With eggnog-essenced frosting, lots of sprinkles, sweetness and sass, Katherine Andersen Rialmo and her cupcakes were a hit at Urban Pioneer Group (UPG) on Nov. 9. Rialmo sold baked goods at UPG in her first pop-up event at the location. She hopes to be back for more.

“I was excited when the Kunkels reached out to me to be part of my first event at UPG,” said Rialmo. Tom and Sheila Kunkel, who own UPG, are known for regularly hosting local cooks and artisans to sell products out of their space at 7503 Madison St.

Rialmo, who bakes out of her home kitchen in Forest Park, is funny, irreverent and generous and specializes in baking cupcakes, cookies and cakes. 

“I’ve been baking seriously for about a year now,” she said, “though I’ve always loved to do it for fun. It’s a great stress reliever.”

When her husband was on a hotel strike in early fall of 2018, she baked cookies with the union’s logo on them to distribute to the workers. “It’s too hard to eat cupcakes while you’re picketing,” she said. “So I designed cookies. They didn’t look great, but they tasted terrific.”

Combined with friends tasting the birthday cakes she baked for her two children’s birthdays, she started getting orders.

“It took off really fast,” said Rialmo. “I wasn’t expecting so many people to be so interested.”

The holidays are an especially busy time for her, and her cookies have come a long way since the first ones she baked and decorated. Experience and high-end equipment help her produce cookies with detailed and precise designs.

Rialmo is a mother and a nanny, so her schedule is packed. Her older child is in part-time preschool and her younger will start in the fall of 2020. 

“When they’re both in school full time, my plan is to bake full time,” said Rialmo.