SEATTLE — Nearly 3,000 miles from Hawaii, a small bakery in the Georgetown neighborhood is teaching people the meaning of 'ohana.
"This is ‘ohana, which means ‘family’," said Mary Jean Buza-Sims.
She started selling tropical cakes two decades ago, using ingredients she remembered from her childhood in Kauai - passion fruit, guava, mango, and coconut.
Later, her children took over the business and now run what could be the Northwest's only exclusive Hawaiian bakery: Cakes of Paradise.
"People tell us, your cakes taste better than the cakes in Hawaii. I say, ‘Wow, great!’” Buza-Sims laughed.
Sold whole and by the slice, there are 15 cakes and pies to choose. The most popular is guava, followed closely by Chantilly - chocolate cake topped with toasted macadamia nuts.
"When (customers) walk into Cakes of Paradise bakery, we want them to feel like they've gotten away from it all,” said co-owner Pualani Kane-Sims. "And it sounds funny that you feel like you could make a difference through sweets or cakes, but it really does. It brings smiles to their faces.”
An authentic taste of the islands from a family-run business has made Cakes of Paradise a mainland destination.
"We are spreading the ‘aloha’ spirit, the love of Hawaii, through our cakes,” Buza-Sims said. “And that's our mission here."