Life is Uncertain. Eat dessert FIRST.
Dessert dreams, I believe, are a part of everyone’s life (or I’d like to think so). The quintessential aspect of what makes life stellar is that first taste of something decadent, exquisite, and lovingly prepared. That small burst of joy and richness of living makes everything so worth it at that moment. That is why when I first heard of Make My Cake, I was excited to take a trip to Upper West Sise (UWS) to indulge.
So many good things on the menu and so many great things said about Make My Cake I decided a drive out from Brooklyn would make any of my days better. I wanted to enjoy all of the lavish and appealing bites on the menu. However, what I fell in love with most is the rich history behind the brand—woman and black-owned. A deliciously inspiring brand, though in another borough, is worth sharing with Brooklyn.
Today we present: Make My Cake
Make My Cake is located in the space that formerly housed Crumbs at 775 Columbus Avenue, NYC, and is operated by a third-generation baker, Aliyyah Baylor.
What started from a humble beginning in the kitchen of a southern matriarch lovingly known as “Ma Smith” in the 1940s is now both a destination visit and a neighborhood gem. Ma Smith, armed with an entrepreneurial flair and a love for her community, started selling baked goods from her kitchen to friends and neighbors.
She founded her home-based business on a philosophy of the cultural heritage of service and excellence, paired with family recipes inspired by southern baking traditions of Mississippi and Alabam inspired and evolved into a modern-day legacy of traditions and Harlem Soul.
Q & A with Aliyyah Baylor, Owner of Make My Cake
What are some of the exciting things you experienced when you launched your brand? And some not so exciting somethings?
I launched my brand 25 years ago as a brick and mortar location. The most exciting part was seeing my company’s name go from a business card to an awning and being able to showcase desserts that were in a notebook to the public. Outside of the clients I had in my home, I was able to broaden my offerings and increase my customer base. I pride myself on building great relationships with my customers. And some of my best friends have come into my life as a result of my business.
The not so exciting something has to be the growing pains that come with starting a business and not knowing areas that need to be improved. We had to create an organizational chart to identify roles beyond the immediate family.
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?
I know I enjoy the financial security of being an entrepreneur. What I put in and create allows me to make a living. I’m also responsible for others, so there is a high level of pride and dedication, which are key ingredients for me.
What did you do before Make My Cake? And where are you from?
I was born in the Bronx and raised in Harlem. Before Make My Cake, I was a college student and my mom’s baking apprentice until I was 12. My mom helped me sell chocolate chip cookies to my neighbors every Sunday, beginning at the age of 9.
What was your inspiration for Make My Cake? And the name Make My Cake?
I was on my way to meet the young lady who created my logo to pick up the drawings of the logo originally called Cakes by Aliyyah. We came up with the name by repeating her apartment number, to me, 10M. Make My Cake, and the name came to me. I give props to her creative, branded thinking.
Were you formally trained?
I wasn’t trained formally; however, my mom taught me everything I know, and my mom was formally trained.
What is your vision for Make My Cake?
To continue to build our family legacy through traditional southern baking.
How has COVID-19 changed the way you do business?
I know that my business is going to be more tech-friendly as a result of COVID. For example, updating my website and creating an app will happen much sooner. The technological ideas about the business will be in effect quicker than I thought they would be. Additionally, we are visibly conscious of cleaning and social distancing. We are aware of what is happening today and are always better being safe than sorry. COVID has awakened us economically and health-wise as well.
What are some of your offerings and price points?
Small batch southern bakery offerings range between $7-$12 on average for our famous red velvet cupcakes, cookies, cinnamon rolls, sweet potato pies, and more. Cake prices are $45-$75 on average.
Tell us three things you’d like us to know about your brand?
We are a family-owned and operated business. We are a business that is focused on community and is a small batch southern bakery. It’s been 45 years since my mother started her business in her home, and we are celebrating 25 years as a brick and mortar location. The business began in 1975 and became a brick in mortar location in 1995.
With what’s happening in America—do you have any comforting words or quotes you’d like to share with us today?
We live in a time where we all need a bit of sweetness—a time where we need love—experiencing a sweetness that is made with love to perfection that is comforting to not only our tastebuds but our overall satisfaction is a beautiful thing. I have to write an entire article on the menu at Make My Cake. Still, I will say that you MUST try all of the cupcakes, the cinnamon rolls, and the cookies are unforgettable. And grab a slice of whatever flavor cake is available, you won’t regret it.
When a dessert is experienced, it should be the sweetest symphony of delight, richness, and homely. And it’s meant to share.
Take some time today to learn about Aliyyah Baylor, Make My Cake, and its rich history. Go a step further and visit one of Make My Cake locations. Let us know what you think by emailing us, tagging us on Instagram, or by commenting here.
To Support and Celebrate Make My Cake, we will be doing a giveaway starting Wednesday, July 22nd (Make sure you stay tuned).
As Always, Sending Love. Stay Safe.
Upper West Side (UWS)775 Columbus Avenue
Harlem2380 Adam C. Powell Blvd. 139th St.
Cheers to sweets worth trying