In 2015 Minnesota amended its food handler licensing to allow for “individuals to make and sell certain non-potentially hazardous food and canned goods in Minnesota without a license.”
After which, foodie entrepreneurs clamored at the opportunity to create delicious products without the red tape needed in the past. A small change in the law can lead to big impacts, and no one knows that better than Jessica Freitag of Lush Cakes.
“I started as a cottage law baker. I had been professionally baking for quite a few years at that point, but started this as just a legal way to make cakes for friends and family out of our house,” says Jessica of getting her start.
While Lush Cakes started humbly due to a change in the law, they’ve become a staple in the Waseca community after opening their flagship confections and coffee shop in Fall of 2019.
As we now know, the Fall of 2019 wasn’t the best time to open a business centered around eating and drinking. For Freitag, she took it all in stride, “As a restaurant we were basically told to shut down and stop working.”
Located in a former Dairy Queen, her building had one distinct advantage that many others did not: a drive-thru.
“For that first month, we were shut down. I stayed home with my kids and basically sat applying for every grant possible. Then we slowly reopened. We opened the drive-thru back up, and it was just me for quite a while, working by myself. I’d go in and bake pastries, run everything all day, until that got to me too much and I had to ask staff to start coming back to work. Slowly they came back and started helping out together,” she says of running the business during the pandemic.
Despite the initial setback, Lush Cakes has grown every year since their inception. And that’s not just luck or market conditions. Freitag has the culinary expertise necessary to allow her to deliver exactly what clients are looking for. Freitag is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu where she attended directly out of highschool. She attended the school for a year and then decided to just jump right in. She’s been cooking professionally ever since.
“I moved back to Mankato around 2007. I’d been working in the cities and I worked in Florida for a little while. I worked for D’amico’s up in the Cities, and one of their sister restaurants in Florida. Shortly after I moved home, I got hired by Mankato Independent Originals (MIO) down at Neighbors. I moved to Number 4 when that opened, and then started doing the desserts for all their restaurants,” recounts Jessica.
Along with crafting the desserts for the restaurants, she also handled them for MIO’s catering business. Needless to say, she was busy.
Jessica muses, “It was a lot. I learned a lot, though. They [MIO] let me experiment. They let me kind of have creative freedom. I learned a lot about flavors and flavor combinations, and just what desserts sell in this area, too.”
This solid underpinning has given Lush Cakes the reputation that it rightly deserves. Between her catering and the popularity of the Waseca location, Lush is ready to expand.
Freitag will be opening a new location, similar, but slightly different to their Waseca location, in Old Town Mankato. Located in the Hugo building, they’re aiming to bring everything great about Lush Cakes to the heart of the Key City.
“We’re hoping to be able to take more cakes than we were able to before. And just to be able to reach more people. We’re just excited to be in Mankato and having this option,” Jessica says of the new location.
While there is no date set yet for opening the Mankato location, Freitag is doing everything she can to move things along and open for service in the Mankato area.
Good things come to those who wait. But if you’re too impatient or just need to satiate your confection craving, the Waseca location is still open and ready to take your order.
530 N Riverfront Drive #15
Mankato, MN 56001
Phone: (507) 201-3245