At first, the mom-and-daughter bakery, The Sugar Coop, may seem nothing out of the ordinary.
But then you find out the baker is former Maple Valley resident, 12-year-old Micah Crawford.
This happens a lot, the now-Buckley resident explained in an interview.
“A lot of people lately have been ordering things for weddings, and my mom is like, ‘Just so you know, you’re putting your trust in a 12 year old,’ and they’re like, ‘What? This is a 12-year old baker?’” she said. “They see my work and they don’t think I’m this young.”
The idea of starting her own business came to in spring 2017 when Micah and her grandmother — who she lovingly calls Nana — were shopping around Buckley, looking for something sweet to eat.
“We couldn’t find anything,” Micah recalled. They had just entered The Queen’s Ransom, an antique store off Main Street, when Micah remembered her Nana saying, “You should do something about opening a business.”
So she did. And it didn’t matter she knew practically nothing about baking.
Her parents, Cory and Pat, were more than happy to encourage her, but had no idea this wasn’t just a phase.
“All kids like to bake, right?” Cory, her mother, said. “But it was the fact that she was able to take what she learned off of YouTube videos — she’s self-taught — and emulate that immediately. When she did that, Pat and I were like, ‘Wait a second. This is something most kids can’t do.’ ”
Once she started getting comfortable with her newfound skills, Micah started The Sugar Coop Facebook page to show off some of her bakes, and even start selling some products. She used that money to help put together a small kitchenette area in her home, complete with a butcher block island and three KitchenAids (her parents did financially support those purchases). While there’s no oven, Micah uses the area film herself and take photos of her work, which she also posts on her business’ Instagram page.
But it wasn’t until August 2018 that the venture became more serious, and the Crawfords realized they needed to get some legal business out of the way. Her mother’s taken on that role.
“Mom runs her business, because she can’t be inundated with details. She doesn’t like that side of it, but who does?” Cory said. “She literally gets five or six messages a day, from people wanting a cake. So I handle that side. I figure out what they need, help them make decisions, help with pricing, stuff like that.”
The Crawfords were able to easily secure Micah’s food handler’s permit, but her Cottage Food License — which allows bakers to make and sell products from their home — is still in the works.
“It is horrible, because there is so much tedious detail,” Cory continued. “[But] it makes her business legal and legit.”
Meanwhile, Micah has dazzled many Plateau residents with her work: she donated one of her cakes to a Christian youth auction, and it went for more than $600; she’s already baked for two weddings (including making a three-tiered wedding cake); and was recognized by Enumclaw’s Sundays on Cole Street Committee for doing “a dynamite job” setting up her booth and selling out of her product last summer, said Hoke Overland, the committee’s liaison to the city council.
Most recently, Micah found out she’ll be competing in the 2019 Seattle Cake Con on Feb. 24 in the adult amateur buttercream division, where she’ll be the only baker under 18.
Even with all this success, however, she’s got her eyes on a bigger prize — the Food Network’s Kids Baking Championship.
For those not in the know, the Kids Baking Championship brings 10 bakers, between the ages of 10 and 13, together for a chance to win $25,000.
One by one, contestants are eliminated by judges Duff Goldman and Valerie Bertinelli (which Micah said were two of her favorite bakers), until only three are left for the final round.
Since Micah is turning 13 this spring, this is the only chance she’ll have to be featured in either the summer or winter season.
She’s already started the application process, and it appears she’s on the network’s radar.
“They’re following me on Instagram and they liked some of my stuff,” Micah said. “On their story, they take screenshots of my baked goods. They’ve done it five times, maybe?”
Unfortunately for Buckley residents and fans of The Sugar Coop, even if Micah does get chosen to be on the show, she’ll have to keep it a secret until the season airs.
But even if she isn’t picked, she’s got a great head start on her future — according to Cory, Micah had to turn down five weddings alone this spring, just in case she does get on the show.
Even though Micah doesn’t have a storefront, there are multiple ways to enjoy her bakes.
To order a specific cake or dessert, you can message Cory on The Sugar Coop’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/thesugarcoop/ and send an order. Be warned, though — Cory said Micah gets booked quickly, so it’s best to place an order far in advance.
You can also use the Facebook page to check out what goods are available for sale, and message Cory for information on how to buy it.
Finally, you can also check out The Queen’s Ransom in downtown Buckley; Micah sells some of her baked goods there, to commemorate the fact that the idea to start her own bakery was born there.