D’s House of Cakes bakes joy into every bite
For those who have a sweet tooth, indulging in a nice treat every once in a while is one of life’s greatest pleasures. For Denise Rutkowski, owner of D’s House of Cakes in Brighton Township, it’s all about making other people smile.
“It’s the joy of seeing other people’s happiness when I give them their cake,” Rutkowski said. “I’m going to get teary just thinking about it.”
D’s House of Cakes began five years ago when Rutkowski was encouraged by two close friends to try her hand at selling the cakes she loved to bake. But her love of baking started much earlier when Rutkowski decided she wanted to take after her Auntie Ann.
“A cake was always her gift to us,” Rutkowski said. “Christenings, birthdays, bridal showers — you name it.”
When her two sons were old enough for their own cakes, she decided that making them, just like her Auntie Ann would, was more special than buying them from a store. So Rutkowski began baking, first for her family and then expanding to bake for friends in the Cleveland area. But it wasn’t until she and her family moved to Brighton Township in 2013 that D’s House of Cakes was born.
Rutkowski takes custom orders and enjoys the challenge of trying something new every time she bakes. Generally, customers approach her with a theme or color in mind, and she runs with it, but occasionally, a customer will bring in a picture of what they’d like, and Rutkowski does her best to match what she is shown. Her favorite designs have come from requests made by her own children, who have asked for everything from a Jaws theme to dragons.
Her most popular cake is her signature, heart-shaped strawberry shortcake with homemade whipped cream, in high demand around Valentine’s Day. But she has also made shamrock shake cupcakes around St. Patrick’s Day, and she is always looking to expand her abilities and come up with new recipes. Rutkowski prides herself on trying to be as fresh as possible, buying ingredients — except for eggs, which come from her own chickens — per order rather than in bulk.
“I’m not a bakery,” she said. “You won’t see big bags of flour here.”
Along with orders for individuals, Rutkowski has also completed orders for groups and events, such as the Gazebo Garden Walk held in Wellington during the spring and the Special Olympics, as well as donated cakes for cancer fundraisers in the area. She also still completes orders for customers in Cleveland and beyond, meeting them halfway for delivery if they can’t make it all the way to her home to pick up the order.
“I’m so humbled by all of this,” Rutkowski said. “This kind of just fell into my lap. I never thought I would be baking for a town.”