Davis High School senior Serena Enzerink faces all the daily struggles of a high school student: She works hard academically, manages her extracurricular activities and remains highly involved in sports.
Yet all the while in the midst of SATs and rowing competitions, she has transformed her love for baking into a baked goods business called Ever So Sweet.
“I thought, ‘Why not try to get myself out there and make it into something bigger?’ Because if people like what I bake then I would love to give them what they want,” Enzerink said.
At first, baking was just another bullet point in her long list of hobbies. Enzerink’s childhood was filled with numerous activities that lie on the opposite ends of the spectrum. She has tried everything from woodworking to oil painting, and managed to find enthusiasm for all her pastimes.
But baking was different. Beginning with cookies and cupcakes, she soon discovered how much enjoyment baking gave her. Her enthusiasm only grew as she started receiving positive feedback from friends and family.
“As I got into cakes I realized that I liked making things, and that it also brought other people satisfaction,” Enzerink said. “I would be making stuff, and then I would bring it to other people because I couldn’t eat it all myself. People would say, ‘You can actually do this.’ And I got really excited by that.”
Soon, Enzerink was devouring cookbooks and poring over online blogs — researching new techniques to make more advanced foods. When the realization hit that she would need a lot more supplies to follow her dream, her parents jumped in.
“I realized that I couldn’t just make cakes with a spatula, I needed a lot more things to make what I wanted,” she said. “My family has been very supportive of me. They’ve taken me to tons of stores to get supplies.”
Around her freshman year in high school, Enzerink began to charge for her labor. Although the profits were small and orders came only through word of mouth, Enzerink was able to mature as a baker through new experiments in cooking.
She makes sure to do her homework before beginning a project, and searches through the Web to find solid recipes. Once a winner is selected, she then applies small changes to adapt the recipe to her own liking. This way, Enzerink has learned many advanced skills such as buttercream flowers or chocolate writing.
Ingredients are very important. She takes the time to find the best possible materials, and loves to explain to anyone who will listen how her different frostings are made and what ingredients she used. Recently, Enzerink began using vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract in her recipes. She values these types of high-quality ingredients and always attempts to perfect and continue improving her baked goods.
“I like experimenting. Obviously, I have plenty of recipes that I always go back to because people like them,” she said. “But I love trying new things. I’m always researching new recipes. I think it’s really fun and exciting.”
Her young age hasn’t discouraged her. Although she recalls many reactions of surprise from her customers after they learned she’s still in high school, she believes it actually gives her an advantage.
“My young age, if anything, helps me, because going on from here I just have more time to get better at doing what I do,” Enzerink said. “I hope that people see the work that I do and realize that it doesn’t matter how old I am because what I do is good.”
To grow her business, she created a Facebook page named “Ever So Sweet by Serena,” which has allowed her to receive more orders than in the past. When she’s approached for an order, Enzerink says communication as key.
“When people do contact me to make an order, I’m really honest with them about what I can or cannot do,” she said.”If they’re asking me for something I haven’t done before, I tell them that. I say, ‘I can absolutely do this but it’s going to be my first time.’ People know that going in.”
Currently, a cake that serves approximately 15 people is listed at $50. However, Enzerink is flexible in that she can create whatever the customer wants with fewer restrictions.
“My company is very custom. It’s exactly what the person wants. I can really do anything; I’m very open,” she explained. “Obviously, if you go into a bakery, you have limitations based on pricing. I’m really open to just talking through it to figure out exactly what someone wants.”
First, lots of planning goes into creating a masterpiece. Enzerink discusses with her customers what they want in order to bake exactly what they envisioned; she hopes to recreate what they picture in their heads. Then she mulls over possible touches such as accent flowers or bright colors, and often sketches out her planned result.
Although it’s extremely enjoyable, baking is inevitably time-consuming, Enzerink said. She hasn’t struggled too much in the past with time management due to her small number of orders, but she has already had to pull several late nights to finish an order. Nevertheless, it’s all worth it, she said, and her grades have not suffered as a result.
“I think it is kind of fun to be up in the middle of the night making a cake, so it’s all good,” Enzerink said.
Through all its ups and downs, Enzerink thanks her family and friends for their steadfast encouragement. She lists her family as the “guinea pigs” who taste the yummy experiments and gamely swallow the bad ones. Her sister Ariana, in particular, has acted as a constant role model for Enzerink. Having just finished her freshman year in college, Ariana has set an example that Serena hopes to follow.
“She works really hard and she’s dedicated. There’s nothing she’s done that hasn’t made me proud to be her sister,” Enzerink said.
Ariana fondly remembers baking on weekends with her sister to bring cupcakes for their friends to school. Through those simple gifts, her sister’s genuine talent for baking showed itself. Serena continuously surprises her sister with her creativity and growth in baking.
“Pretty soon, we realized she had a real knack for perfecting new recipes and creating treats that were equally delicious and beautiful,” Ariana said. “It would be a shame for her to not continue expanding her business and sharing her talent with others. She puts so much thought and effort into every one of her creations, really making sure that it’s personalized and special for every customer.”
In the future, Enzerink hopes to major in business in college and open a small-town bakery.
“I just want my bakery to be a quaint little storefront where people can come to mingle and visit and all be friends with each other,” Enzerink said.
In opening her business online and soon to be adding a website, Enzerink has already taken the first steps toward realizing her dream.
Notes: For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 530-908-0987 for visit Facebook at Ever So Sweet by Serena