SAPULPA, Okla. — Cassie Malone, also known as “Sugar Mama” has been baking for about six years and to say this is her passion, is an understatement.
“It helps me get out of my head. It’s like a stress relief for me. It’s one of the most joyful things that I’ve ever done in my life,” said Malone.
Her other true love is foster kids.
“We started fostering in 2017. In Oklahoma actually, I think for about a year before we moved up to Wyoming, and then we got certified in Wyoming. And while we were there, we had about 70 kids. We, or I could not say no. My husband just went along with it,” shared Malone. ”I think at one time we had up to 12 kids. Some of them just stayed the night, some of them stayed a long time. We adopted two of them. It’s definitely a journey.”
Baking cakes have definitely played an essential role when it comes to being a foster parent.
“I’ve used [baking cakes] as an ice-breaker. Coming into a new foster home, it’s really scary and they don’t know what to expect and they’re just really on edge. Once they know I’m a baker their eyes just automatically light up. It’s an instant connection with them,” said Malone.
Her love for both foster kids and designing cakes go hand in hand. She decided to create a custom cake for every child in foster care for free.
Malone’s husband states that the best part of what she does is that when a foster kid receives one of her cakes, for a minute they forget they are in foster care.
“Everyone on their birthday deserves to feel special. It could just be living in poverty, something like that can prevent a special day like that to go unnoticed,’ said Malone.
“People coming together as a community is one of the biggest things that is going to help these kids be successful.”
Malone began her mission during the start of COVID in 2019 and many others were inspired to help.
“The community just grabbed it and ran with it. I had people dropping off donations, ingredients. Things were flying off the shelves at this time too. We couldn’t find anything. I had people going to different stores and towns looking for stuff, and they would drop it off,” shared Malone.
Her husband says they set up a table in the front of their house for no contact drop off.
“I ended up making 200 cakes in about two months,” said Malone.
Then, in 2019 tragedy struck that nearly threatened to rob Malone of her ability to foster and bake. She was diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome [GBS], a rare condition where one’s autoimmune system damages their nerves.
“I had never heard of it before they said I had it,” said Malone.
It started with an excruciating pain in her leg.
“One night, I was soaking in the bathtub and I couldn’t get out. I couldn’t get out of the bathtub. I was stuck. I was freaking out. My husband helped me up and put clothes on me and took me to the ER,” said Malone.
The next day, Malone learned she had GBS.
“The doctor told me that if she didn’t do treatment, it would go into my lungs and start paralyzing my organs and at that time I couldn’t feel my legs or feet or anything,” said Malone.
She was told by doctors that the immune system attacked her nerves and damaged a coating around the nerves. The received a treatment which stopped the damage from progressing, but she still had the damage that it had already caused.
“It was a very traumatic experience for us,” said Malone.
All of their foster kids had to move out and Malone had to move into an inpatient rehab facility.
When I first got there, I was pretty much bedridden. Holding a pencil was hard,” recalled Malone.
Through occupational therapy, physical therapy and water therapy Malone gradually gained the strength to walk with the assistance of a walker.
Her therapy continued when she returned home.
Malone was eventually able to trade in a walker for a cane. Eight months after receiving the fateful diagnosis, Malone knew it was time.
“I decided to learn how to bake again,” said Malone. “For me to be able to offer that to the community, it helped me get out of bed. Just losing everything, losing my health that was really hard on me. Plus, not being able to foster, that was really hard on me, and that’s where my heart is. Just to be involved with that again, meant a lot.”
Malone and her husband moved back to Tulsa in 2021 and have three daughters.
“They turn ten this week. They all get their own cakes. We fostered and adopted them. They’re from different families, but they’re only one day apart,” said Malone.
Their other daughter is eight and Malone will be making her cake in Feb.
As far as her health Malone is still recovering from GBS.
“I think my hands are stronger now than they were before the GBS. All of the OT has really helped a lot when it comes to the cakes,” said Malone.
She used her baking skills for a Christmas event for foster kids in Dec.
In late 2021, Malone hadn’t really been promoting her page since returning to Okla. A woman called Malone about baking a cake. It wasn’t just any cake. She wanted a special cake for her foster daughter.
It was then, Malone knew she needed to reconnect with her mission that she had started all the way back in Wyoming. So far she has designed a total of 30 birthday cakes for foster kids in Green Country. Malone has even received orders from Oklahoma City.
“I can do any flavor or filling they want. If they can think it, I can do it. Any design that they want, as crazy as it gets. I’ve put lights, sparklers in cakes, " said Malone. “Almost every kid I’ve baked a cake for, it’s like a new life experience for them.”
Which is something Malone understands now more than she ever has.
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