Growing up in Indianapolis, Theron Brooks found great joy in cooking and baking, especially desserts. She would watch baking shows on Food Network and foster that love of baking. It always intrigued her, and baking was still in the back of her mind as her other aspirations grew.
In April of 2020, Brooks was supposed to go on a trip to celebrate her much-anticipated 30th birthday. Unfortunately, the trip was canceled, along with her birthday cake. So, Brooks decided to take matters into her own hands and bake her own birthday cake.
“I did my research, purchased all the tools and ingredients I would need, and got to work,” Brooks says. “I already had a love for baking, so I figured I could do it. I thought it turned out pretty well for the first time, so I posted it on my social media. I got so many comments saying I should do this more often.”
She made cakes for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and friends’ birthdays in the following weeks. A friend from high school asked Brooks to make her daughter’s birthday cake, and offered to pay for it. She realized she had more than enough experience to open her own bakery. By December of 2020, Cake Joy was up and running.
Potential clients submit requests through Brooks’ website. She reaches out to discuss flavors, design and size to create a truly customized creation. Brooks, a Geist resident, has clients all around Indianapolis including Geist, Fishers and Carmel.
“One thing that separates Cake Joy is these are truly one-of-a-kind cakes and completely customizable,” Brooks says. “When someone reaches out to me inquiring about a cake, we work together to find inspiration. Sometimes they tell me they don’t care too much about the design and trust me to come up with something beautiful, which is really fun.”
She offers 14 different cake flavors, from classic favorites like vanilla and chocolate to lesser-known flavors like banana, coffee and piña colada. She also provides 14 different cake fillings including vanilla, chocolate, mocha, strawberry, lemon buttercream, caramel cream, apricot and more.
“One of the first wedding cakes I made had a maple bacon filling,” Brooks says. “I actually put bacon in it. In my head I thought, ‘This wedding cake has pork in it,’ but it was very well-received. I’m all about trying out whatever the customer wants.”
Brooks specializes in buttercream design using a Swiss meringue buttercream. It’s made by whipping egg whites with sugar to make a thick meringue, and then whipping in butter. This makes the buttercream extraordinarily light and fluffy.
Cakes vary in price based on size, ingredients and detail. Brooks says she leaves pricing open at a base price, depending on the degree of work the cake will take.
In her short tenure, the producers of “The Good Dish” discovered Brooks and her custom cakes through her social media presence. She was approached to participate in their recurring segment, “The Great American Dish Off.”
“They reached out to me to participate in a competition about sheet-pan desserts,” Brooks says. “It wasn’t specifically about cakes, but I thought it would be an awesome experience because it’s national television, great marketing for Cake Joy and a good experience in general.”
Brooks submitted her recipe for her Bourbon Peach Cinnamon Crunch Bar. The episode was filmed in March and aired in April. She saw a boost in her online traffic almost immediately. The show aired at different times in different parts of the country, and she could see when viewers in those locales would watch the show based on website clicks.
“My engagement grew around 200% within a day or a few hours of the episode airing, so that was really interesting to see,” Brooks says. “I had people reaching out through Instagram, and even a few who reached out for the recipe showcased on ‘The Good Dish.’”
For now, Cake Joy is a passion project for Brooks. She currently works at Faegre Drinker as a communications manager. She’s also a full-time wife to Courtney Brooks and mom to Athen Brooks.
“I love this being more of a hobby than my full-time business,” Brooks says. “I love the flexibility of taking on cakes around what is going on with my family that particular weekend. Maybe I’ll change my mind in five years and want a storefront, but I’m not quite there yet. I am thrilled with where I’m at currently and how much Cake Joy has grown since I started.”
For more information, email email@example.com or visit cakejoybakery.com.
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