Cottage Baker Starts New Chapter of Her Business

by | Mar 2023

Tiered Cake Frosting Roses

Photos: Maxwell Behnke

One local turns love of baking into a business.

If Elouise Suoja could choose a magical power; it would be for frosting to make itself.

The 19-year-old Mahtomedi High School alumna laughed as she explained the well-thought-out magical power that would complement her love for baking.

Suoja, owner of 350 Degrees Bakery, has a bright future ahead of her. With several years in the kitchen already under her belt, she is looking forward to turning her passion into a full-time career. “I’m mostly self-taught, and I just really love doing this,” she says.

Suoja developed her passion for baking at 14 years old through front yard bake sales. She and a friend would spend two days baking cupcakes, cookies and puff pastry desserts for friends, family and neighbors. At 16, Suoja began working at a bakery in Stillwater, where she learned the ins and outs of a baking business. But it wasn’t until 2021 that she knew baking was going to be her career.

Each Friday during the summer of 2022, when Suoja hauled her edible creations to the White Bear Lake Farmers Market, she was humbled by the community’s response. “I didn’t see myself this busy and this loved,” she says. “I knew it would be a lot of time and effort, but I didn’t realize how many people would support me.”

To keep her customers wanting more, every week Suoja featured different cupcake flavors. She also started to receive more special orders for graduation parties, birthday celebrations and more.

Now, Suoja is in her final year at Colorado Mesa University and Western Colorado Community College, both located in Grand Junction, Colorado. In May, she will graduate with an associate degree in applied science in baking and pastry arts, as well as two other certificates.

After graduation, Suoja plans to move back to White Bear Lake, but she doesn’t anticipate opening a storefront right away.

“I’ll still be doing the farmers markets and looking into renting a kitchen, so I can get out of my parents’ kitchen,” she says. “I want to go with the flow. If there’s an opportunity, then there’s an opportunity, and I’ll take it.”

Looking back over the past five years, Suoja says she’s proud of how far she’s come. From being intimidated to frost a special-order cake to that quickly becoming her favorite part of baking, she acknowledged her growth as a baker and a person.

Tiered Cake Frosting Roses

“I wouldn’t be here without White Bear Lake,” she says. “They’ve really opened their arms and shown their support throughout my whole baking experience. I’m excited to move back home and start the next chapter.”

Peanut Butter Banana Cupcakes

Recipe makes about 20 cupcakes.

Banana Cupcake Base:

  • 1 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg

Cream together butter and sugars in a large bowl. Add bananas, egg yolks and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add flour mixture into the creamed mixture, and mix until just combined. Place egg whites in a standard mixer, and beat until medium peaks form. Fold egg whites into the mixture gradually, one-third at a time. Scoop batter into prepared cupcake liners. Bake in a preheated 350-degree F oven for 15–17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Peanut Butter Italian Meringue Buttercream Frosting:

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 9 egg whites (270 grams)
  • 2 lbs. butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • peanut butter to taste (about 3 Tbsp.)

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Bring syrup to 420 degrees F using a candy thermometer. While syrup is still cooking, start whipping egg whites into soft peaks. Once the syrup comes to 420 degrees F, slowly pour the syrup in a stream over whipped egg whites, and keep whipping (on a high setting) until the mixture reaches room temp. Add butter slowly, and whip until combined. (The buttercream may resemble cottage cheese once all the butter is added. Just keep whipping.) Pipe frosting onto cupcakes using a piping bag with a star tip. Drizzle chocolate ganache on top.

Note: Don’t add the butter when the egg whites and syrup are too hot. The mixture will melt the butter and turn soupy.

Baking with SUOJA

What’s your favorite thing to bake?

I love baking, but my favorite thing is to frost cakes.

Elouise Suoja Decorating Cake

What’s your least favorite thing to bake?

French macarons. I used to be so good at them, and they’d always come out perfect. Then, I got a new oven. I haven’t figured it out since.

What’s your favorite flavor combo?

I have two, depending on the mood I’m in. I love lemon and lavender. I make my own lavender syrup and lemon curd for my cupcakes, and it’s so good. For my chocolate-y side, I love chocolate, banana and peanut butter.

What’s your most popular baked good?

Kids really love the classics, like peanut butter cups and Oreos. People also love orange creamsicles and strawberry Champagne.

350 Degrees Bakery
Instagram: @350degrees_bakery


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