HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – A business owner with Hawaii ties is showcasing her love for the islands on the national stage one dessert at a time.
And you might have seen her work this week on a daytime talk show.
Baker Dena Lumbang’s love of the islands took her all the way to New York City as a guest on “The Drew Barrymore Show.”
“I’ve cried and screamed several times because of all this,” said Lumbang. “But it’s definitely been, you know, a once in a lifetime experience that I’m forever grateful for.”
Lumbang and her family live in Sacramento, California, but her husband is from Oahu and her parents also grew up here. She’s always loved baking and wanted her own business.
After a trip back to Hawaii in 2019, she decided to create “Kalani Kakes,” inspired by island flavors and a familiar movie filmed right here on Oahu.
“I named my menu after ‘50 First Dates’ because it’s our favorite movie and we would always watch it when we would miss being in Hawaii,” she said.
She now has 10 flavors inspired by the movie’s characters.
“Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, of course, are the stars so I named the guava cupcake after Adam Sandler, which is Henry Roth, and the Pineapple Cupcake after Drew’s character, which is Lucy Whitmore. But I named it after the song ‘Forgetful Lucy,’” Lumbang said.
“I really wanted to thank Drew and Adam for inspiring me and when she came out with the TV show, I just knew one day I’m going to meet her. I just know it.”
Lumbang sat in the audience of Barrymore’s show last year.
Producers loved her story and kept in touch and invited her back as a guest.
“I already felt the love and support from the community,” Lumbang said. “And now that I’m getting more of the reaction from people like all over the country, it’s just it’s really validation for me that this is my calling.”
And she received a big boost to help expand her business: a $15,000 check from Blue Diamond Almond Breeze.
“I thought how much? I mean, how much better could it get? I didn’t go in there with any expectations,” she said.
Lumbang is deciding how she’ll use the money.
For now, she’s busy with orders from across the country and spreading aloha in Northern California. And she’s standing by to hear from another familiar face.
“Well, I’m still waiting for Adam Sandler to call me,” said Lumbang with a laugh. “I have to thank him, too.”
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