Mobile bakery bringing sweet treats to Niles

NILES — Turning a salty situation into a sweet one is what the Odles hope to continue doing through 2021.

Ashley and Shayne Odle, of Niles, opened Rum Sweets, a mobile bakery, in December, serving customers from their full kitchen on wheels. Cheesecakes, cupcakes elaborately decorated, petite cakes and cookies are readily available for those ready to sate their sweet tooth.

Now, the yellow trailer sits in their driveway with flags that wave “Open” when sweets are ready for purchase.

The Odles are working out contracts with local businesses, like the Hampton Inn and Skate-A-Rama, to host the bakery in parking lots — and beginning next week, the sweets will be available on DoorDash. On Jan. 13, Rum Sweets is launching its “allergy-friendly” line of baked goods, just in time for National Gluten Free Day.

“I feel strongly that everyone needs cake in their lives,” Ashley said.

Inside the trailer, the Odles have everything they need to bake the cakes, cookies and more they are becoming known for in the community.

“Even though we are out in the driveway, I am not an at-home bakery,” Ashley said. “I have a full oven, full refrigerator, deep freezer and work station. We have full sinks. We are a full, tiny bakery.”
Ashely said she and Shayne started getting serious about opening the mobile bakery between June and July of last year. They found the trailer they transformed into the bakery. On Dec. 3, Rum Sweets passed its health inspection, and opened on Dec. 9.

Rum Sweets was a dream of Ashley’s for some time. Originally, she had a fairytale theme in mind, considering going the direction of Rumpelstiltskin Sweets. The spelling became a tripping point for many, and with Ashley’s grandmother’s rum cake recipe and icing as signature items from the bakery, the simplification was embraced.

The pandemic limited Ashley’s work decorating elaborate cakes, and Shayne lost his job as a designer due to employment cuts. The timeline for Ashley’s dream bakery condensed.

“It was the five-year plan, not the six-month plan,” Shayne said.

Together, they did the research and built the bakery.

Ashley got her start in bakeries at in Vandalia at the Farmhouse Bakery. She has worked at C’est La Vie Cakes in South Bend, and still partners with the owner. Elaborate cakes are what C’est La Vie Cakes is known for, and a particular cake Ashley decorated — Taco Bell themed — went viral last year.

Shayne has come on board to help with the business, and Ashley said his design background comes in handy when they are doing decorations.

He knows the value a sweet treat can bring to an occasion. Ashley decorated his homecoming cake when he returned from Afghanistan after serving with the Army National Guard.

Rum Sweets does its baking in the evening and prepares to decorate upon ordering in the morning.

“I have [cakes and cupcakes] stores in the oven waiting, and then I frost them and send them out,” Ashley said. “It only takes me a couple of minutes to assemble, and allows me to have a very diverse menu. We can assemble as people order.”

She felt this was needed especially during the pandemic, when celebrations were cut short or planned last minute.
“People want food on demand,” Ashley said. “They won’t want to wait a week or two.”

More elaborate orders will still need some time to assemble, but Ashley is confident in getting most customers taken care of quickly with their plan.

The allergy-friendly line Rum Sweets will be launching will avoid some of the most common allergies: tree nuts, peanuts, soy, dairy, eggs and gluten.

“We are going to have completely separate equipment and separate wash basins,” Ashley said. “The ingredients are stored sealed. We are going above and beyond expectations so that anyone who buys from our allergy-friendly line can buy with confidence.”

Ashley has been taking classes to learn what it takes to keep a space allergy-friendly.

“The benefits of being in a small space is immediately after we are done baking, we pack everything away, sanitize everything top to bottom,” she said. “It doesn’t take long to clean the entire trailer. Then, we can pull out our other equipment and ingredients that are stored away.”

Together, Ashley and Shayne will be taking Rum Sweets to the Niles and surrounding communities in the coming months. They hope to be at fairs, festivals and events hosted in 2021.

Rum Sweets can be found both at their Facebook page and website, RumSweets.com.

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