By Lyn Dobrin
My Cup of Cake is a treat for all seasons and all occasions. Sharon Tracy of Port Washington created My Cup of Cake.
My Cup of Cake comes with a package of dry ingredients (that includes flour, cocoa, sugar and milk) and a small packet of oil to mix with water in a handsome, large, white mug. It’s microwaved for a little over two minutes and, voilà, you have a delicious chocolate soufflé, and a very nice mug to use again.
In 2011, Tracy’s friend, Charleston-resident Peter Waters, who is a master baker, sent her a packet of ingredients for a chocolate dessert with the mandate to “make it better.” Never one to turn down an opportunity to bake (she says she bakes something every day) or, it seems, a challenge, she started experimenting. Not a lot of ingredients, but everything had to meet her high standards.
It took a year to get the product to where she wanted it. “I tried a gazillion cocoas,” she said, finally deciding on a specific Belgian cocoa with just the right amount of fat content to keep it moist. For the flour, she chose a product from the southern U.S.—“Wheat is softer in the south,” said Tracy.
Her Master of Arts in business marketing and years of work experience in marketing at an entertainment company had taught her the value of having everything in place before launching a product. She was carefully moving forward with her manufacturing and marketing plans when opportunity came crashing through the door.
She was traveling into Manhattan with a friend and he mentioned he knew someone who puts products on TV. She contacted him, sent the product and, in turn, Whoopi Goldberg approved a Valentine’s Day product appearance on The View in 10 days. “We didn’t even have a website up,” she said. “I got an e-commerce site up in five days and ordered all the ingredients and materials we needed to put it together.” The studio audience received 200 as gifts.
What could be better than Whoopi Goldberg “oohing” and “aahing” over your product on national television? Orders totaling $100,000 came in. “At that point, we hired Madison Cortland ARC, men and women with disabilities, to pack, ship and fulfill our product. They have been doing it ever since and we have become an advocate for them,” says Tracy. All orders got to the customers by Valentine’s Day, and there were no returns and no complaints.
My Cup of Cake has appeared on the Today Show and is now sold at Neiman Marcus. Locally it can be obtained at Painting with Flowers on Main Street, and, now that there is a website, online at Tracy’s company A Sprinkle and a Dash, www.asprinkleandadash.com.