by Alison Bailey • Photos by Heather Harris, Elements Photography
Lauren Rogers was a child living in Southern California when she discovered her love of turning butter, sugar and flour into cakes, pies and cookies. Her grandmother lived nearby, and while it was initially the pool in her backyard that fueled Lauren’s desire to visit, the impetus quickly became time in the kitchen with her grandma, learning to bake.
Lauren has been the owner of Gotti Sweets since late 2018. She was running several departments, including wedding cake operations, at an 80-person bakery in Portland when she interviewed Arthur Gottlieb for a job there. Arthur was looking to relocate from Olympia, and shared that he and his family owned a bakery there that they were looking to sell. Lauren loved her job at the big bakery, but an opportunity presented itself at just the right time; that bakery is no longer in business.
With financial help from her beloved grandmother, Lauren was able to purchase Gotti Sweets. Gotti’s has always been synonymous with elaborate specialty cake designs, and Lauren has held up that tradition with gusto. Whether it’s a fun, colorful cake for a child’s birthday or an elegant three-tiered masterpiece for a wedding, Lauren’s specialty cake designs are a sight to behold and her true passion.
“Everything I do is really fresh,” Lauren says. “If you have a Friday or a Saturday order, we’re not baking that cake until Thursday.” Fresh-baked cupcakes, cookies and French macarons are the standard at Gotti Sweets. “We use the extra batter from our special-order cakes to bake the cupcakes we sell out of the case,” Lauren explains. “You’ll never eat a cupcake that tastes like it’s been in the freezer at my shop.”
These days, Lauren and her assistant baker, Roger Garrett, produce anywhere between 15 and 30 cakes for a given weekend. Their work often includes producing cakes pro bono for organizations like Icing Smiles, a nonprofit that provides special cakes and treats to families impacted by the critical illness of a child.
2020 was a particularly challenging year. On top of pivoting for the pandemic, Lauren and Roger had to navigate white supremacist rallies in close proximity to the shop, white supremacist stickers and vandalism and even the spray painting of a shop neighbor’s SUV with a vulgar racial slur. “I held off on stepping into that arena as a business for a while, but the killing of George Floyd, and all the things I’ve experienced as a business owner in the aftermath, changed that,” Lauren explains.
She painted a Black Lives Matter mural on a wall in her shop and has become more vocal about her experiences as the owner of Gotti Sweets.
“Our regular customers are dynamite, genuine people,” Lauren says. “That’s what keeps us going.” If you’ve never had a treat from Gotti Sweets, stop by for a cupcake or cookie Wednesday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Be sure to order several weeks ahead if you need a specialty cake for an event.
Visit gottisweets.com to see a complete menu of their custom cake options or call 360-489-1780 to chat with Lauren or Roger about all your sweet treat needs!