Inel Klein founded Lemon Cake Cafe in the early 1960s while a student at St. Thomas University in Houston, Texas. She got the original recipe from her roommate's mother and, being the consummate, epicurial tinkerer started changing it until it took its current form. In fact, it changed so much that her roommate’s mother doesn’t even recognize it anymore.
In the 1970s, as a fund raising effort, the Houston Ballet conceived the idea of a garage sale. Inel, then a member of the Guild Board, donated some lemon cakes. They sold out within the first 30 minutes. Several years later, she bought her own booth - selling jams, jellies, candies and of course the lemon cakes, which sold by the hundreds. They were in such demand that she began taking orders for 20 and 30 at a time as gifts for friends. Prominent Houston companies would order 100 at a time as presents for clients.Star Cake
Realizing that there was an incredible demand for her lemon cakes, Inel had to begin searching for larger kitchens in which to bake. She baked at several prominent commercial kitchens such as House of Pies and Barbaby’s who, because they were friends of Houston Ballet, had generously donated the time. Eventually, however, she rented a commercial kitchen on Ella Boulevard and continued to bake there until an opportunity came to rent a kitchen in the senior citizens complex on 19th avenue, where she currently remains.
Upon moving to the permanent location, Inel expanded her product line which now includes a Poinsettia Lemon Cake, a Decorated Poinsettia Lemon Cake and an aluminum Pan Lemon Cake which was produced as a less expensive option for customers who didn't want anything fancy.
Inel has heard many lemon cake stories including one which resulted in a family feud. Apparently, someone didn't want to share her lemon cake with the rest of the family.
One year, she sold 50 lemon cakes to her husbands company to be sent to New Orleans. In spite of her reluctance to send cakes to New Orleans due to the city’s "religious" nature about food, they were well received. In fact, the next year one of the ladies ordered 12 lemon cakes. When Inel suggested that she could ship them to her friends as a service, she replied..."No! Those cakes are all for me!" Generally however, most people buy them to give to friends during the holidays.