A 13-year-old Maryland boy is using his passion for all things sweet to serve up a slice of joy to the homeless and less fortunate in Washington, D.C.
Michael Platt of Bowie said he’s always loved to bake. So, at the tender age of 11, he launched his very own cupcake business called Michael’s Desserts.
According to the Good News Network, Platt’s bakery runs on a one-for-one business model, meaning that for every pastry sold the teen donates one to someone in need. But his goodness doesn’t end there.
Platt has partnered with Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit No Kid Hungry to help distribute his tasty pastries. Once or twice a month, he visits local homeless and domestic abuse shelters to hand out baked treats to children and their families.
“I know I like cupcakes, but also cupcakes are part of a child’s childhood,” he told The Washington Post in a recent interview. “So they should get them.”
Other than providing a coveted sugar rush, Platt said his business is focused on helping those in need. The teen, who’d spend his afternoons mesmerized watching YouTube baking extraordinaires, is also well versed on the issuues of income inequality and childhood hunger.
So, he found a way to link the two things he cared about most.
“I always wanted to have a purpose for what I do,” Platt added. “It’s all about helping people — not just having a purpose for yourself, but thinking about, ‘How does this touch other things?’”
The teen mostly fills orders (about 75 a month) for people in the Washington area, providing cupcakes and other treats for special events. His most common request is for birthday cakes, he told the Post.
Platt also sells cookies by the dozen. Word of mouth has helped his business boom in the last two years, so much so that’s he’s even shipped out-of-state orders.
The teen’s mom said Platt completely “threw himself into baking” after severe epilepsy forced him to withdraw from school. Most of his favorite activities — diving , tree climbing and gymnastics, went out the window too.
“It was a very, very difficult time,” she told the newspaper, explaining that Platt was first diagnosed in the sixth grade.
But Platt found something new. Baking makes him feel calm, he said.
Each month, the teen baker offers customers three types of treats: they can choose between buttery shortbread cookies, a fan favorite; a “chef’s choice” pastry that Michael switches up every four weeks, or that month’s edition of what he calls “freedom fighter cupcakes.”
Platt bases his cupcake and its flavor off a prominent historical figure of his choosing, a sweet sort of homage. June’s freedom fighter is renowned poet and author Maya Angelou, who is honored with a banana pudding cupcake. Nelson Mandela gets a classic chocolate cupcake in November, while MLK Jr., gets a sweet potato-filled cupcake in January and February.
Platt first found his knack for baking when he was 9 years old while baking with his grandmother, and the rest is history.
The teen, who’s homeschooled, spends much of his time in the kitchen, but admits sometimes he’s grows tired of it. However, when he’s ready to quit, he said he remembers a homeless boy he met while handing out cupcakes.
Just a few days later, Platt said he received a message from the boy’s father saying his son was impacted by Platt’s example and now aspired to be a baker.
“That inspired me,” the young baker told the Post.