Sweet Spot

September 2023 View more

By Judy Sutton Taylor

The Tiny Kitchen in St. Charles is a baker’s dream come true

Cakes at The Tiny Kitchen

Megan Mrktschjan has always been a baker. The self-taught cook had a successful home-baking business since college—a side hustle to her career teaching in public school schools for 14 years.

But last year when she saw a long, narrow storefront—1,600 square feet with just 400 square feet of kitchen space—available at 107 West Main Street right in the heart of downtown St. Charles, Mrktschjan knew it provided a prime opportunity to move her business out of her home kitchen and into a place where she could realize her dream of running a bakery full-time. She signed a lease, launched a Kickstarter to help with funding, and opened the doors to the Tiny Kitchen last fall. “I’ve always admired bakeries that are no frills and not super fancy—the ones that are all about the flavors,” says Mrktschjan, noting that she likes experimenting with ingredients people don’t usually associate with cake, lately ones like currants and roasted bananas.

Pistachio cake with a cream-cheese icing

The Tiny Kitchen offers a rotating selection of five cakes by the slice—popular flavors include churro (cinnamon sugar swirl cake with cinnamon-caramel filling) and pistachio with a cream-cheese icing (pictured at left)—as well as different types of cookies. The shop also takes orders for custom cakes, pies, dessert “shooters” (small, individual cups of treats such as strawberry shortcake), and more.

Mrktschjan is looking for the perfect location to place a custom cookie vending machine—one that will provide easy access to the Tiny Kitchen’s treats 24/7—whenever a craving strikes. There are also plans to eventually sell whole cakes onsite, as well as uniced cakes along with decorating kits that shoppers can take home to customize themselves. “People love watching cookie- and cake-decorating videos on TikTok,” she says. “I want to show them that they can do that, too.” A sprinkle wall, where customers can create their own colorful mixes to take home, is also in the works.

Megan Mrktschjan
Megan Mrktschjan

And because she didn’t want to give up teaching entirely, Mrktschjan offers classes in cake, cookie, and cupcake decorating for kids and adults, as well as private parties. She hopes to eventually teach beginner and intermediate skills classes, too.

Mrktschjan wants the Tiny Kitchen to be a welcoming community space for other cookie and cake decorators in the area. “Everyone has a niche; it would be nice to have other businesses come in and teach what they know how to do best,” she says. “There are so many makers and crafters in the area we want to welcome, too. We want this to be a creative space for everyone.”


Photos: KimberleeB Photography