California bakery ‘Oh My Cake’ raises over $10k for Ukraine

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Thursday, March 31. I’m Justin Ray.

Even though Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is taking place thousands of miles away from California, it is still affecting the Golden State — and not just through rising gas prices; a Ukrainian bakery in San Diego has received an outpouring of support.

Daria Nadar, owner of Oh My Cake bakery in the Hillcrest neighborhood, says that at the start of the invasion, members of the community immediately reached out to see if her family was safe. But they were not; her loved ones were at the center of the war zone in Kyiv.

“I was freaking out. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t believe this is happening,” Nadar told me. She asked herself, “What on Earth is going on in the middle of Europe?”

But she decided that she wouldn’t sit idly by as the battle progressed. Recognizing that she has a business that could provide both financial support and awareness, she began raising funds for Ukraine, donating 25% of her profits to help those in her home country. She drummed up support for the donation drive through the shop’s Instagram account.

A certificate of recognition from the California Assembly.

“Since I started the fundraising with my bakery, a lot of people didn’t just come to eat a cake, but also they donated cash,” Nadar said. “I’ve been able to send out over $10,000 in support of the army and humanitarian help.”

She has been shocked by the help from her community, but handling demand hasn’t been easy. She runs her shop with two other women. She says it has been “really intense” trying to keep her pastries and cakes in stock. “I would restock and then two hours and nothing is on the shelves anymore,” she said.

The California Assembly sent the bakery a certificate of recognition that reads:

“On behalf of the California State Assembly, thank you for your dedication, humanitarianism, and continued service to our Ukrainian friends and allies. The 78th Assembly District and the State of California are sincerely grateful for your compassion and commitment to upholding the values of our communities and two nations.”

How Oh My Cake began

A selection of pastries sold at Oh My Cake.

A selection of pastries sold at Oh My Cake.

It’s a lot of success for someone who moved to San Diego only six years ago. Her path to Oh My Cake began when the pandemic started. She had just gotten married and was looking for work but wasn’t finding a lot of opportunities. So she began making cakes and posting on social media, where crowds complimented her cake-making capabilities.

“The cakes I made were nothing like cakes you can find in San Diego. They were European mousse cakes that are really different from the cakes that you see. And people got interested in it,” Nadar said. “Basically, I kind of became a bit of a trendsetter for those types of cakes that we have in our store right now.”

She began making cinnamon buns because her husband really wanted them and couldn’t find them anywhere nearby. (“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I really don’t want to bake anything that’s like buns or whatever, but OK, I’ll make it for you,’” Nadar said, relating a conversation with her husband.) She began selling those cinnamon buns through pop-up stores and they were a big hit, selling out within an hour or two. One of her pop-ups was inside a coffee shop, a building where she now has a permanent location.

When asked why she called the shop Oh My Cake, Nadar says, “I don’t know, I feel like every time I like something I eat, I would say, ‘Oh my God, it’s so good.’ And then I was like, ‘Oh my cake’ — it’s almost like, ‘Oh my God,’ but ‘Oh, my cake’ is just so good, so amazing. You just have to buy it, or you just have to eat it, you know?”

She’s happy that her family has since left Kyiv, but she won’t be satisfied until the war is over because she thinks of everyone in Ukraine as a loved one. “I’m praying for my country and for my people every single day,” Nadar said. “I’m trying to support. I’m just trying to do whatever I can.”

And now, here’s what’s happening across California:

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(Reina Takahashi / For The Times)

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Malibu seeks to shelter its homeless population outside of the city. Malibu’s City Council wants to handle the issue of unhoused people by transporting the individuals to a shelter that offers services outside of the city — or an “alternative sleep location,” the Santa Monica Daily Press writes. The reason for locating unhoused individuals outside of Malibu is the limited availability of services and affordable housing in the city, according to a task force’s report to the City Council. Santa Monica Daily Press

Last year, as more and more businesses fully reopened amid relaxed pandemic restrictions, long-deferred rental payments came due for hundreds of tenants occupying San Diego-owned properties — including SeaWorld. The theme park remains the only city lessee in default for unpaid rent — for a total of $10 million. SeaWorld San Diego President Jim Lake said the park had paid “the percentage rent required for the periods that our park was actually open and deferred payment of minimum rent for periods associated with the closure of the park due to COVID.” San Diego Union-Tribune

How Chesa Boudin’s life made him a lightning rod for the progressive prosecutor movement. In 2019, Boudin ran for San Francisco district attorney, promising to use incarceration as a last resort, tackle systemic racial inequities and prosecute police brutality. Everything about his victory was improbable, but he beat the odds. However, Boudin now faces a recall election. But there’s a lot you may not know about his tragic background that explains his stances on criminal justice issues. Fontana News Room

A man poses for a photo leaning his arms on an outdoor railing with a building complex in the background.

San Francisco Dist. Atty. Chesa Boudin outside his office.

(Eric Risberg / Associated Press)


Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer filed a defamation lawsuit against the Athletic and one of its former writers, alleging “a campaign to maliciously target and harass” him. Fontana News Room

A Fresno detective on Tuesday shot and killed a man who he said had assaulted him at police headquarters, officials said. The man was pronounced dead at the scene. The detective suffered “lacerations on the forehead and part of his neck,” Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama said, and was recovering at a hospital. Fontana News Room

A man who was convicted of hijacking a school bus full of children and holding them and their driver for $5 million ransom in 1976 was recommended for parole. Parole commissioners say Frederick Woods, 70, no longer is a danger to the public; previous panels had denied him parole 17 times. Woods’ accomplices, brothers Richard and James Schoenfeld, were already freed. All three were from wealthy San Francisco Bay Area families when they kidnapped 26 children and their bus driver near Chowchilla and buried the victims inside a truck trailer at a quarry. It was a horrific crime. Fontana News Room

A group of men stand amid piles of dirt, some digging with shovels.

Members of the Alameda County Crime Lab and FBI work at the site where 26 schoolchildren and their bus driver were held captive at a rock quarry near Livermore, Calif., in July 1976.

(Associated Press)


A bodyboarder was attacked by a great white shark off Central California on Christmas Eve and died within minutes. Tomas Abraham Butterfield, 42, died from “complications of multiple penetrating blunt force traumatic injuries,” according to a coroner’s report. Fontana News Room


The story behind those ‘protect tribal gaming’ TV ads. If you are in the Golden State, you may have noticed an ad warning of “out-of-state corporations coming to California” backing an online sports betting initiative. The ad is about a battle coming to the state over who controls sports betting. Competing ballot measures are likely to reach voters in November. SFGATE

Facebook parent company Meta is paying one of the biggest Republican consulting firms in the country to turn the public against TikTok, according to a new report by the Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz and Drew Harwell. The campaign involves “placing op-eds and letters to the editor in major regional news outlets, promoting dubious stories about alleged TikTok trends that actually originated on Facebook, and pushing to draw political reporters and local politicians into helping take down its biggest competitor.” The Washington Post

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Los Angeles: Overcast, 67. San Diego: Cloudy, 62. San Francisco: Overcast, 62. San Jose: Overcast, 69. Fresno: Overcast, 74. Sacramento: Overcast, 75.


Today’s California memory is from Royce Philip Bell. It is a revealing one!

I suppose, now 54 years married, I can safely confess: My wife was not the first girl I kissed. The first was in San Diego; I was in the first grade at Sherman Elementary, the state was taking the property on which my dad’s church was located (18th & G streets), and my family was moving to La Mesa. I don’t remember her name, but she was a lovely redhead and I kissed her under one of those fantastic exterior staircases so prevalent in 1954. Then, in 1956, we moved to Midland, Texas; third grade, where I met my (now) wife — who was not the first girl I kissed.

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

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