MADE is a paid partnership with Little Lake County.
Welcome to MADE in Lake County! MADE introduces you to the people and stories behind local Lake County businesses. Today it is our pleasure to introduce you to Alison Dalton, owner of Dalton’s Cake, Inc. Dalton’s is a full-service bakery and cafe located in the Prairie Crossing in Grayslake.
MADE in Lake County: Alison Dalton
Alison Dalton always loved to bake.
Inspired by her grandmother and her mother, she began baking at a young age, and the passion never waned. She remembers getting in a lot of trouble when she was seven years old because of her fondness for baking.
“I wanted to surprise my mom,” she reminisced, a smile lighting up her eyes. “She was surprised all right.” Alison had taken it upon herself to bake a cake at age 7 when her mom had been preoccupied with another task. She recalls her being so mad but ultimately loving the cake Alison had baked.
The passion for baking only grew stronger, and by her mid-twenties, Alison started to think that owning a bakery would be sort of cool. She didn’t act on it, though, and worked an office job. She continued baking at home and giving her cakes away to family and friends. It wasn’t until much later when her husband questioned how often she baked and just gave the delicious item away.
“He wondered why I was just baking and giving the items away, instead of following my dream,” she recalled.
His words struck a chord, and plans for her dream bakery began to form. She knew she wanted to be in her town of Grayslake. She wanted ample table space and outdoor seating. She wanted to connect with the community and make Dalton’s a part of it. She finally settled on the Prairie Crossing area because of its vibrant residents and beautiful open space.
When she began putting her plan into action, it came with its own set of struggles. The bakery had planned to open in the summer of 2014, but due to some unforeseen circumstances, it was delayed by three months, finally opening in October of 2014. Figuring out how to run a successful business and juggle the everyday duties of motherhood was also a challenge. Her husband worked at the bakery part-time, and they shared the responsibilities of managing the activities and home life of their daughters (18, 14, 10). It is hard for her to find time to unwind, but she loves going to Chicago with her family when she does. They love the vibe of the city and enjoy the time that they get to spend together.
The bakery has taken off since that opening day, and Alison loves every minute of it. She tends to start very early and reports that no two days are ever the same. Some days the crowds are thinner, but most days it seems like the customers are coming in all day long, which is a very good thing! Alison does most of the baking but loves to come out into the store, connect with her customers, and help operate the front.
When asked what she loves more, baking or decorating, she paused but then admitted that decorating is definitely her passion. She finds it very therapeutic and loves to show off her artsy side. Her favorite thing is when a customer comes in with an idea, no picture or example, and Alison can create something from nothing. She loves to make her cupcake bouquets most of all, and after viewing some pictures that she excitedly shared, it is easy to see why. Beautifully decorated cupcakes in a gorgeous bouquet? How could anyone not love it?
At Dalton’s, Alison specializes in gluten-free baking, as well as conventional baked goods. The reason is very personal to her, as one of her daughters needs a gluten-free diet. After a lot of testing and re-testing, she knows that her gluten-free baking is every bit as delicious as the items that are not gluten-free. She takes great pride in providing delicious cakes and bakery items to people who normally could not have them because of a gluten allergy. She is also proud that her bakery can boast that every item is freshly baked. There is no freezing at Dalton’s, and Alison loves to take time and consideration with every item that comes out of her bakery. It really truly is baked with love and passion.
Dalton’s is hopping and shows no sign of slowing down. Alison dreams of another, second, location at some point. She knows she will be even busier, but it is all worth it to her. For Alison, following her dreams never tasted so good.
Come out and visit Alison at Dalton’s Cakes, Inc. and give one of her delicious creations a try.
Meet other local businesses that are MADE in Lake County!
By: Heather Williams
Heather is a busy mom of three who loves exploring Lake County with her kids. When she, her husband, and kids are not embarking on new adventures, you will most likely find her cooking and posting some great family-friendly recipes at Girl and Her Kitchen.
Disclosure: Dalton’s Cakes is our featured Business of the Month. This series is part of a paid promotion partnership with Little Lake County. If you are interested in featuring your locally-owned business in our series, please contact the sales team.