Villanova University sophomore Natalie Galvez '16 has a jam-packed schedule as a Political Science major in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, with a double minor in Spanish and Sociology. The Miami, Fla. native has plans to go to law school once she graduates as well, but possesses an impressive talent outside of the classroom that may also guide her future career plans: baking and decorating cakes.
It was while planning her 16th birthday that Galvez’s business, “Natalie’s Cake Creations,” was born. The expensive bakery cake her family purchased for her 15th birthday did not live up to its billing, so Galvez thought long and hard about her next birthday cake. “Why buy a cake,” she thought. She watched “Cake Boss” and “Ace of Cakes.” If they could do it, she could do it too!
Galvez’s birthday cake was so good that her family and friends suggested she start her own business. Heeding their advice, she started a cake business right out of her family’s kitchen. In an effort to hone her talent, Galvez took multiple baking and decorating classes at Wilton Cake Decorating.
As Galvez’s talent for baking and decorating cakes grew, so too did her reputation. She was making anywhere from 10-15 cakes per month, from wedding cakes to birthday cakes – and everything in between. Galvez also worked closely with the local community, donating large amounts of cakes for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners at Homeless Shelters and other facilities.
Galvez thought about attending college locally, and was also offered jobs at nearby bakeries, but her journey instead took her from her Miami home more than 1,100 miles north to Villanova University. And the college fund she grew through her business, and the hundreds of cakes she made and sold, helped her on this path to Villanova.
Now a sophomore at Villanova, Galvez re-started The Baking Club, for which she currently serves as President. The Club, which had been dormant for several years at the University, began small but has since grown to more than 300 members.
“The club has really grown in popularity,” Galvez noted. “Baking is something many people love to do back home, but are unable to do at school because of the lack of kitchen space available to them.”
Galvez works with Nancy Miller, the Executive Chef for Commissary and Catering (and Pastry Chef) in Dougherty Hall on Villanova’s Main Campus, to host Bakery Club events. The club averages between 50 and 100 students per event, and Galvez sees increased membership and events in its future.
“Baking is a great way to release the stress of everyday life, and indulge in something delicious that you learn to make,” Galvez added. “I am looking forward to further expanding the club next year and hosting more events.”
Galvez still runs her business at Villanova, making cakes and cupcakes for staff, students and others. She makes fewer cakes these days due to the demands of her class schedule and the lack of kitchen space of her own. But between a growing Baking Club, and Villanova friends who have generously donated their apartment ovens, “Natalie’s Cake Creations” live on.
“I have been making cakes here at school more to promote entrepreneurship among the student body,” Galvez said. “I am lucky to be respected as not only a student at Villanova, but as an entrepreneur as well.”
With her sophomore year still winding down, Galvez has plenty of time to think about her career aspirations. For Galvez, however, the writing on the cake is clear. She plans on attending law school and becoming a lawyer for a large corporation in the food industry.
“And have a small cake business on the side, of course,” Galvez adds.
Next Up: The next Baking Club event is Wednesday, April 2, at 8pm in the St. Mary's Dining Hall, on the campus of Villanova University. On the menu … Cake Pops!