University senior makes baking cakes, cookies her only job

In an Oct. 4 photo, Mady Ogdahl starts adding a layer sprinkles to pink frosting after a crumb coat on a cake in Aberdeen. Ogdahl recently took a big leap. The Northern State University senior quit her part-time job, making her other gig, baking cakes and cookies, her only job. (Katherine Grandstrand/Aberdeen American News via AP)

ABERDEEN (AP) – Mady Ogdahl recently took a big leap.

The Northern State University senior quit her part-time job, making her other gig – baking cakes and cookies – her only job.

“It’s difficult, because there’s a lot. I have a limit on how many orders I can take in order for me to be able to accomplish them all,” the proprietor of Mo’s Cakes said while decorating cakes in her mother’s north Aberdeen kitchen.

She’s been making cakes and cookies for other people’s special events throughout college, and hopes to make it her full-time gig after graduating in spring with a business degree.

“I started in 2015, just making stuff for family and friends,” Ogdahl told the Aberdeen American News. “I learned through Pinterest. I don’t know where I would be without Pinterest.”

On a recent Friday she was decorating two pink cakes – one for a baby shower and another for her niece’s birthday. And despite using the exact same icing, they looked completely different, each for its respective occasion.

The baby shower cake resembled pink ruffles – the kind found on diaper covers. The birthday cake looked like a sprinkled dream – a thick crust of sprinkles along the bottom and fluffy tuffs of frosting with a few more sprinkles on top.

“You can’t go wrong with sprinkles,” Ogdahl said.

Her favorite flavor combination is white cake with white chocolate mousse and strawberry filling.

“How could you not go wrong with that?” Ogdahl said. “It’s funny how something so simple can be so elegant.”

She never went to culinary or pastry school, instead opting for trial-and-error in the kitchen while pursing her degree at Northern.

Ogdahl bakes cakes, cupcakes and cookies – decorated cookies that look like a charmingly animated version of the animal or item they are representing. And they’re way more tasty.

She’s still learning techniques. Ogdahl said she hasn’t worked with fondant much. In her spare time she does experimenting. She’s planning on taking some industry-specific classes as they come available.

After graduation, she said her next step will be to ramp up production. Down the road she will look for retail space. She’d love to sell individual cupcakes. Aberdeen lacks a cupcakery – a bakery that specializes in fancy cupcakes. But for now, she’s based at home, which state law allows until someone sells retail.

“Within my five-year plan is to open a storefront,” Ogdahl said. “This is my first year without having an actual job, so this will be, like, my testing year to see if I’m able to make enough and next year without going to school I’ll probably just be a home baker until I can save some money for a space.”

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