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Tamaqua bakery brings cheer to sick children

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    Aimee Dotson, owner of Pamkakes in Tamaqua, makes custom cakes for special occasions, wedding cakes and dream cakes for the nonprofit organization, Icing Smiles. KRISTINE PORTER/TIMES NEWS

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    Aimee Dotson, owner of Pamkakes in Tamaqua, makes custom cakes for special occassions, wedding cakes and dream cakes for the nonprofit organization, Icing Smiles. KRISTINE PORTER/TIMES NEWS

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    This cake is an example of a specialty cake made at Pamkakes in Tamaqua. PHOTO PROVIDED

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    This is a wedding cake made by Aimee Dotson, owner of Pamkakes in Tamaqua. PHOTO PROVIDED

Published December 14. 2019 06:30AM

When Aimee Dotson bought a bakery business, she also bought an opportunity to provide cakes to some very sick children.

About four years ago, Dotson purchased Pamkakes from her boss and moved the business to Tamaqua from Hometown.

When she bought the business, it was already listed with Icing Smiles as a bakery willing to donate custom cakes. Icing Smiles provides the cakes for birthdays and other celebrations to sick children.

“Icing smiles is a wonderful organization,” she said. “When I was first asked to participate, I thought it was a wonderful idea and kept doing it. Honestly, I don’t know how many I have done for them — maybe seven or eight.”

Dotson said she loves to do cakes that aren’t supposed to look like cakes.

“I’ve always been artistic,” she said. “I just love making edible pieces of art.”

These custom cakes give her an opportunity to explore her creativity and give the children something special.

“I think it’s really great to be able to provide dream cakes for children who are usually consumed with illness. They deserve a day to be special and just a celebration,” she said. “Many families with children who are sick have so many other expenses and concerns that a custom cake isn’t an option. I love to be able to provide that for them.”

At her bakery, Dotson also runs cake decorating classes for adults every month and cake decorating parties for children and adults, too.

The classes follow a theme, such as Halloween, fall, Easter. She can accommodate about 18 students, and she advertises these events on her website and Facebook page.

As for the parties, children as young as 4 years old can participate. She teaches a lesson on decorating, and then the little ones decorate cookies while older children decorate cupcakes. They learn how to use fondant and dabble in the sprinkles. After the party, the children take their creations home. The parties also include pizza and a birthday cake.

If someone wants a private lesson or two, she can do that as well.

Wedding cakes and other special occasion cakes are her staple. She offers a wide variety of flavors and fillings, but the first step is meeting with the couple to design their cake.

“I love sitting down with a couple ... especially the couples who come in and have no idea what they want their wedding cake to look like. ... The look on their face when we come up with the cake that they want. It just puts a smile on their face,” she said. “I like being a part of that whole process. I really enjoy that.”

Dotson said she prefers to book a wedding cake at least six months in advance, and specialty cakes a minimum of two weeks beforehand. Fall has become the new June for weddings.

“October is my month that books up the fastest,” she said

The trends for decorations change, so she tries to do whatever the couple wants.

She delivers the cakes to the venue and has gone as far away as New York City. Locally, the venues tend to be Mountain Valley Golf Course, Catalpa Grove at Lakewood Park, Schuylkill Country Club and The Glasbern Inn, to name a few.

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