Isabelle Krake's sweet-as-pie sensibility is perfectly matched by the confectionary delights that pounce from the ovens at Boise's newest and perhaps unlikeliest bakery: Just Baked Boise.
The bakeshop's mouth-watering menu is impressive enough. But the fact that the proprietor is 15 years old is stunning.
"I also like to sew a lot of my own clothes, play the piano and take care of our animals," Krake said. "We have chinchillas, two dogs, a cat and six chickens."
But it's all about the baked goods when Krake and her mom, Gabrielle, go to work in the pre-dawn hours at the family's Soda Works Shop on State Street. Tucked in the back of the store is Isabelle's Just Baked shop, with a logo that promises things that are "yummy everyday."
Isabelle was home-schooled by Gabrielle, along with three siblings. But for her final math project (she finished her high-school requirements in 2012), Isabelle put together a five-year business plan for a bakery. What followed was a delicious journey.
Is this bakery your life for the foreseeable future?
Isabelle: I hope so. I would love to go to culinary school some day. It would be a privilege to go.
Gabrielle: Isabelle has always been a bit shy; we're thinking that she should be 18 before she goes.
What was the first thing you became pretty good at baking?
Isabelle: Macarons--a French butter cream cookie.
What item gives you particular joy to make?
Isabelle: Something I call Coco Cakes--chocolate vegan cupcakes. I substitute avocados for butter.
I find it hard to believe that I would like a chocolate cupcake made with avocados.
Isabelle: Everyone's reaction is, "It's the best chocolate cupcake I ever had." And when they find out there isn't any butter, egg or cream inside, they're astounded.
What else are you proud of?
Isabelle: My Sassy Punkin' Bread. It's made with root beer to give it a hint of sarsaparilla. And then there are the S'more Treats: made with toasted marshmallows, butter, big chocolate chunks and homemade graham crackers.
Was there a particular moment when you knew you could make a go of this business?
Gabrielle: In April 2012, The Boise Family Y asked if she would be interested in catering an event.
Isabelle: A full dessert banquet. Five hundred individual desserts.
Gabrielle: I asked her, "Do you see yourself doing this every day?"
Isabelle: I was tired, but yes.
Gabrielle: When we asked her to put a business plan together, we thought she would be 20, maybe 25 years old before she could operate a bakery.
With your recent opening [the doors swung open in October], you've timed this perfectly for the holidays.
Isabelle: But it's still a bit of a mystery, because we don't know how many customers I'll have.
Have you thought about your marketing message?
I'm curious about how your contemporaries are reacting to you being a business owner?
Isabelle: My friends love coming here.
Gabrielle: A woman stopped in the other day to talk about her daughter, who has some severe dietary issues; the mother asked if the daughter could spend time with Isabelle in the kitchen. I think Isabelle is really an inspiration.
Are you putting your profits back into the business?
Isabelle: It will be about seven months before profitability.
Your tip jar looks pretty full.
Isabelle: My customers can nominate someone in need and 75 percent of the tips will go to those people. I'm saving the other 25 percent for culinary school.
A baker's life usually means very early mornings.
Isabelle: We're here at 6 a.m. Cinnamon rolls have to be fresh.
Even the pictures of your cinnamon rolls look good enough to eat.
Isabelle: I even make our own butterscotch caramel for the rolls. Plus I make a Snicker Bun with chocolate, peanuts and caramel.
Oh my God.
Isabelle: We open at 9 a.m. on weekends, but people can knock on the door if they smell the rolls.