By Chris Bavender
When the closure of businesses due to COVID-19 restrictions forced Classic Cakes of Carmel to postpone its 25th anniversary Indy Cake Off and lay off most of its staff, owner Megan Ritz decided to launch a few programs she’d been brainstorming.
“Cancelling the Indy Cake Off was disappointing. I know our participants were already working hard on their cakes, but the restrictions left us no choice,” Ritz said. “I am grateful we were able to act quickly when it became clear how bad this was going to get. Honestly, I have a journal full of project ideas.
“I chose these, specifically, because I felt they engaged the community in a way that allowed for us to be helpful and spread some joy during a painful time.”
The programs include The Cake Fairy, Cake it Yourself, Cake Donations and a Cake Video Series.
The Cake Fairy program gives people the opportunity to spread “some joy and surprise their friends and family with a token of love,” Ritz said.
“People are sending cakes to their friends, family, neighbors, teammates, coworkers and employees,” she said. “It’s been amazing to get to see the little acts of kindness happening all over the city. Not only by people sending these gifts but by their support of our small business.”
The Cake Fairy also collects donations with 100 percent going toward the cost of making the cakes. In the first week, Classic Cakes donated 20 cakes to local hospital staff, senior care facilities, the local police station, fire station and to struggling families. The next project is to donate cupcakes to the staff and children of Riley Hospital for Children.
Cake it Yourself is works in conjunction with the Cake Video Series to promote learning something new and connecting with the outside world during a time of isolation. It includes a cake decorating kit with an 8-inch pre-iced cake, four bags of buttercream in different colors and coordinated sprinkles.
“In our first week, I did seven live videos, with over 50,000 views,” Ritz said. “Videos are about our shop, a behind-the-scenes tour and lots of decorating advice. The video series is on our Facebook page live and you can catch replays on Facebook or YouTube.”
Response has been “unreal,” Ritz said.
“Other businesses are contacting me, asking me advice so they can launch their own series,” she said. “Families are telling me how grateful they are for the distraction. One parent even shared that she uses the videos as a reward for her kids finishing their schoolwork. There is so much fear, frustration and pain in the world right now, I feel so fortunate to be able to be offering a little piece of joy and kindness.”
Ritz purchased Classic Cakes in 2019. She’d previously interned at the business, then worked as a baker and decorator at the shop and eventually ran day-to-day operations as the general manager.
“I never expected a global epidemic to join me during my first year as business owner,” Ritz said. “I have had to make hard choices and get creative, but I believe that nothing is more important than kindness. Maybe kindness from a distance of 6 feet, but kindness, nonetheless.”
Clasic cakes is offering cakes for curbside pickup and deliveries and allowing brides to pick up sample kits for tastings so they can continue to plan weddings for later this year.
Catch the Cake Video series at 8 p.m. Monday and Thursday on Facebook @classiccakescarmel.