Since she does serve her community at the police station full-time, she accommodates 2 orders per week. This feels like the best balance for her, and she doesn’t ever want to lose the fun of it. “I genuinely love it”, she shared and is excited that she has stumbled upon this relaxing escape!
She Doesn’t Take All The Credit
Carla is constantly inspired by the work of other cookiers and loves to challenge herself with new techniques. But throughout the last year, she has also been fortunate to build some pretty special relationships. “I got to where I am because of everyone helping me,” Carla shared. She’s genuinely SO appreciative and honored that bakers who she admires are now people she calls friends.
The first in this cheerleading trio is Carla Franco, of Daily Cookie, out of Trinidad. What started as a mix-up given their shared first name, has become an amazing friendship. Carla (Franco) recently gifted a class to her and she could not be more excited to learn from this accomplished decorator and teacher! Carla gushed, “She saw something in me,” and she feels so lucky to have her in her corner for tips and advice. You can find Carla Franco’s work, on Instagram here:
Next, Carla turns to Jiti Nagpal, who custom makes cookie cutters, scribes and turntables! Fellow cookiers know how expensive it can get to constantly purchase new cutters! But Carla and Jiti have built an incredible friendship where Jiti commonly creates cutters for Carla and in turn, Carla decorates the cookies so Jiti can use the images in her store! It’s a win-win and Carla is so grateful for their relationship. To see some of Jiti’s work, you can check out her Instagram here:
Rounding out the amazing trio is India Anderson, also known as “Renee Bakes”. Another accomplished cookier who answers Carla’s decorating questions or gives advice even at 9pm. When Carla was just starting out, India took her under her wing (from many states away) and has been an invaluable resource and friend to Carla on this journey. India’s work can be seen on her Instagram here:
Carla is genuinely so grateful for these ladies and since recognition is a big part of what we do here, we felt it appropriate to highlight these amazing ladies. The cottage baking industry is a unique community that is filled with love and support. Everyone deserves to have a cheerleading section, right Besties?
What’s Ahead For Carla?
What does the future hold for Carla’s Confections? Carla actually hopes to keep her level of business exactly where it is today. She LOVES coming home from what can be a stressful day at work, to relax with her family and cookies. She’s excited to make custom cookie sets for her kid’s birthdays in August, since last year she was still in full-on learning mode. But she really wants other aspiring bakers to realize how far you can come in one year! She’s “an open book” and loves helping new bakers when they have questions. Personally, I don’t think Carla realizes it right now, but someday new bakers are going to be awe of her and I know she will pay it forward with her amazing friendship just like Carla Franco, Jiti and India have.
To connect with Carla’s Confections, you can visit her Instagram below. I also hope you truly enjoy this gallery of Carla’s stunning work!
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