Everyone knows a good southern meal can bring the best out of people. Same goes for cakes and baked goods, which is why this mother-daughter duo in Harlem are making sure their bakery is satisfying cravings and serving the community at the same time.
“Community built our business,” Aliyyah Baylor, president and owner of Make My Cake, said.
With two Harlem, New York locations and a handful of celebrity fans — Jay Z and Tina Fey to name a few — Make My Cake‘s family recipes and cultural heritage go beyond their sweets (most notably the red velvet cake), evolving from a home-based business that only sold holiday cakes to a growing bakery enterprise with the goal of giving back to the community that sustains them.
“My passion is working with the young people; the community supports us and it’s only right that we support them back,” Joann Baylor, co-owner of Make My Cake and mother of Aliyyah said of the establishment’s goal to fill bellies and souls.
“We’re currently working with high school students. We call our mentoring program Baking for the Future, and [the students] learn life skills,” Aliyyah said. “They want to show their talent. What we’re doing as a company is taking them to the next level.”
The Make My Cake baking journey began decades ago and is based on family recipes practiced by the beloved Smith family matriarch, Josephine Smith, affectionately called “Ma Smith.”
Giving back is one of Make My Cake’s favorite ways to show appreciation to their local patrons. In addition to supporting non-profit organizations such as Dress for Success, Harlem Little League, and City Meals on Wheels, Make My Cake has several community partnerships including Hot Bread Kitchen, a non-profit improving the lives of low-income women, and the Wadleigh High School Culinary Program.
“When I go home, I feel good. We’ve accomplished something,” the eldest Baylor said.
For more information on Make My Cake’s philanthropic efforts, watch the video above.