LOS ANGELES — It seems like just about everyone has been bitten in some way by the quarantine baking bug.
First, it was banana bread, then sourdough, but for Betta With Butta's Chris Tucker it's always been cake.
“When I think about making something edible that brings joy to somebody, in a way it fulfills me," Tucker said. "And it brings back the memories of baking with my grandma as a kid.”
More than just a passion though, baking is Tucker's career. After moving to Los Angeles to become "a hairstylist to the stars" he appeared on "The Great American Baking Show" and soon after founded his own company, Betta with Butta.
But like almost every sector during the pandemic, Tucker has had to make some shifts to his business model.
“I think the only thing you can do in a time like this is figure out what you can do moving forward, not complain about it, and find a way to give back," he said.
It was that last option that really hit home for Tucker. One day as he was delivering a cake, he wondered how many kids across Los Angeles would be going without birthday cakes of their own this year.
“When you think about a birthday cake, it’s something that’s made with love, but it’s also something that can be an added expense to families,” he said.
With millions of Californians unemployed, simple novelties such as getting a birthday cake from a bakery might have been the first to go for some families.
And it was that thought that motivated Tucker to launch the Cake Initiative. Every week, he selects one family to deliver a custom-made birthday cake.
“We wanted to make sure that if it was just for that three minutes they were indulging in something that brought a smile to their face, we could be a part of that," he said.
More than just L.A.-based families, the movement has spread to other bakers and communities across the country. Because baking is about the smile you can bring to someone else, he said.
"Being able to watch somebody eat what you made, and it puts a smile on their face, it's the whole 'why' behind what we do," Tucker said.
To nominate someone to receive their own birthday cake, visit Tucker's Instagram, Betta With Butta.