Made in Michiana: C’est La Vie Cakes

Made in Michiana: C’est La Vie Cakes

SOUTH BEND, Ind.—This week’s Made in Michiana brings us to C’est La Vie Cakes in South Bend.

Owning an award-winning boutique bakery wasn’t always the plan for Courtney Hopkins.

“This kind of just fell into my lap,” Hopkins said.

In fact, Hopkins was on a much different career path not too long ago.

“I worked as an insurance agent for eight years,” Hopkins said.

It wasn’t until she found the right baker for her own wedding cake that her future suddenly became clear.

“When I met with the lady, I literally walked out of her house and was like, ‘this is just awesome, I’m going to start a wedding cake business after we get married,’” Hopkins said.

Hopkins started small, practicing in her own kitchen and eventually taking on the task full time.

“I wasn’t quite ready to have a shop, so I leased the kitchen out of a restaurant,” Hopkins said. “We would do any sort of special occasion cakes. You kind of have to start with that and build up a clientele that is going to entrust you to make their wedding cakes.”

It wasn’t long before C’est La Vie Cakes earned a reputation as the go-to spot for intricately designed, custom-made wedding cakes.

“Once I got busy enough with wedding cakes, because it was just me, and my husband would help sometimes, and my mom, I just didn’t have a lot of space and I didn’t have the manpower, so I just made wedding cakes,” Hopkins said.

Seven years after its inception, C’est La Vie Cakes has grown so popular that Hopkins and her husband, Brandon, decided it was time to open a storefront bakery.

“It was something that I had always kind of wanted from the beginning, but I wanted to take it slow and make sure we had the business to support it and not make rash decisions,” Hopkins said.

Since the grand opening of the shop in July, C’est La Vie Cakes has expanded well beyond just wedding cakes.

“Now that we have the store, I have more staff, we always have the retail stuff and then we’re starting to do other stuff like birthdays, baby showers, and things like that,” Hopkins said.

Though expanding, Hopkins is staying true to her roots.

“Weddings are still where my heart is. That’s what I love to do. Our other baker, Ashley, that works here, she definitely loves birthday cakes and things like that so we’re a good match,” Hopkins said.

While moving to the new location has allowed the business to evolve into a much more diverse bakery, Hopkins said the transition was no cakewalk.

“It was a lot to move in here,” Hopkins said. “The store was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I felt like I had a business already and we were just opening up a store but there’s so many more aspects to it than that. Each week gets easier and easier, but I thought it would be a lot easier than it was.”

C’est La Vie Cakes is located at 1724 N. Ironwood Drive Suite A.

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