Like many young people, 14-year-old Isaiah Tuckett had a big dream: He wanted to go to Disney World.
But when the teen's parents admitted that they couldn't afford to send every family member from Minnesota to the happiest place on earth in Florida, Isaiah had a solution — he went into the kitchen and started baking.
About 4,000 cupcakes and nearly 12 months later, he got his wish and had earned enough money from selling his delicious cupcakes to take his family to Disney World!
"He's always been interested in helping in the kitchen, usually baking, but even as a little kid he was interested in helping out," Isaiah's mom, Cheri Tuckett, told TODAY Food.
Isaiah sold his cupcakes for $20 for a dozen, which meant he was able to send his mother, dad, sister, brother, sister-in-law and nephew — plus himself — on the trip of a lifetime.
"From the get-go it was either the whole family goes, or nobody goes — that's what he wanted," said Tuckett. "Quality family time is on the top of his list. So it was all or nothing, according to him."
Disney World, where the family ended celebrating Isaiah's 14th birthday, was everything the teen had hoped for — especially Discovery Cove, where he got to swim with dolphins. As for the food at the parks, he really enjoyed the menu at Disney Springs' T-Rex Restaurant.
But nobody makes 4,000 cupcakes and gets to send their family to Disney World all alone.
Isaiah was aided by lots of support, recipes from Pinterest and a few lucky breaks. For one, the local bake shop closed down and he became the only sweet shop game in town. Additionally, Minnesota's current Cottage Foods Law means that he didn't have to have a restaurant-level kitchen to sell baked goods to the public.
Then, of course, his parents were there to provide supplies, space and equipment. Over the course of making several thousand cupcakes, the stove broke from "overuse," and the family had to buy a new freezer to store some of his largest orders. His biggest was 750 cupcakes!
"He had this passion, and when your kid is excited about something, you do what you need to support them," said Isaiah's mom, though she admitted that considering the cost of the ingredients and equipment usage it might have actually been less expensive in the long run to just fly the family to Disney World.
"A lot less work, too," she laughed. "But you do what you need to do!"
As for what comes next, Isaiah said he's saving for a "Ford pickup truck" — though he'll have to get his license before he can drive it, of course. He'd also like to attend culinary school. "Then hopefully I'll open a restaurant or bakery after that," he told TODAY.
Asked if he had any other big dreams, Isaiah had an emphatic reply.
"I want to go to the TODAY Show!" he said. "I'd probably bring Savannah [Guthrie] and Hoda [Kotb] the peanut butter cup cupcakes." They are his bestsellers, after all.
We're sure the TODAY anchors would enjoy snacking on Isaiah's delicious homemade treats, too!