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Cottage food industry helps Montanans realize small business dreams

Pop of Cake custom cake pops
Posted at 3:46 PM, May 13, 2022

HELENA - Lauren Reisbeck isn’t just a baker, you could also consider her an artist. She makes cake pops in the form of little cows, margaritas, Barbie princesses, you name it—and she does it all from her home kitchen. Reisbeck’s business, Pop of Cake, is one of many in Montana’s cottage food industry.

According to data from the Montana Department of Health and Human Services, more than 420 Montanans were granted cottage food licenses in the past five years. Reisbeck has been making cake pops for a decade, and with the encouragement of friends and family, she decided to start Pop of Cake in December 2021. She researched what she needed to do, got the licenses she needed, and got the business started.

“I first started off doing a little Facebook page,” Reisbeck said. “It just took off and I am busier than I ever thought possible.”

According to Montana law, cottage foods are made in a home kitchen. They also have to qualify as non-potentially hazardous, meaning they don’t allow for microbial growth. Non-potentially hazardous food items include things like cookies, granola, coffee and cake pops.

Reisbeck’s cake pops come in six different flavors—red velvet, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, lemon and funfetti. When it comes to designs, she works with what the customer wants.

“I love when they can relay what they are wanting in an idea, and I can portray that out in a cake pop for them,” Reisbeck said.

Reisbeck has made cake pops for a number of different special events, from birthdays to weddings. Montana law requires cottage food products be sold to customers face-to-face, so Reisbeck delivers her cake pops and gets to see her customers’ reactions.

“That’s the best part about it,” Reisbeck said. “Just to see their excitement makes my day.”