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Meet the Trail Community: Chocolatier

Posted by Anna Roth at Apr 07, 2016 05:10 PM |

As a small business owner, it can be difficult to grab a little time in nature. Autumn Martin, owner of Hot Cakes in Seattle brought nature into her business. And, she's sending the profits back out to help the trails she loves.

For WTA's 50th Anniversary, we're highlighting trail users across Washington state. Hear what hiking means to them, and the future of their on-trail pursuits.

For a small business owner, it can be difficult to grab a little time in nature. One entrepreneur in Seattle, Autumn Martin, took matters into her own hands and brought nature to her. With her Wilderness Collection, the Hot Cakes owner is bringing nature into her cakeries, and sending the profits back out to help the trails she loves.

Autumn Martin's love for the outdoors has deep roots. A native of Washington, she has fond memories of camping for weeks at a time with her family on the Skykomish River or in Conconully.

“My dad fished, so he took the family on vacation maybe three, four times a year. It didn’t matter if we were sick or it was raining—they’d picked a week and we’d go no matter the weather.”

Autumn Martin Karen Wang
Autumn finds inspiration in the environment around her. Photo by Karen Wang.

At first, her hiking experiences were simply wandering around camp and along rivers where her dad was fishing, but when she was 14, she learned to snowboard.

“That was my first experience with the outdoors that was mine alone, and it started me on the adventure of being on trails.”

She moved to Lake Tahoe in order to snowboard more, and in the summer, she hiked.

“It was there I began to feel a sense of urgency for being on trails. When I was hiking, I felt close to the most important thing that we have as humans: the natural world. Trails are awesome because they take you deep into that natural world. When I hike, I think about my brothers and sisters who helped create the trail I’m on, and it gives me a sense of camaraderie and family wherever I am. I know it takes a lot of planning and maintenance, so I appreciate the hard work.”

Returning profits to nature

And as the owner of Hot Cakes Molten Cakery, she’s giving back to the natural world with her Wilderness Collection.

“I want to focus on preservation of the natural world and the trails that lead through it. That’s difficult when you have your own business because it’s so much extra work, so the Wilderness Collection helps me support these wild places even if I can't get outside.”

Smoked chocolate chips autumn Martin
Photo by Karen Wang.

Inspired by her father’s smoking shed she remembers from childhood, Autumn developed her Smoked Chocolate Chips as an homage to him. The other products are s’mores kits and three caramel sauces, infused with natural scents like juniper and campfire. Ten percent of the proceeds from these products go to organizations working to preserve and protect the environment.

More than s'mores. Inspiration for stewardship

The Wilderness Collection serves not only as a means to support the trails that Autumn loves so much, but something to build awareness in the community.

“Who knows how many of our customers are thinking about wild places when they are in my shop, but hopefully this collection will help them pause and consider the natural world.”

Even a moment’s consideration in a warm bakery can be the first step towards preserving wild places.

For Autumn too, the Wilderness Collection is a stepping stone.

“Through Hot Cakes I would love to be giving even more money to organizations that help maintain the outdoors. I’d like to spend less of my time in the daily operations and more time on the ground, preserving our wild places. But it is tricky to run two restaurants and a food business in addition to that groundwork, so right now this is the best way I can give back.”

Hands on pine bough Karen Wang.
The Wilderness Collection utilizes natural elements to bring nature into the kitchen. Photo by Karen Wang.