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


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.

Emily| The Cake House Bakery Staff

Emily Pettit

Customer Service

Emily has had a passion for baking since she was a young girl and received an  Easy Bake Oven and Strawberry Shortcake apron. As an adult, she learned that she enjoyed making people happy, and baking sweets was a wonderful way to do that. At The Cake House, Emily is a skillful assistant in the back-of-house, and excels in customer service with her smile and a sprinkle of southern charm.

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.

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