Thirteen-year-old Liam, a Glashan Grade 7 student, has a side hustle selling delicious cakes.
Photos: Tanya Lary
By Tanya Lary
Liam Alejandro Ramirez, a Grade 7 student at Glashan, is an active teenager, with the same interests as many 13-year-olds. He swims, skis, plays soccer, goes to the gym and plays guitar and piano. But Liam has a unique sideline – he runs a small business baking and selling cakes.
These are truly delicious cakes – three layers, with excellent butter cream icing. (For the sake of transparency, I should admit that I am not an impartial observer; I am a loyal customer and think Liam’s cakes are among the best I have bought in the Glebe, rivalled only by the carrot cake from the much-missed Second Avenue Sweets.)
Liam lives in the north end of the Glebe with his family, including his brother Sebastian and his dog Sunny. He started baking in Grade 1 under the tutelage of his grandmother. This foundation was strengthened by various cooking classes and camps at the Glebe Community Centre since Grade 2, guided by the skilled and supportive cooking instructor Tanis Hodder.
The COVID pandemic and stay-at-home orders brought a new enthusiasm to his hobby. “I was bored, really bored,” says Liam, “and I started baking cakes because it was a new challenge.”
After initial tests on his supportive family, Liam began sharing his cakes with friends. One of his friends’ family said it was so good that they would like to buy one. “His grandpa really likes it,” explains Liam, “and every time he visits, he buys one.” When asked who supplies the ingredients, Liam replied, “umm. . .ahhh. . .my mom. I do offer her money, but she doesn’t take it.” Liam expands his repertoire for special occasions. He made $170 at last year’s Great Glebe Garage Sale by selling a wide variety of baked goods.
Liam’s motivation is straightforward: “I enjoy baking, and I love the taste of it.” When pressed, he elaborates: “I like when it’s done. I get to eat it, or have money, or feel good about giving it to someone.” He thinks he’ll continue baking when he grows up but as a hobby, not a profession.
One of his most enthusiastic and least demanding fans is his dog Sunny. “Sunny doesn’t really have an opinion about which is the best cake, but he stands close hoping I will give him some.”
Liam offers three types of cake: vanilla with chocolate frosting; chocolate with raspberry filling and chocolate frosting; and chocolate with chocolate frosting. (The chocolate raspberry is amazing). Orders can be made at email@example.com.
Tanya Lary is a neighbour and a fan of fabulous cakes.