LEHI, Utah – The city of lights illuminates Addie Branham’s mind. The 12-year-old works surrounded by images of the Eiffel Tower and a large clock with the words “Addie’s Boulangerie,” French for “bakery.”
Addie Branham inspects a cake in progress in her basement kitchen in Lehi. (June 19, 2018)
Her space is her own — her Parisian palace, down in the family’s basement, consists of a small kitchen the family built for her after a light flood.
“I just like the little cafe things,” Addie said, pointing to a piece of art on the wall depicting a Parisian cafe.
Although she’s never been to Paris, surrounding herself with designs of its sights are where she feels most at home — far away from the outside world.
“Addie’s a little shy,” said her mom, Traci Branham. “She’s always been like that, from when she was very little.”
But if you ask Traci, sometimes it’s the shy ones hiding the secret talents.
Addie Branham says she gained a lot of knowledge by watching her favorite videos on YouTube, called “How to Cake It.” (June 19, 2018)
“She’s always like to cook and bake with me,” Traci said. “And unbeknownst to me, she was watching YouTube videos.”
Addie wasn’t just baking cakes — she was learning new skills online, and building her own masterpieces.
One of several images of the Eiffel Tower in Addie Branham’s kitchen. (June 19, 2018)
“I started posting them on Instagram, and so friends of mine would say ‘Hey, can I order a cake?'” Traci said.
“Some of the people like at my mom’s work saw it,” she said. “And then when they got a cake, they told other people.”
When Addie’s dad was deployed to Afghanistan, she got even better — thanks to the United States Army.
“They give all the kids $500 to do after school activities, just to keep their mind off dad being gone,” said Traci.
Of course, Addie took a cake-making class — and it was then that she received some of the toughest news a kid can get.
“She had to go in for a scan, and then she came back and she told us all,” Addie said.
Addie’s mom had cancer.
A Paris-inspired table sits in Addie Branham’s kitchen. (June 19, 2018)
“This was her out,” Traci said. “This is what she did to not think about dad gone, and mom being sick.”
Addie immersed herself in the art of creating custom cakes, honing her skills with each one — cakes for birthdays, weddings, and everything in between — and the orders poured in.
“She has an LLC,” Traci said. “It’s called ‘Miss Addie’s Cakes.’ It’s under my name, because you have to be 16 to have a business license.
She has to keep track of all her receipts, and goes to the accountant with us.”
Addie’s dad came home, and her mom beat her cancer — and as the business has grown, so has Addie.
“Oh, she’s totally changed,” Traci said. “It’s helped her come out of her shell a little bit.”
Addie’s even learned the art of knowing when to speak up and say, “No.”
“Someone asked me to do a school,” she said. “Like, shape a school, and it was on Wednesday and they wanted it on Friday, and yeah – I said ‘No.'”
While she may not quite be ready for the bright lights of a cooking show, that’s because there’s only room for one dream in Addie’s kitchen:
Addie Branham works on a wedding cake in her basement kitchen in Lehi. (June 19, 2018)
“I want to go somewhere in Paris,” she said.
“I don’t know why she’s enamored with Paris,” Traci said with a laugh. “She loves pastries, and even though she started in the cake business, she wants to do it all. I think that’s the big draw, is seeing all the French pastries. Their food is art.
Maybe one day, you’ll find Addie cooking crepes by the Eiffel Tower — and with each new cake, she’s learning that even the capital of cooking isn’t out of reach.
“She’s always struggled with kind of like thinking that she’s talented,” Traci said. “This has made her realize that ‘Yeah, what I am, I’m good enough.'”
The cake Addie made for her dad’s Army retirement. (June 19, 2018)
Addie Branham’s mom Traci smiles as she watches her daughter at work. (June 19, 2018)
Addie Branham cuts a piece of fondant, which she often uses to cover her cakes. (June 19, 2018)
Addie Branham says her dream is to visit Paris. (June 19, 2018)
A birthday cake made by Addie Branham is shown on her Instagram page. (June 19, 2018)
Addie Branham’s first Lego-inspired cake is shown on her Instagram page. (June 19, 2018)
A Mario cake made by Addie Branham is shown on her Instagram page. (June 19, 2018)
A cake made by Addie Branham for a baby shower is shown on her Instagram page. (June 19, 2018)
Addie Branham says animal-inspired cakes are some of the most challenging ones to make. (June 19, 2018)
Addie Branham has never been to Paris, but dreams of going there one day. (June 19, 2018)
The Branham family built a kitchen just for Addie’s business after a small flood in the basement. (June 19, 2018)