By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Artists with icing

JV PortraitsCupcake bakers Barbara Kidd and her daughter, Kaylee, will display their decorated desserts during the Coastal Hills Art Tour.
The 22nd annual Coastal Hills Art Tour features the work of West Valley artists and crafters.

Then one day, Barbara Kidd signed up for some Wilton cake decorating classes. Before long, she was making “quadruple batches of butter cream frosting,” Kaylee said.

So mom traded her drum set in for what she calls her pride and joy.

“She got the biggest, prettiest Kitchen Aid mixer she could find,” Kaylee said.

Mother and daughter would embark on a baking business together, launching CupKidds.

Today, their Willamina home is the land of brownies, cakes, cookies, cupcakes, pies and just about anything that can be labeled a dessert.

“Our motto is, ‘Eat Dessert First,’” Kaylee said proudly.

The Kidds will put their delectables on display during the 22nd annual Coastal Hills Art Tour, set to run 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8-9, at four Willamina locations — VFW Hall, West Valley Community Campus auditorium, West Valley Fire Station and Willamina Christian Church.

There will be 17 participants, and a majority of them will feature their works at the West Valley Community Campus, a building that served as the high school for decades. It’s where you will find CupKidds and all the mother and daughter baking duo have to offer.

Over the years the tour, sponsored by the Willamina Business Group and Coastal Hills Chamber of Commerce, has been reserved for glass blowers, jewelers, painters, potters, quilters, woodworkers and other mainstream artists.

However, Willamina businesswoman and civic leader Ila Skyberg, who has been heavily involved with the tour over the years, learned the Kidds were interested in participating this year. She ran the idea by Cris Darr, another tour organizer.

“She said it was food-orientated, but we featured a winery last year, so that kind of broke the mold,” Darr said. “Some members of the Willamina Business Group were contacted, and they didn’t see any reason why we couldn’t have someone who did decorative baking.”

Darr has only seen photographs of the Kidds’ baked goods, but Skyberg, who has a baking business of her own, Willamina Maley’s Mercantile and Cakery, said their work easily passes the taste test.

“Ila told me she has seen their work and thought it was spectacular,” Darr said. “If Ila thinks it is, I’ll believe it.”

Barbara Kidd credits another daughter, Bobbi, for coming up with the CupKidds name.

While she and Kaylee work out of their home for the most part, they utilize a licensed kitchen when preparing orders for large events like Relay for Life, the Wildwood Music Festival or a large wedding.

That came in handy when they turned out 100 brownies, 300 cookies, 75 pies and 200 shortcakes for last summer’s music festival.

“I’ve always loved to bake,” Barbara said. “I used to love watching my mom bake.

“My mom was a great baker. She passed away when she was 42, and I wish I would have paid more attention to her. She was amazing.”

Pies were one of her mother’s specialties. Barbara also relished her bread and cinnamon rolls.

Given her interest in baking, which she finds comforting, Barbara signed up for those cake decorating classes. Before long, friends and relatives were taking lessons from her.

“Kaylee was one of them,” Barbara said. “She loves to bake. She has a huge interest. She has a passion. We have a good time together.”

She added, “It’s great bonding time. It’s a great mother and daughter thing. It makes me feel good we have this one thing in common.”

Kaylee said her mother has influenced her greatly, and helped her further develop her baking skills. Her first memories of baking with her mother are of making holiday pies.

Kaylee graduated from Willamina High School in 2010.

She is a senior at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, majoring in psychology. She said she wants to get her master’s degree and teach.

However, her long-term goal, shared by her mother, is to open a local bakery of their own.

“I think we will,” Barbara said. “Kaylee’s a go-getter. She’s very inspiring, very encouraging.”

Kaylee said she thinks running their own bakery is a realistic goal. She said they are both passionate about baking, and that should carry them a long way.

“I love baking and I love decorating,” Kaylee said. “When we have all the baking done, and the frosting is ready, we can just decorate. My mom says I have an eye for decorating.”

Kaylee’s favorites are cupcakes and pies. She most enjoys big events, because it enables them to do a bigger spread, but finds smaller events fun, too.

“We take a lot of pride in our baking,” Barbara said. “The presentation is important. It’s all in the presentation.”

Her favorite item, without question, is the wedding cupcake. It’s growing in popularity.

“They’re fun, and the right serving size,” she said.

Cupcakes are now served at 13 percent of weddings, according to the website Food Beast. It reports:

“Cupcakes can be stacked in tiers, just like traditional wedding cakes, but they offer more convenience. Nobody needs to cut or serve the cake; guests can help themselves.

“Cupcake weddings also offer more of a variety. It is a lot easier for cupcakes to be made in four different flavors than it is for a tiered wedding cake; especially if the cake is not many tiers.”

For a September wedding, the Kidds turned out 150 cupcakes in addition to a traditional cake, Barbara said. She and Kaylee also make their own fondant flowers for the cakes, and produced 200 for that one.

“Baking is not the longest part of the process,” she said. “Decorating is, making the flowers.”

Most of their orders are generated by word of mouth, because the only thing they have done to drum up business is develop a Facebook page.

“We did that for family and friends,” Kaylee said. “We’ve posted a ton of pictures, and it’s kind of spread. It’s gaining lots of fans.”

No wonder. Just remember that motto.


  • What: 22nd annual Coastal Hills Art Tour.
  • When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8-9.
  • Where: VFW Hall, West Valley Community Campus auditorium, West Valley Fire District Main Station and the Willamina Christian Church. 
  • To do and see: Artists and crafters will be displaying and selling their work at each location. A horse-drawn wagon will shuttle visitors between locations at no charge. To enter a drawing for a piece of art, pick up a "Take the Tour Card" and have it signed by all of the participating artists. In addition, tea and fresh-baked pastries will be served at Willamina Maley's Mercantile and Cakery, 188 S. Main St., and the Willamina Museum of Local History will be open.


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