Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010 | 3:30 p.m.
Map of Dainty Cakes Bakery
2708 N. Green Valley Parkway, Henderson
Watching Diane Richardson and Amanda Rowan chat at Dainty Cakes Bakery, it seems obvious they are old friends. Richardson asks if she can hold Rowan’s newborn baby and inquires about her 3-year-old daughter, Cadence, who is busy in the bathroom wiping off the leftovers of a peanut butter fudge cookie.
Before Richardson opened her bakery near the corner of Green Valley Parkway and Sunset Road this summer, they’d actually never met. But listening to Richardson describe her philosophy at Dainty Cakes, it’s easy to understand what happened.
For 25 years, Richardson worked as an insurance adjuster. Her daily business involved people “on their worst days,” she said. Plane crashes and car accidents were part of her life every day.
To escape from her work, Richardson said she would come home and bake treats for family and friends. So, at the age of 48, with her day job continuing to wear on her, she decided to take a new direction.
Six months later, she said she couldn’t be happier: “I’ve found my thing.”
“As my old boss would say: ‘This is diametrically opposed.’ It’s mostly happy occasions,” said Richardson, a lifelong valley resident and graduate of UNLV. “We have a lot of loyal customers and I think of them as my friends.”
Count Rowan as one of them. A doctor’s appointment for Cadence brought them to the Trader Joe’s shopping plaza that is home to Dainty Cakes, and the wily youngster politely asked for a treat afterward.
Impressed by the “soft, chewy and fresh” texture of Richardson’s peanut butter cream pie, Rowan said she and Cadence came back three days later. Nowadays, you’ll find them at Dainty Cakes at least once a week.
“I’ve never had anything I didn’t like,” said Rowan, although she still strongly recommends the cream pie. “And Diane, she is very friendly and very good with the kids.”
With some help from her husband, Michael, who comes into Dainty Cakes after a workday as an environmental scientist for the state of Nevada to help his wife, and her mother, Richardson said opening her own business had its challenges but ultimately proved rewarding as she grew acquainted with her neighborhood.
She’s taken some customers’ recipes and put her own spin on them. Richardson bakes loaves of bread for every Friday, and Rowan said you have to reserve one by Wednesday to get your hands on her “briche” bread.
So far, so good, Richardson said. Turning her favorite hobby into a business venture has been good for her.
“It’s structured. It’s relaxing. It has an end result,” she said. “Things are better.”
Dainty Cakes Bakery is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.