A Southlake teenager is tackling autism, one chocolate velvet torte at a time.
Katie Unkle, 15, is whipping up more than just chocolate cake in her family's Southlake kitchen. She has one specialty: her grandmother's delicious chocolate velvet torte. And the cake is her preferred weapon against autism.
"I don't think that people realize how frequently kids are diagnosed with autism and how many of them there are," she said. "And they don't get as much support as people with other disabilities do."
She makes and sells the cakes to raise money for autism research.
"Because right now, there's no detection or cure at all," she said.
Katie is both the brains and the manpower behind Cakes 4 a Cause, a nonprofit she founded when she was 14. The inspiration is her older brother, 18-year-old Ben, a high school senior who was diagnosed with autism at age 6.
"She's watched him be mistreated when she went to school with him and thought that it was really sad that such a sweet person would be mistreated by people just because they were unaware of what he was dealing with," said their mother, Barbara Unkle.
"People make fun of him and tell him he was stupid and he was weird and really, he just couldn't help it," Katie said. "And I didn't like to see people treat my brother that way when he did nothing to deserve any of it."
Feedstore BBQ in Southlake keeps Katie's cakes in stock.
"It's going good," said owner Bill Lafavers. "They're great cakes; I've taken a few of them home."
And Katie said she wants her business to grow, not just earn more, but to give more to the cause. Her mother said she's ready to do the work, and Katie wants to send them all across the country.
And her brother, Ben, said he's proud of her too.
"I think what she's doing is really cool," he said. "I'm really thankful she's doing it."
On the Web: www.cakes4acause.com