By Meda Kessler
Photo by Aaron Dougherty
Baker Tareka Lofton shakes her head and smiles. (I can tell by the sound of her voice over the telephone that this is exactly what she is doing.)
“I’ve worked on some incredible cakes in my career. Who would have believed that this toilet paper design would help save my business?”
She opened Loft22 Cakes about three years ago. With a background in art and a culinary degree, Lofton interned for and worked for a couple of local bakers, but she struck out on her own once she found a little shop she could afford in Fort Worth.
Since then, she’s done specialty cakes for both small affairs and six-figure extravaganzas. Clients are impressed not only by her designs, but by the fact that her cakes taste good, too.
But, like most of the food industry, the coronavirus hit her hard financially. She had to let her small staff go, relied on family for help and hustled to figure out a way to keep her doors open.
On March 18, she posted a photo on social media of her “quarantine” cakes. The 6-inch four-layer frosted cakes were personalized with messages such as “Wash Your Hands” and “Don’t Touch Your Face.” They were a hit. And on March 24, she posted a photo of her “toilet paper” cake.
That was the game changer. Sales were brisk, and Lofton also donated cakes to Fort Worth city offices.
In mid-April, Lofton got local media coverage, and her phone began to ring nonstop. She was able to hire back her staff, putting some of them to work at their homes to answer email orders.
Lofton and her staff are still offering curbside service for the popular tissue cake and anything else you might want.
We had fun “dressing up” one of our cakes with organic flowers and paired it with a William Chris Pétillant Naturel rosé. Cheers to entrepreneurs and everyone else figuring out how to make it work.