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Life & Work with Rachael Hill

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachael Hill.

Hi Rachael, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
As I was finishing high school, I wanted to go to culinary school and become a pastry chef. My mom was afraid that I’d change my mind and have nothing to fall back on. She signed me up for a cake decorating class at Michaels so I could dip my toes into some kind of pastry work. I fell in love. I made a cake every chance that I got.

Culinary school was too expensive, so I went to Kennesaw State University and got a business degree. While there, I continued making cakes during my nights and weekends. Rach Makes Cakes was officially born in 2004.

In 2012, we built a commercial kitchen in the basement of our old home. I opened and ran a storefront in Old Fourth Ward from 2016 to 2019 and moved into a shared kitchen when my landlord sold that space. During the summer of 2020, I found myself with enough free time to work on making all of my recipes vegan. I officially changed my menu in October 2020 eliminating all animal products and by-products from my recipes.

I made one more change at the end of 2020 and moved out of the shared kitchen. I now have a Cottage Food License and operate a small cake studio from my home.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
By far, the biggest challenge was opening the shop. We signed a lease in July 2015. We hired an architect, a general contractor and submitted drawings to the city of Atlanta. It took 6 months to get a building permit. We knew it would be a slow process, so we hired a permit expeditor and it still took that long. The permit was issued in late February 2016 and construction started almost immediately. We officially opened for business on May 8, 2016.

Leaving the shop was almost as emotional as opening it. Transitioning from my own space to a shared space had its challenges, but I adjusted quickly.

Converting to a vegan menu hasn’t been as hard as one might think. Most of my clients aren’t vegan and don’t know the cake is unless I tell them. There’s not a huge flavor difference (I’m using oat milk instead of cow milk, a plant-based butter, etc) and I think the texture of my vegan cake is superior to my old recipes. I enjoy showing people how awesome baked goods are without animal products.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I prefer creating classic, timeless wedding cakes with clean lines and subtle textures.

When It comes to novelty cakes, my style is cartoon-y and I really enjoy making cakes that look like other foods (a bagel, pizza, a breakfast biscuit, etc).

I recently launched my own vegan cake mix so people all over Georgia can bake my cake at home! It’s fluffy, moist and not overly sweet. All purchases include access to my dreamy dairy-free buttercream recipe, too.

What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
The most important lesson I’ve learned is that you need to be open to change to be successful. Trends and tastes are constantly evolving and you need to adapt accordingly to stay relevant.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
GrapeFruitPhoto Viki Sears

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