- A San Francisco bakery has created "Quarantine Cakes" to deliver to people self-isolating and social distancing due to the coronavirus.
- Butter &'s buttercream cakes feed two to four people and are decorated with messages like "wash your hands," "don't touch your face," and "pretend you're an introvert."
- The bakery's owner Amanda Nuygen told Insider that creating the cakes transformed its worst week ever into its best.
- She's now encouraging bakeries around the world to do the same.
- Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
While many small businesses are struggling to keep their doors open as the coronavirus pandemic continues, some are adapting, both to stay afloat and also give the people what they really need right now: cake.
One such business is San Francisco bakery Butter &, which has ingeniously started selling "Quarantine Cakes" and delivering them to people's doors.
The cakes are smaller than usual, serving two to four people, and customers can choose from the following helpful messages:
- "Wash your hands"
- "Don't touch your face"
- "Clean and disinfect"
- "Pretend you're an introvert"
- "Don't hoard facemasks."
The buttercream cakes, which cost $50 each, are available in a range of flavors too, including hazelnut and chocolate, pistachio and rose, and salted caramel and chocolate.
Bakery owner Amanda Nguyen told Insider that the cakes, which are handmade by her and three team members, had saved the company.
"We normally receive a flood of orders each Monday, but last Monday almost nothing came through," she said.
"Then clients started writing in to cancel their birthdays and weddings since it was becoming clear that large gatherings would spread the virus. A huge part of our mission is ethical employment — we want to be the best employer in the food industry — so knew we couldn't cut our employee pay or hours."
Nguyen knew she needed to come up with something new.
"Since our clients were stuck at home, we decided to meet them there," she said. "Our usual cakes serve eight or more people, so we had to do something smaller for one to two people. We also wanted to help educate people about how to slow the virus, so we picked our favorite pieces of advice from the CDC and put them on top."
And people are loving them. So much so that Nguyen said last week started out as one of their worst ever, with business down 65%, and ended up being their best week ever just 24 hours later.
"I am absolutely speechless at how generous our community has been," she said.
"We just wanted to cover our costs for the week, but our clients and friends and family have actually helped us grow our reserves."
Nguyen believes people are loving the cakes so much because they're a reminder of humanity.
"It's hard to read the news and see what's going on, and not despair at what this virus means for our future," she said. "When will life be normal again?
"Our quarantine cakes are putting a little humanity back into the picture, with a lot of people sending them to their loved ones as a gift. In times of social isolation and fear, it's human connection, acts of love, and comfort food that will get us through it. And listening to what the CDC says."
Although things are looking up, Nguyen is still nervous about how the situation will develop.
"The pandemic could go on for months, and we could eventually see a full closure of all businesses," she said. "So while we are in a much better place right now than we were a week ago, we're trying to work as much as we can now so that we can keep paying our team if we're shut down for a long period of time."
Butter & has been encouraging fellow bakeries around the world to follow its lead and make their own quarantine-themed baked goods, and many are doing so, such as Aloria Cakes in New York, Dulce ILY in Houston, and Cakes By Mama in London.
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Here’s what we’re doing with these lemons so far. Thank you so much to @butter_and for inventing Quarantine Cakes (and telling the rest of us cakers it was ok to make our own version!) From my (gloved) hands to your (washed) ones: Quarantine Cupcakes. Sold by the dozen, with or without helpful toppers reminding you to wash you hands, not touch your face, and maintain social distancing. Don’t want cupcakes? Then grab youself a Quarantine Minicake, serving 1-3 people (photos to come). You can pick up at the bakery, or I will drop off to you. We all need a little sugar. ✨Send me a DM to order!✨ . . . #cupcakes #cupcakesmakeeverythingbetter #minicupcakes #minicakes #quarantinecravings #quarantinecupcakes #quarantinecakes #stayhome #socialisolation #socialdistancing #corona #sweettooth #stillbaking #bakery #cakery #astoria #astoriaqueens #queens #lic #aloriacakesnyc
One of Meghan Markle's favorite London bakeries has also joined the movement — Luminary Bakery in Stoke Newington has started selling an Isolation Cake.
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Earlier this week The Duchess of Sussex visited the women of @LuminaryBakery as they celebrated the opening of their new location. It was a special moment to acknowledge the spirit of Luminary and their remarkable business model that opens its arms to women from vulnerable circumstances (be it abuse, poverty, trafficking, marginalisation) and equips them with the job skills and confidence to succeed. Having sat down with @luminarybakery at their flagship location earlier this year and from that inspiring visit choosing to feature them as #ForcesForChange in the September issue of @britishvogue, Her Royal Highness was proud to be invited to attend the launch of their second bakery. This addition will enable the organisation to provide services, support and mentoring for four times the number of women. Luminary Bakery – a sustainable grassroots organisation in the heart of London – is a beautiful example of community and uplifting those during hardship for the greater good. If you find yourself in the area, please visit and support the women of @LuminaryBakery to enjoy their delicious baked goods and to see the impactful work they’re doing. Video © SussexRoyal
Markle visited the bakery in September to celebrate the launch of its new location.
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