How Liz Roth Built A Business Around Her Instagram Viral Olive Oil Cake3 min read
Liz Roth, creator of the “Bomb A*s Olive Oil Cake” and founder of Little House Confections, has been baking since she was a little girl — for family, friends and for herself. Then, she enrolled in culinary school in 2006. Shortly after, her plans were dashed by a broken back and spinal surgery, forcing her dream on hold.
But the Covid-19 pandemic, which has changed the lives of millions, changed hers too. Roth, who had entered into a career in interior design, went back to baking during the pandemic — not for work but for another purpose.
“When the pandemic first began, just like everyone else I was stuck at home feeling anxious about everything going on in the world,” Roth says. “I wanted to do something to give back but didn’t know what I could do.”
She had started baking daily for her friends, leaving the finished products on her doorstep for friends to pick up.
Then, she had a “lightbulb” moment: She started selling her olive oil cakes to family and friends to raise money for The Covenant House of California.
“I had dropped off a cake to my good friend, Pia Baroncini. She posted it on her Instagram. All of a sudden I had $1k in orders,” she says, noting that the orders came in before she had even delivered any cake orders. “It was overwhelming and exciting.”
More of her friends, also influencers, wanted cakes. One of them, a friend from childhood, Simone Harouche, bought a cake for Kim Kardashian in late April.
Kardashian posted the olive oil cake to her story on Instagram. Within hours, she had received more than 500 orders.
The cake went viral on Instagram.
“By the end of April, I had a raised $10,000 to donate to The Covenant House and that’s when I realized I could turn this into a business and created Little House Confections,” she says.
She has brought the bakery from her kitchen to a brick and mortar location in Los Angeles with a pop up in Culver City, California.
Starting a business is not a piece of cake — pun intended — but Roth has been able to bring Little House Confections to fruition by putting one foot in front of the other, every day. “This process has not been for the faint of heart. I put everything I have into it from the minute I wake up each morning to the minute I go to sleep.”
And she has been able to hold onto the charitable aspect of her olive oil cakes, too, keeping the act of giving back as a cornerstone of Little House Confections.
“We typically partner with a small nonprofit organization for two months instead of every month like we initially were doing,” Roth says. “When I first started selling my olive oil cakes, I donated all proceeds to Covenant House and now we donate a portion of profits each month instead.”
Since its founding, Little House Confections has shared its profits with This is About Humanity, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, LGBT Center, Armenia Fund and The People Concern, among others.
Beyond her success with the company, the baking has been good for Roth on a personal level.
“Baking was always my first love. I started baking as a kid to relieve my anxiety and calm all of the noise in my head,” she says.
When she dropped out of culinary school she felt like she had let go of her dream and that she had to accept that. Little House Confections, she adds, has exceeded any dream she’s had for herself.
“My dad asked me if I was happy a few months back,” Roth says. “I really thought about the question before responding. I told him that I was not sure if I had ever been truly happy before this. The way I feel now, the sense of purpose that I feel, is more grounding and content than I have ever felt in my past.”