There is no doubt that Heather Briggs has cake in her DNA – along with kindness, high energy and a real desire to help those in need.
The 44-year-old mother of two teenagers launched her mobile food truck Gold Star Pie in 2016 and has taught hundreds of fans the love of sweet treats.
Her journey to cake seemed inevitable: her mother made cream cakes for the local Country Kitchen restaurant in the early 1980s.
"I learned how to make cakes from my mom in 1992 when I was in Air Academy High School," Briggs said. "She didn't do them for Country Kitchen until then, but she always loved baking and wanted to share her talents with her children."
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Briggs has called Colorado Springs home since her family moved here from Iowa when she was 4 years old. She attended the CSU in Fort Collins and earned a degree in English literature. Upon graduation, she accepted a position at Portland State University.
"In Portland, I started volunteering for Operation Frontline, which is now called Cooking Matters," she said. "Since moving back to Colorado Springs in 2004, I've still been volunteering at Cooking Matters, which is currently run by the Care and Share Food Bank."
Cooking Matters is a six-week cooking and nutrition course for low-income and vulnerable adults and teenagers.
"As a mother who was a good baker and cook, I took for granted the life skills she passed on, which are vital to health, budget and understanding where the food is coming from," she said. "I think it is important to be connected to the process of making good food and the time it takes to prepare healthy meals or beautiful baked goods, and I try to pass this on to my children."
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When she started her cake trolley, she made the cakes in the former cupcake girl's kitchen at night. Just before COVID-19 hit, the cupcake bakery closed and they moved their cake-making to the chefs' kitchen. This increased her oven capacity and allowed her to bake 16 cakes at the same time.
She gets help with baking mainly from her sister and daughters. During the busy holiday season, additional helpers will help. Anne Leonard Coniff, a friend of her sister's, is one of those occasional helpers. Coniff was one of the first to sign up for the cake courses Briggs offered at the beginning.
"She got to at least half a dozen classes, if not more," Briggs said of Coniff. “She loved learning how to make cakes. Finally I asked her if she wanted to be my assistant in cake class when my sister Tessa (flowers) couldn't be around. Now she comes to help us on big production days. "
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For her part, Coniff cannot say enough about Briggs.
"Your organization and execution is impressive," said Coniff. “Where others, including myself, would feel overwhelmed, Heather is buzzing with energy. She knows her kitchen and knows how to move cakes through an assembly line. Each cake comes out unique, rustic and tasty, as if it was a solo effort. … Your sister and I have come to the conclusion that Heather is only working at a higher frequency. It's her nature and makes her a successful business woman. She really loves what she does. "
Briggs is always thinking about how to keep the business going. For example, she took off the winters to make the cake trolley winterproof. There were also fewer events where she could take the truck.
However, she realized that another downturn in the winter would not only affect the financial end of her business, but also her customer base, which she would lose sight of for months. Then she came up with the Pie of the Month Club. During the winter, she and her sister baked limited quantities of cakes and delivered them by car.
The idea worked. Initially, the club was offered from January to March, and there was a delivery day every month. The club has grown in the meantime and offers two delivery dates every month throughout the year, one for the north side of the city and one for the south side.
Another friend of Briggs ', Annie Moore, who helped operate the Gold Star Pie Truck, continues to be amazed at Briggs' ingenuity.
"I remember when she chatted about that little dream she had of having a cake cart and fellowship all over town creating delicious cakes," said Moore. “And then she just did it. She does such an excellent job of manifesting everything.
"Their desire to bring people together in fun places, to party, to give away cakes, to share their cake skills, to deliver right to your door and to do it all with such an amazing and positive attitude just lifts everyone else around them", she continued. "Heather was successful because she is real, honest, true and the best cake maker in the world."
Contact the author: 636-0271.
Contact the author: 636-0271.