Is the cold, wet Seattle winter making you dream of warm, sandy beaches somewhere in Hawaii? Cakes of Paradise Bakery in Georgetown allows you to get a sunny taste of the tropics without leaving the PNW!
While Cakes of Paradise was officially established in July 2008 by Mosi Sims and his wife Pualani - back in the 90s, this bakery was formerly known as Kauai Desserts.
Kauai Desserts was started by Mosi's' mother, Mary Buza-Sims, shortly after her brother opened up Kauai Family Restaurant.
"My mother-in-law loved to bake," said Pualani. "She was the principal of one of the Seattle elementary schools, but her passion and what she always dreamed of doing was opening up a bakery, so that's kind of how it happened — she just made cakes for the [Kauai Family Restaurant] customers, and it was all Hawaiian inspired and things she remembered from back home."
Mary was able to take her baking side hustle full time after a location conveniently opened up right next to her brother's restaurant. While she eventually decided to move back to Hawaii, her son Mosi decided to continue the legacy under the name Cakes of Paradise.
Mosi was trained in the baking arts by his mother and first opened up his bakery in Renton. When the original location of Kauai Desserts became available in 2011, he moved the family bakery back to its spot right next to his uncle's restaurant.
The Sims' have since expanded, transforming the bakery from just a pickup spot to a space with small cafe seating, coffee and more.
While the base of the business is and always will be cakes, Cakes of Paradise also makes tropical pies (including macadamia nut pie!), a variety of pastries and authentic Portuguese-style malasadas with custard, guava or haupia (coconut) filling. Aside from made-to-order cakes, the bakery also offers single slices.
"[Our cakes] bring a lot of happiness to people because they love the tropical flavors and the look," Pualani said.
Signature cakes include a strawberry chiffon with guava filling and frosting, a three-layer strawberry/lime/orange rainbow cake, mango, chantilly and much more.
All cakes also come with a complimentary fresh orchid, carnation and green fern arrangement to add a special tropical flare.
While community patrons continue to support the beloved small family bakery, Cakes of Paradise has had to pivot its business in order to combat challenges caused by COVID-19.
"We're making it, but it's hard," said Pualani. "It was tricky because it was just [me, my husband and his brother] that reopened in April after we closed for a month in March."
They slowly started adding members back to their team, but for safety reasons, the numbers remain small.
"I would say having a smaller team has been the biggest [issue] because we weren't able to offer everything when we first reopened, and we had to readjust, and it made us more efficient," she said. "We try to cross-train most of our employees, but [COVID-19] really allowed us to cross-train a lot more, so everyone was stepping up and really doing an amazing job helping each other out."
The team of 10 do everything they can to provide the best service possible as a way to show gratitude for their continuous support, especially when their valued customers are standing in line outside in the cold or rain.
"There are more bakeries now that are also offering tropical-inspired cakes and desserts, but we have been around for a while, and we built a name for ourselves, and our biggest thing is making people happy," said Pualani. "While [people] love the tropical-inspired flavors, I think they also feel the love that goes into the cakes because of how hard we work. Our biggest thing is showing that aloha, and we try to focus on that — giving aloha, being pono (righteous), and trying our hardest to give love out to everyone."
Outside of their baked goods, Cakes of Paradise spreads this message through their merchandise which shares their motto: A.L.O.H.A which stands for "Absolute Love Overcomes Hate, Always."
"Our mother-in-law taught [Mosi] when he first started off the bakery to always lead with aloha, and as long as you do that, you will be good," said Sims. "And if we can do that through our desserts, it's a blessing."
To view their menu, visit the Cakes of Paradise Bakery website. You can also find slices at most Uwajimaya supermarket locations; Kona Kitchens in Seattle; L&L in Tumwater; Seattle Fish Guys in Central District; Sari Sari in Puyallup; and Aloha Grill in Renton.
Want to support more small businesses like Cakes of Paradise? We're proud to collaborate with Intentionalist, an online guide that makes it easier for you to find/connect with diverse local businesses owned by women, people of color, veterans, members of the LGBTQ community, and people with disabilities.