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Tim and Karen
Icing a Cake | Bakery in Smithfield VA
Vanilla Cupcakes | Bakery in Smithfield VA

About Our Journey

I became a stay at home mom after our son Brien was born. My husband Tim’s job kept him traveling quite a bit and ultimately our family moved from state to state and then around Asia a bit before settling in Philadelphia for our son’s final years of high school. In the fall of 2017, Brien headed off to college and Tim took an early retirement from his job. Finally it was time for me to pursue my dreams! I had been preparing for over a decade to someday open a cake shop in a sweet little town. 

Tim and I began the search for a retail space for my bakery, and after several months of searching we finally found a space in a suburb north of Philly. I wasn’t in love with the property, but it was the best we’d found and it was fine. It would do. In the couple of days it took us to prepare our purchase offer for the property, I noticed my hubby was being… well, pretty crabby. For ten years Tim had been supportive of this idea, but for the last two days he seemed really unhappy. The morning we were finalizing the paperwork, I asked him what was bothering him. Tim said he had never really envisioned retiring in Philly. He didn’t really love living there, and committing to starting my business there was making him realize we were committing to staying in Philadelphia. I asked him where he might be thinking of, and he said he had really loved the Tidewater Region of Virginia when he was in the Navy. Tidewater? “Well,” I said. “I know this sweet little town called Smithfield…”

By the week’s end, we had put our house on the market and started searching for a home in Smithfield. By the spring of 2018 we were living in Smithfield and searching for a home for my bakery. We noticed that a long neglected building on South Church street was in the early stages of renovation, and we contacted the owner. By the next afternoon, we had a handshake deal to purchase the building and continue the renovation to the specs we’d need for my new cake shop! We opened The Cake House in March of 2019, and it has been a sweet time ever since!

-Karen Collier

Meet Our Team

Karen Collier | The Cake House Smithfield Bakery

Karen Collier

owner, Baker, cake artist

Karen is an artist at heart, and she began decorating cakes 25 years ago when her children, nieces, and nephew were little kids. Over the years, she really enjoyed challenging herself to master new techniques as they became popular in the industry. Karen is a Certified Master Cake Decorator, skillful in buttercream, fondant, blown sugar, and airbrushing. Once she realized that she was destined to open a cake shop someday, she began to teach herself scratch baking, and today she is hard pressed to decide which she loves more – the baking or the cake artistry! In either case, The Cake House is a dream come true for her, and she is thrilled to be a part of the Smithfield business community.

Christine Moore | The Cake House

Christine Moore

Cake Artist

Chris and her twin sister Cindy owe their early interest in cake artistry to their Aunt Lacie, who knew that their natural artistic abilities would translate perfectly to the medium of cakes. Over the years, Chris has truly become an extraordinary cake artist. In addition to her beautiful work in buttercream, Chris is a rock star at figure and sculpture work, and also at replicating logos and seals. Her creativity and talent in producing an artful cake brings television-worthy cake to the Greater Hampton Roads region.
Kelley Ryan | The Cake House

Kelley Ryan

Baker

Kelley’s interest in baking started, as it does for so many little kids, helping her mom in the kitchen. Eventually she set aside the boxed mixes to pursue scratch baking, and learned the nuances of flavor and texture. Kelley is that rare baker who excels with precision baking at work and who continuously experiments with baking and cooking at home. In baking, having a good recipe is only the first step; it is the exceptional baker who can execute that recipe perfectly every time, and Kelley is definitely an exceptional baker.

Tila Fly | Bakery in Smithfield VA

Tila Fly

Baker

For Tila, a love of baking began as a child learning how to make her grandmother’s fabulous chocolate chip cookies and cheese pies. More recently, as a military spouse, Tila has enjoyed getting to know the many regional dessert specialities that she discovered as she moved around our beautiful country. She is a tremendously versatile baker. Happy to be back in her home state of Virginia, Tila now loves sharing her baking skills with her children, and even uses kitchen math with them as a way to show the usefulness of their lessons. At The Cake House, we are thrilled that Tila is back in Virginia and sharing her outstanding baking skills with us as well!
Timothy Collier| Bakery in Smithfield VA

Tim Collier

Jack of All Trades

Karen’s husband Tim works full time for a company in Williamsburg, but he spends every Saturday working at The Cake House. He loves serving up sweets to our customers, and helping design cakes with them. Tim is also the bookkeeper for the business, and the official strong-man when it’s time to carry a wedding cake into a venue. He’s also our cabinet maker, cake stand builder, and truly our Jack – or Tim – of all trades.
Kim McNulty | Bakery in Smithfield VA

Kim McNulty

Customer service

Chances are that when you call or stop by The Cake House, the first interaction you’ll have with be with Kim. She knows our business inside and out, and can help you with anything from picking up a cupcake to ordering a beautiful custom cake. Kim also happens to be a skillful and versatile assistant in the back-of-house, which helps keep things running smoothly even during our busiest days.