2023 is the year of the rabbit. And that’s no coincidence for Ania Gorkiewicz-Sullivan as her masterpiece cake creations are truly hoppin’ this year!
For years, the Heber Valley had little to no options when it came to a custom-order, made-from-scratch cake bakery. That is, until a handful of talented bakers made their way to our valley and brought a bit of extra sweetness with them.
Ania (Ahn-ya) Gorkiewicz-Sullivan with Hungry Bunny is one of several bakers that have recently opened up shop here in our valley; offering custom orders to satisfy sweet cravings from Charleston to Red Ledges. Opening (and thriving) in 2019, Ania went thru a life changing adventure of getting Hungry Bunny into existence — before she baked a single cake.
Originally from a small town in Poland, Ania grew up watching her mom and grandfather cook and bake from scratch in their kitchens. One of her earliest memories is of her mom and all the other women at a family gathering making a hedgehog cake that had sliced almonds for the spikes. It impressed her 4-year-old mind greatly. Because of these influences, she learned at a young age that she loved to cook and bake.
She met and married her husband, Matt, while he was working in Poland for two years as a graphic designer. Because of Matt’s job with the U.S. Ski team, they eventually moved to Heber. Ania was very nervous about moving a world away from everyone and everything she had ever known. When she got to Heber, even though it was beautiful, it took her a bit to acclimate to a whole new way of life. They lived in a charming 1920’s home; and began renovating and fixing it up so, Ania was spending a lot of time at home. In 2018 a friend asked if she would help him sell cakes at the farmer’s market in Heber. She said yes. In that same year, she also started working as a cake decorator at Lee’s Marketplace and loved it! In the two years she worked there Ania shared that it brought her a lot of happiness, especially during Covid. While working at the farmer’s market for a couple of seasons, people started requesting her custom cakes, and that’s how Hungry Bunny got its start. Matt, being her biggest cheerleader, encouraged her to go for it and even built the bakery in their own home. He helped her with the logistics of marketing, the website, deliveries, and the occasional building of odds and ends. He also helped her at the farmer’s markets.
Before Ania could start to bake, not only did she have to learn how to make American style cakes, she also had to learn the United States customary units. Due to nearly everything being different than Poland, including things like flour, butter, eggs, temperatures, times, and even elevation, to say there was a lot of trial and error would be an understatement. Once she perfected her cake recipes, Ania started taking custom orders; focusing on being in close contact with clients. She loves making every single client feel special and heard. A lot of repeat clients have come to trust her and know that the final product will be exactly as they had envisioned. Wedding cakes have the important role of tying all the small and large details together. Ana prides herself on working closely with her brides for the perfect colors, sizes, flavors, and detailed decorations. She wants their cake to be the epitome of their dream wedding cake. Ania explains, “From the minute you talk to the baker, [creating the] cake should be a whole experience, it’s not ‘just a cake’ you’re getting.”
“I’m kind of known for ‘less sweet’ treats, I get a lot of clients coming back for just that reason.” People also come to her for her amazing cake decorations. For this reason, most of the requests she receives are for kids’ cakes. Fondant characters are her favorite decoration to create, and if she could make a living just doing characters, she would absolutely do it.
Hungry Bunny has become a favorite with the kids too. Every year they call her and personally tell her their ideas. “My heart is with kids’ cakes, I love creating colorful, whimsical, goofy stuff for little kids.”
There have definitely been challenges for Ania‘s business. The happy, bright pink bakery can only comfortably fit one person at a time. She is keeping her options open to one day expanding and hiring more help, as difficult as that may be. She feels that is the next step, but doesn’t want to lose the close connections she has with her client base. It will definitely be a balancing act. Hungry Bunny is a one-woman show and that can mean a lot of long hours. Some days and nights will have her working 16 to 18 hours at a time; leaving her utterly exhausted. But the very next morning, she is right back at it, ready to do it all again. Ania recommends ordering as early as possible to get a guaranteed spot. Spring, summer, and holidays are her busiest times. Community is important to her and if there is ever anything she can’t do, she is glad to recommend another bakery to suit those needs. She is glad there are options for everyone in our valley.
Speaking in person with Ania, she revealed that moving to Heber was her biggest and scariest adventure. As someone who has a Masters Degree in Genocide Studies, she was scared at the thought of having to completely reinvent herself. Hungry Bunny forced her out of her comfort zone, to put herself out there. She has made strong connections and friends because of Hungry Bunny and in turn it has become more than just a business, it has also become her passion. She is amazed that not only does it provide an income for her, but the business has also brought so much joy to herself and to clients.
Our valley receives thousands of visitors looking for fun adventures; and it’s extra sweet knowing that even locals are experiencing amazing and brave adventures of their own, whether it’s baking cakes or eating cakes!
Holiday Treats • Cakes • Cookies • Cupcakes • Dessert Tables • More!