Litchfield native Charity Ross has been making cakes to order for nearly a decade, but now she’s taking her baking to the next level. Ross recently received a permit from the city to conduct business out of her home at 403 E. Fourth St. as Creative Cakes by Charity.

“I’m happy to have everything legit,” Ross joked as she rolled out icing for a customer’s cake. “I checked with the city to see if I needed a permit and worked with Hannah Rybak to get the licensing I needed. It was a learning process for everyone.”

From “Fortnite-” to anniversary-themed cakes, Ross said her customers always ask for interesting designs, and she’s up to the challenge.

“People have been really supportive,” Ross said as she worked on a “Paw Patrol” birthday cake.

Ross makes her own fondant, a creative cake maker’s staple design element that’s a malleable icing made of sugar, water and gelatin. In fact, Ross makes all of her own fondant, fillings and icings for her cakes. Growing up in Litchfield in a family of bakers, she’s had a lifetime of experience.

“Everyone in my family has worked at a bakery at some point in their life,” Ross said. “I’ve been decorating cakes for most of my life. I was 15 when I started and now I’m 40.”

Growing up, she baked with her grandmother, who encouraged her to keep baking. At 15, she began working in what is now the Family Fare bakery.

“That’s where I learned all of the basics,” she said.

Ross says she’s had some unusual requests such as a birthday cake that featured the rock band Blink 182’s logo and the lyrics “Nobody likes you when you’re 23.” She’s also made a koi fish cake, a treasure chest, a Candyland-themed cake and even some popular designs from the internet.

She’s created cakes that look like a geode — a cake with crystalized sugar resembling sparkling minerals and crystals. Many of her customers request marble cakes with mixed colors. She said her favorite cake flavor is Mandarin orange.

“I’ll marble anything,” Ross said.

Ross has learned to create many of her cakes from video tutorials on YouTube. She follows a cake channel that displays videos of popular cake trends and watches them to learn new techniques. She’s taken to airbrushing her cakes as well with edible coloring.

Ross also offers cupcakes, cake pops, fondant lollipops, cinnamon rolls and just about anything to order. Her most requested flavor from customers is almond.

As for plans to open a bakery, Ross said that would not be likely.

“When you get into a bakery-bakery, you see them fail,” Ross said. “I like doing things to order, then I know I can say ‘no’ if I want to, but I don’t think I’ve ever said ‘no.’”

Baking from home gives Creative Cakes by Charity a special appeal and works well for Ross and her family.

“This works better than having a storefront,” Ross said. “My favorite part is when I give the cakes to customers. I made a T-Rex cake for a little boy and when I delivered it for his birthday party, I saw him run all the way down the hall and he shouted, ‘I love it.’”

Ross does most of her business through her Facebook page. Customers can request cakes, ask questions or view previous cake creations.

For Ross, the best part is making people smile.

“When customers say thank you, I say, ‘No, thank you,’” she said.

Cam Bonelli is editor of the Leader’s sister newspaper, the Litchfield Independent Review.

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