I don’t know about you, but I’m hopelessly addicted to The Food Network. Something about watching someone whip up a tuna tartare appetizer followed by some crazy concoction of leeks and short ribs really fills my need for grown-up TV at night. Granted, my own culinary skills don’t extend too far past chicken nuggets and tacos, but seeing a 7-layer LEGO cake with blue fondant on Cake Boss somehow makes me think, “I wonder if I could do that?” (Spoiler alert: I probably can’t, but there’s no harm in dreaming.)
Addie Branham, however, doesn’t have to dream. Her next-level cake-baking talents rival anything I’ve seen on The Food Network — and she’s only 12!
The Lehi, Utah native is the owner of Miss Addie’s Cakes (yep, she runs her own business — she’s that good) and says she’s loved being in the kitchen since as far back as she can remember. In fact, her mom Traci tells Babble that even as a very young child, Addie and her friends used to pretend they were on a reality TV baking competition. And now as a tween, Addie is well on her way to doing just that.
Having already competed in local cake competitions, and shown off her eye-popping creations on her Instagram page, Addie is getting more and more national attention for her talents. In fact, Pepsy Garcia, a pastry chef who competed on Cake Wars recently told Deseret News that she believes Addie will one day headline her own cake show, thanks to the talent she has.
Addie’s pastry talents aren’t just for fun, though. She tells Babble that over the years, baking has helped her cope with some difficult challenges, including her dad’s deployment to Afghanistan and her mom’s battle with cancer.
“When my dad was gone and my mom was sick, I worried a lot,” she says. “And would sometimes get stomach aches. But when I was baking and decorating cakes it helped to keep my mind of everything that was going on around me.”
The good news is, Addie’s mom Traci is doing much better, and her cancer is officially in remission. Addie’s dad has also retired from the military after 30 years of service, so he will be around a lot more to sample his daughter’s creations and cheer her on. (He even surprised the family with an unexpected homecoming recently!)
Cake making has served as more than just a great distraction during hard times, though. It’s also helped Addie work through her shyness and insecurities that lots of kids face.
“I am very shy and have struggled with my confidence, but realizing that I have a great talent at something I really enjoy has helped me,” Chef Addie tells Babble. “I still get quiet when I have to talk to people — especially people I don’t know. [But] owning my own business has helped me be more outgoing.”
So what does the future hold for a star like Addie? For starters, she says she really wants to go to Paris one day to attend culinary school. “My best friend and I have always talked about owning our own bakery someday,” she shares.
As for the short-term? “I also think it would be pretty awesome to work with the pastry chefs at Disneyland,” she says. “It doesn’t get much better then that.”
No, it certainly doesn’t, Addie. But you’re well on your way! Keep chasing your dreams and I’ll be watching for you on The Food Network!