Izzy Thorpe: From Easy-Bake Oven to Small Business Owner

When senior Izzy Thorpe was a child, her parents bought her an Easy-Bake Oven. She would prance around her kitchen in a chef hat and became obsessed with making all of the different Easy-Bake Oven recipes. Inspired by her dad’s love for cooking, Thorpe started to take baking a bit more seriously once she entered middle school, and even more so in high school. 

“Whenever I was stressed or just needed a break […] I would get into baking,” Thorpe stated. 

Thorpe explained that at a young age, she became extremely inspired by Claire Saffitz, a culinary influencer who worked as an editor of the Bon Appétit magazine and was also often featured on the their YouTube channel. Thorpe would read about and watch videos of Saffitz doing recipe testing and also purchased her cookbook. 

In her first year at Colgate, Thorpe worked as a kitchen intern in the Ciccone Commons kitchen and baked for other students in her dorm quite frequently. 

“For Christmas, I hand-made and baked like 20 gingerbread houses. It was so fun,” Thorpe said. 

While Thorpe continued to bake recreationally throughout her first three years at Colgate, she explained that everything changed last summer, when fellow senior Candido Martinez gifted her a KitchenAid stand mixer. Essentially, a stand mixer is an electric kitchen device that mixes and combines ingredients without the individual baker having to do much hand mixing. This makes the baking process virtually mess-free and much more efficient. After receiving the mixer, Thorpe started baking multiple times a week and became devoted to the craft.

Shortly after receiving the mixer, a friend of Thorpe’s asked her to make a cake for his wife’s birthday. Thorpe happily agreed and baked a layered, strawberry shortcake, decked out with strawberries and intricate piping.

“After I made that, Candido [Thorpe’s boyfriend] was like, you should sell this, people are always asking for cakes,” Thorpe said, “I work at Maxwell’s, but my boss will often get booked up for the week. When students call and place an order, she can’t do it, so I knew that there was a demand, so I thought, why don’t I start a business?”

In late July, Thorpe created an Instagram page, @izzyscake, and her dessert business was born. Her page displays a price list of some of her most popular items, including different-sized cakes, cupcakes, cookies, muffins, brownies and pies, but Izzy explained that she will essentially accept any baking request that someone has. In the course of three months, she has had approximately 20 orders and has baked everything from blondies to birthday cupcakes to a Star Wars-themed cake. Thorpe makes her prices intentionally lower to accommodate the general budgets of college students.

“I love making different variations of cakes, but my favorite is tres leches,” Thorpe explained. “It is my personal favorite cake, so I just love to make it.”

Thorpe uses a variety of different recipes depending on each particular dessert. After baking for many years, Thorpe has accumulated many different recipes and will often use these archived recipes for her business orders. She also finds baking inspiration from different sources including the website, “Sally’s Baking Addiction,” Saffitz’s cookbook and more. 

“I will sometimes switch up existing recipes,” Thorpe said. “Like if I think something would be better with more brown sugar or more vanilla — I’ll do that a lot.”

Thorpe stated that she makes every aspect of her desserts from scratch, and she won’t turn down any request, despite how bizarre it may seem. 

To order a dessert, customers can either direct message Thorpe’s account or submit a google form through the link in her Instagram bio. 

Thorpe is extremely involved both up and down the hill. She’s a part of the Senior Honor Society, musical leader of the Swinging ‘Gates and works at both Maxwell’s and occasionally mail services’ package tent. Despite her busy schedule, Thorpe enjoys setting aside time to bake. 

“It’s such a mindless task and I just love doing it,” Thorpe said.

Because the business has been very successful thus far, Thorpe is brainstorming ways to expand. She recently reached out to the owner of Flour and Salt to plan a meeting regarding the ins and outs of small businesses. 

“I want to ask her about when and how to pursue it further, not just as a hobby.”

Thorpe is planning to attend law school after graduation and said that she is thinking of continuing her business as a “side thing” in the future. Her lifelong goal is to open a bakery and sandwich shop, as she also shared her love of making sandwiches. 

“I think it would be a good life to work as a lawyer and once I feel like I can move forward, and it makes sense financially, I will definitely open up a bakery.”