In ‘knead’ of sweets: Farmington woman finds challenge, fun with Kneady Lady Bakery | Free

Anna Goettl, the artist and baker of the Kneady Lady Bakery, loves the challenge of a new design, like the chance to create a Nintendo Switch cake with detachable controls for a fifth birthday or a tractor-driving bunny that combined a client’s Easter and birthday wishes.

Currently specializing in custom cakes, cookies and macarons, she’s thinking about adding croissants to her menu. Why?

“Because they are fussy like macarons. I like it when it’s hard, which is why I also like it when people have ideas that aren’t your typical cake,” she said.

Anna enjoys the discovery process that baking allows: “I like the science, the magic. I also like when something doesn’t work out. Did I not bring the butter to room temperature? Was it the order of the ingredients? I like the trouble shooting.”

For Anna, the transition to working from home during the pandemic allowed her more time do something she loves. Days before the birth of her second child in February 2020, her entire corporate legal team was terminated. Debating her next professional venture as the pandemic took hold, she decided to dive fully into her custom bakery business, which she had established the year before after returning to the south metro following her husband’s completion of his Navy service. The bakery business quickly picked up during the pandemic, in part due to her greater capacity to accept orders and be flexible about pickup times since her home is also her bakery.

Whether it’s buying her eggs from Farmington’s Brand Farms to support another local producer, running her Eagan Market Fest stand, or creating cookies decorated as individual children’s books for a baby shower, Anna is energized by the community aspect of food. She also strongly believes in small businesses.

“With any custom vendors, you’re supporting local, which is awesome, but it’s also something that’s an investment in that person and their family,” she said. “It does directly impact them. I paid our mortgage in part with baked goods.”

Anna honed her baking skills while attending law school at night. She always liked baking, especially for other people. Her mom used to make dozens of Christmas cookies to give away and would enlist Anna and her siblings to decorate them. Anna’s classmates were an eager test kitchen. They offered creative suggestions and ingredient challenges.

Her first official event was a high stakes one.

“Right after I passed the bar exam my Mom ‘hired’ me to make and decorate cookies for my sister’s baby shower. She didn’t pay me, but it was my first official job. It was important.”

Her Mom named the future bakery that day. Since it wasn’t her kitchen, Anna needed help in finding things.

“At one point my Mom stopped and said, ‘Gosh, you’re so needy.’ Then she laughed and said that I should name my bakery that,” she said. “My husband is the king of puns so it just fit. I like to do community outreach so it’s kneady like bread but there’s also a charity component as I do what I can to meet other people’s needs.”

For Anna, food is a way for people to express themselves. She enjoys delivering her customers’ messages. Still a licensed attorney who does freelance legal work, the bakery is her passion project:

“I love what I do and I love making things special,” she said. “I love making them as personal and special as you want me to make them. This is my pride and joy. This bakery is my third kid.”

Someday Anna would love to own a storefront with her daughters where people could gather. She pictures it to be like Tiana’s Place from the Princess and the Frog, a place for people to enjoy good food and friends. Gwen, 4, likes to help, so Anna saves the extra pieces for her to decorate. Gwen is also the built-in taste tester, though she prefers frosting to any of the bakery’s cakes or cookies. Izzy, 1, supervises the baking. Anna saves most of the decorating work to do after the girls are in bed.

Anna’s favorite snack is stove-top popcorn with a secret seasoning that makes it taste like the movies. Her husband Mike has perfected a blended grilled cheese, which Anna says is her favorite comfort food; it’s just right for a rainy day.

Find Anna through her website or on Facebook @kneadyladybakery. She will be at Eagan Market Fest this summer. Customers can also arrange for pick ups in Eagan or Farmington.

Anna shared a recipe that she makes to sneak in some more fruits and vegetables for her girls. Enjoy them with breakfast or as a snack any time of day.

Baked Banana-Nut Oatmeal Cups

1 1⁄2 cups low-fat milk

2 ripe bananas, mashed (about 3/4 cup)

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1⁄2 cup toasted chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a muffin tin with cooking spray.

2. Combine oats, milk, bananas, brown sugar, eggs, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla and salt in a large bowl. Fold in pecans. Divide the mixture among the muffin cups (about 1/3 cup each). Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

To make ahead: Wrap airtight and refrigerate for up to two days or freeze for up to three months.

Meet the Minnesota Makers: Land of 10,000 Treats is an occasional feature by freelance writer Michelle M. Sharp. Send feedback to [email protected]