Running a Bakery at Age 20: 'Along the Way'

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN TV) - It's been said that: if you do what you love, you never work a day in your life. And for one young lady, born and raised here, that is now a delicious reality.

Stepping into the Sweet Secrets Bakery on Mount Rushmore Road is like stepping into a sugar lovers paradise, and it's run by a young lady, Taylor Whittle who is just 20 years old. She says she first started baking using box mixes with her Grandma and her Mom.

Taylor Whittle of Sweet Success Bakery says, "I have a serious sweet tooth so I needed sugar constantly so we just always would make buttercream or cookie dough or, we would eat the dough instead of baking it really."

Now she runs this place that looks as much like a museum of deliciousness as it does a bakery. Taylor graduated from Stevens High School in 2015, only 3 years ago.

She says her Senior year in high school she had a bunch of career ideas, but wasn't sure what she wanted to do with her life.

Taylor Whittle says, "And then I was like, l love baking: why wouldn't I just go to school for that?" So that's what she did. She went to culinary school out in Colorado.

Whittle says, "Baking fascinates me. I think it's so cool that we can take a few little ingredients and make it into a cake or a cheesecake."

In November 2017, just a few months ago this bakery was born. It's a family business. Her parents own it. She and her siblings all have a share in it. But as manager Taylor runs it: creating items like this on a daily basis.

"I love it. I think it's really fun. I'm 20 years old but I no longer have a life. This is my life, and I'm okay with that," says Taylor Whittle.

She even comes in for a few hours on Monday, even though they're closed that day. That's a passion for creating nothing but the best. They have everything from cheesecake to cupcakes,

Taylor says while frosting a cupcake, "Now I changed it and I have an espresso buttercream instead.

Cookies to brownies, and French Macaroons to banana bread.

Taylor says, "And everything's made from scratch. We don't take shortcuts here so everything is made with love and when you make it with love it tastes that much better. "

She has high standards for what makes it up to the retail window for customers to see.

"You first see it with your eyes, so it needs to be pretty. It needs to look good. And it needs to look like I need that now," Taylor says.

She says, "Two it comes to taste. So it needs to taste good. So I have myself taste it. I have my employees taste it. If they don't like it we're not gonna do it."

And sometimes even the sound of the treat comes into play.

Taylor Whittle says, "Like if you're baking bread, you need to have that snap. Or if you're baking gingersnap cookies, it needs to have that right snap and you need to hear it."

But it's not all work and no play for this Beethoven of Baking as she demonstrates the right way to eat a cupcake.

Taylor Whittle says, "I split the cake in half and I make a little sandwich and then that's how you eat it. "

Yep, she still savors the flavor of sugar, just like she did as a kid.

She also does special orders and weddings. And Whittle says she doesn't want to branch out to multiple stores, or expand to Sioux Falls or anything, she just wants to do what they do, and be successful right here in Rapid City.

If you've met someone cool "Along the Way" please call us or e-mail me at stevel@blackhillsfox.com to let us know.