The Hustle and Bustle Begins at Area Bakeries

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

Megan Knatz of Marion carries a tray of cupcakes from the kitchen at Take the Cake Cupcakes on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012, in Marion. The shop recently auditioned for the Food Network reality show Cupcake Wars. (Liz Martin/The Gazette-KCRG)

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By Rachel Begle

LINN COUNTY, Iowa – Bakeries across Eastern Iowa are feeling the heat with just one week to go until Christmas.

Many shops that specialize in making sweet holiday treats are getting orders left and right.

"It’s really picking up as we’re getting close to Christmas," Owner of Take the Cake Cupcakes Megan Knatz said. "This week we’re anticipating a lot of traffic. Orders are coming in like crazy."

The Marion cupcakery makes several different flavors each day. Right now they’re making a lot of sugar cookie, gingerbread and white chocolate peppermint cupcakes. Bakers expect they’ll whip up 100 gallons of icing by the time Christmas arrives and more than one hundred dozen cupcakes.

“We’re looking at 150 to 175 dozen once this week is through,” Knatz said.

Hy-Vee Bakery’s Jim Koeppen said the Collins Road store will see five times as many orders as they see on a typical week. They have their hands full with frosting and packing sugar cookies.

The long-time baker said the week before Dec. 25 is when they see the highest volume of calls for sweet treats during the holiday season. His baking crew also fields a lot of questions from people trying to bake at home.

Koeppen’s biggest tips are to give yourself time to make mistakes and be prepared.

"They should have everything lined up before hand, make sure they have all of their ingredients and especially, it seems like we always have people coming in, looking for something different like … Con A sugar, they'll ask ‘what is that?’” Koeppen said.

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