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A&E >  Food

Nothing Bundt Cakes gives cake its due

South Hill bakery has grand opening Saturday

Cake lovers rejoice. Nothing Bundt Cakes, a national chain, has opened its first Spokane franchise and is celebrating with a grand opening on Saturday.

Although the bakery on 29th Avenue is the first store in Washington, Nothing Bundt Cakes has deep Spokane roots: Co-founder Debbie Schwetz is a 1975 Lewis and Clark High School graduate and still has family in the area.

The inspiration for the Las Vegas-based business came when Schwetz’s good friend, Dena Tripp, brought a Bundt cake to her home for dessert. She’d dusted it with powdered sugar.

Schwetz wondered why Tripp hadn’t used her frosting recipe; Tripp said frosting Bundt cakes is difficult.

As the two friends shared the cake, talk turned to business. What if they found a way to pair Schwetz’s decadent butter cream cheese frosting with a moist, dense Bundt cake? Would people buy them? Could they open a Bundt cake business?

“We couldn’t stop thinking about it,” said Schwetz. “Our husbands told us we were crazy. They said, ‘You can’t make a business out of Bundt cakes!’ ”

But in 1998, after a year of planning and taste testing, they opened their first bakery in Las Vegas. Seventy-two stores later, the Bundt business is booming.

Tripp’s husband came up with the punny name. “We have fun with puns,” Schwetz said.

Nothing Bundt Cakes are immediately recognizable thanks to a distinctive flower petal-like frosting pattern – a pattern the founders trademarked. Signature flavors such as Chocolate Chocolate Chip and Pecan Praline proved popular, as did the addition of seasonal flavors, including Pumpkin Spice.

The cakes come in 8- or 10-inch sizes, as well as Bundlet, a single serving, and Bundtini, a 12-pack of bite-size cakes.

A Nothing Bundt lemon cake wowed the mother-and-son Spokane franchise owners, Jolyn and Sam Canty. While living in the San Francisco Bay area, they stopped by a Nothing Bundt Cakes shop to pick up dessert for a potluck. Sam, 25, wasn’t much of a cake fan, but the lemony cake with the rich frosting won him over.

The UCLA graduate had planned to become a commercial pilot, but a change in required flight hours proved too expensive. Then his father, Earle, was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia.

Sam, who had been adopted from Romania as a child, wanted to earn money so his dad could retire.

“He said, ‘My dad saved me, let me save my dad,’ ” his mother recalled.

The family is originally from Hayden and wanted to return to the region. As Sam Canty researched franchise opportunities, Nothing Bundt Cakes made the top of his list. When he found out the Washington market was open, he knew he had found a way to return to the Inland Northwest.

“What I really love about our cakes is that people use them for an occasion to celebrate,” he said. “Great memories are made, nothing Bundt happy times.”

Part of the celebratory look of the cakes comes from the customized designs. Cakes feature themes like “Hole in One” for golfers. Of course, puns abound – “Happy Bundtday” and “Cele‘bundt’ing You,” for example.

Sam Canty’s personal favorite? “Real Men Don’t Eat Square Cakes.”

The Cantys hope to sell their cakes for corporate gift giving, holiday occasions and other celebrations throughout the year.

“You can pretty much skip the card and just get someone a cake; it’s a very unique product,” Sam Canty said.

The Cantys said they’re especially pleased to partner with Union Gospel Mission. Twenty percent of the grand opening sales will go to the charity. The franchise will also provide Birthday Bundlets for children staying at Anna Ogden Hall and the Center for Women and Children in Coeur d’Alene.

Schwetz said she couldn’t be happier about the franchise opening in her hometown.

“Spokane is near and dear to my heart, and I really like the Cantys and their involvement in the community,” she said.

The Cantys are excited, too.

“We want our store to be nothing Bundt a blessing to Spokane,” Jolyn Canty said.

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