Cake studio moving to Mahomet

Lori Martin has grown accustomed to change.

Her business — Cakes by Lori — has thrived despite the need to relocate every few years.

Martin's next move — which takes place in 10 days — will bring her to the Mahomet IGA.

She is currently at the Hawthorn Suites in Champaign, but its sale to Holiday Inn necessitated some changes, and her workspace will no longer be available after eight years at that site.

Previously, she worked from the Jerry's IGA at Round Barn and the one on Philo Road, both of which closed.

Martin had nearly committed to the Mahomet IGA one other time.

"When I came to Hawthorn, I'd been working for Jerry's IGA," Martin said. "They were closing that store and I came to talk to Brooks (Marsh) then.

"Then the GM of Hawthorn offered me a job and I decided to stay in town. C-U was better for the delivery situation."

Martin estimates she has orders for between 150 and 170 weddings a year. Last weekend, she had five. This weekend, she has four.

"It hasn't slowed down yet, she said. "The season will run from March until the end of November."

She has made as many as 10 wedding cakes in a weekend.

This year marks the 35th one Martin has been baking cakes for weddings.

All of hers are fresh.

"My cakes are baked to order," she said. "I never freeze wedding cakes."

Martin doesn't expect her move to have a significant impact on her business.

"My cake recipes won't change, the service won't change. Everything will be the same except the location," she said.

The former Lori Reinert was born at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul and, she added, "bounced around between here and California" during her childhood.

She graduated from Rantoul High School, but isn't sure where she got her desire to be in the kitchen.

"My mom's not a baker," Martin said.

Her first full-time job had little to do with working around ovens.

"I was a respiratory therapist," Martin said, "but I couldn't handle patients dying. I got attached too quickly."

She worked a part-time job at The Cookie Factory at Market Place Mall.

"They let the manager go and asked me if I'd run the bakery," Martin said. "I had a total career shift in 1982."

She later co-managed two campus establishments, The Daily Grind and The Cookie Jar.

From there, she became bakery manager at Urbana's ValuCheck and said, "I've been in the bakery since."

She hasn't contemplated another career shift.

"I'm doing what I love," she said. "I'm a people person and I love seeing the joy in their faces when I do a birthday cake or write on something.

"It doesn't get much better than that."

Martin had one of her cakes showcased on an episode of "Say Yes To The Dress." She has also made wedding cakes for professional athletes, but don't ask which ones.

"I'm not a sports fan," she said.

Some of her other cakes have been featured in magazines or online blogs.

She doesn't do it for the accolades."It's a way for me to use my creative talents and have a career," Martin said. "I get to play with my art every day."

A recurring question is how she feels to see her cakes being cut.

"People ask if it upsets me and I say, 'No, I get to make another one,'" Martin said.

Her hardest project was a seven-tier wedding cake where "each tier was a different flavor.

"One (tier) might have been carrot cake, another lemon with raspberry, another chocolate with caramel," she said. "It was so heavy, it was bowing legs of the table.

"The bride had no idea there was any issue with the cake, but what was normally a 20-minute delivery was a three-hour delivery.

"The cake was level when I left the studio, but I drove 2 miles and it wasn't level. I had to reinforce the stand."

Her tenure in the business was illustrated recently when a couple was scanning her wedding book of cakes.

"The bride found her mom and dad," Martin said. "That made me feel old."

As for her personal favorites to bake, Martin said, "I like to make anything but red velvet. I just don't like to make it."

Her husband, Dan, has learned not to surprise her with a cake on her birthday.

"I don't eat cake," she said. "After 35 years, when you see something all day, it's the very last thing you want to deal with.

"It's an ice cream cake or a Blizzard for me."

Martin, who lives in rural Urbana, will be an IGA employee.

She will help the store expand its inventory.

"I will have some things available in the cases, different flavors and things they can pick up," she said.

Martin is specific in what she makes.

"Just cakes," she said. "No pies."

Persons interested in contacting Martin can do so through her website, Her first day of operation at the Mahomet IGA will be Sept. 18.

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