Miles City’s cake boss finds shop to call home


On Thursday morning Valerie Hagemeister frosts her popular German chocolate cupcakes. (STAR PHOTO/Ashley Roness)
By: 
Ashley Roness
Star Staff Writer

What was once a laundromat and coffee shop has been revamped and reimagined as a cake and frozen yogurt shop called Hilltop Cakes.

Local residents Valerie, 32, and Donny Hagemeister, 38, began renovations this summer turning what looked like a run-down building into a welcoming stop to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.

Valerie has always loved to bake but it wasn’t until four years ago that she began to expand on her skills

“It started with me just dinking around with my kids’ birthday cakes,” Valerie said. 

That “dinking around” soon turned into friends asking her to make their cakes and that turned into a business.

The storefront idea came after Valerie was asked to make 500 cupcakes for an Erin’s Hope Project event. She quickly realized that her kitchen at home was too small.

“I got busier and busier with my cakes. So we decided it was time to expand,” Valerie said. “I think he (Donny) was happy to get me out of there. I like to bake and he likes to cook and I was overrunning the kitchen.”

The Hagemeisters’ aren’t new to owning a business. They’ve owned the local Subway for the past six years.

Hilltop Cakes opened last Friday and the unexpected happened.

Before the doors opened at 10 a.m. a crowd of people had begun to form at the door and business has been good ever since, Valerie said.

Valerie is at the shop Monday through Saturday at 8 a.m. 

“I’m not a morning person. That’s one of the reasons I don’t make donuts,” Valerie laughed. “I’ll make you a donut-flavored cupcake, though.”

Each morning, Valerie, sometimes with help from Donny, make 18 dozen cupcakes. Those 18 dozen consist of nine flavors. The cakes are made fresh each morning while the frosting is prepped the night before. 

Some flavors have been consistent like the red velvet with cream cheese frosting, the German chocolate and a simple white cake with a strawberry buttercream. 

The flavors that don’t seem to sell as well get rotated out. 

The cupcakes cost $2 apiece while frozen yogurt costs 50 cents an ounce. 

The frozen yogurt machines were once an idea for an addition to Subway but never panned out. With the cake shop the frozen yogurt seemed like a natural fit. They have three machines that offer chocolate, peanut butter, cake batter, strawberry, vanilla and cookies ’n cream along with several kinds of toppings.

According to Valerie, the shop starts to get busy after school gets out. They get a few people in the morning but not many. 

Along with the cupcakes and frozen yogurts Valerie still does custom cake orders.

In the past she has done super hero themes, Harry Potter, sports themed cakes and more. The custom cakes begin at three dollars a serving. The price takes into consideration all of the fondant and decorating work that goes into each cake.

Valerie said her favorite part is making cakes for children because their reactions when they first see the cake are the best.

The name Hilltop Cakes came from living on a hill when the business first began in their kitchen and the unique lime green decor is because it’s Valerie’s favorite color. 

For the time being, they don’t intend to hire any help. They want to see if the business takes off but they have had several inquiries about employment, said Valerie. 

Hilltop Cakes is located at 918 Bridge St. in Miles City. They are open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For more information visit the Hilltop Cake Facebook page.

(Contact Ashley Roness at starnews@midrivers.com or 406-234-0450.)

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Please see the the photo gallery Hilltop Cakes for more photos)

 

Category: