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Baked in DL may be one of the area's best kept secrets

Lauren Anderson is excited to take over the role of lead baker when owner McKenzie Szklarski moves to Idaho this fall. Emily Driscoll / Tribune1 / 6
Szklarski and Anderson work together in the kitchen to produce a variety of baked goods, their favorite being cupcakes. Emily Driscoll / Tribune2 / 6
Baked in DL usually offers a variety of cupcakes, which are available during their regular business hours from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Emily Driscoll / Tribune3 / 6
Baked in DL serves breakfast items and desserts like cake by the slice, cake balls, cookies, and more. Emily Driscoll / Tribune4 / 6
Szklarski frosts their Arnold Palmer themed cupcakes, inspired by the annual Pine to Palm event in Detroit Lakes. They are iced tea cupcakes filled with lemon and topped with lemonade buttercream. Emily Driscoll / Tribune5 / 6
McKenzie Szklarski received her associates degree in baking and pastry from the Art Institute in Minneapolis before opening Baked in DL. Emily Driscoll / Tribune6 / 6

While bakeries in Detroit Lakes have been disappearing off the map, there is a quaint little nook in downtown Detroit Lakes where ingredients are being mixed with creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit is 'rising' to the occasion. Baked in DL features colorful desserts, whole cakes and cake by the slice, breakfast pastries, and more.

This young bakery is not easily searchable on google and also not immediately apparent strolling down Washington Avenue.

McKenzie Szklarski was just 24 years old when she opened the bakery in Detroit Lakes in February 2017. She named it Baked in DL for obvious reasons and has been offering the area a variety of treats ever since.

Lake Country Bakery just down the street from Baked closed in June, then Master Bakery Outlet followed suit after several regional closures.

Aside from Central Market and Walmart, this is the only place to get a professionally-made homemade cupcake in Detroit Lakes.

Sklarski worked as a cake decorator and pastry cook after attending pastry school in Minneapolis for two years.

She currently employs herself and soon-to-be lead baker, Lauren Anderson. The bakery is small, and each dessert is carefully crafted by hand with skill and precision.

Her bakery is physically part of the multi-faceted Roasted Pub & Eatery on Washington Avenue. The building holds Roasted Pub & Eatery, Baked in DL, and Chickadee Coffee Roasters.

If customers are feeling especially indulgent, they can feasibly order a pizza, beer, artisan coffee, and dessert in the same sitting.

Szklarski realized quickly out of high school that she wanted to pursue culinary arts.

As a little girl, she enjoyed making peanut butter cookies with her grandmother. Rolling them in sugar, making a criss cross with fork prongs, and then seeing the final result after baking them.

Since then, her skills have advanced considerably. From themed cupcakes, to multi-tiered wedding cakes and artisan desserts, Baked in DL has a lot to offer, especially after adding a new member to the team.

Lauren Anderson will take over as head baker when Szklarski moves from Detroit Lakes to Idaho this fall.

"We like to be current with the local events. We did a crazy days special, this week is the Pine to Palm (golf tournament), so I made Arnold Palmer cupcakes," Anderson said. They also honored shark week.

For Harry Potter's birthday, Anderson thought up some golden snitch cupcakes and sorting hat whoopie pies.

Lakes area cake lovers can look forward to more themed desserts before Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is released in theatres this fall.

Their special for WE Fest weekend were Jack Daniels cupcakes, and there is much more to come, they say.

Both bakers have a strong background in pastry and a love for the art.

Prior to opening her own shop, Szklarski worked at Fantasies in Frosting in Fargo and Oh, for Heaven's Cake in Grand Forks.

Anderson has a background in cake decorating for larger grocery stores as well as some experience with artisan desserts, like macarons.

"I can't picture a future without baking, so if I'm not doing it full time I would probably go back to school for my psychology degree," Anderson explained. "...and then baking on the weekends, maybe doing some farmer's markets. I like the idea of a mobile bakery."

She appreciates the freedom she gets at Baked in DL in comparison to larger stores where she had to recreate the same cake over and over.

"Because we're creative people you can't just put yourself in that little box," she said, adding that there are downfalls to the industry as well.

"I had a lady came in that said, 'I love scones, but I hate yours.' Things like that make you not want to do it," Szklarski said.

Her love for creating a dessert start to finish makes it all worth it. While running the bakery from her new home in Idaho, she is considering starting a baking vlog.

"A lot of people need tips on baking because it's hard. It's so scientific, and there's a lot of little techniques that really help," she said.

Baked in DL is located at 815 Washington Avenue and open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, and closed on Mondays.

They do wedding cakes and other custom orders 36 hours or more in advance.