December 21, 2012 | Borough of Manhattan Community College
BMCC’s entrepreneurial spirit is in full swing as we ease into 2013 with fireworks, cheers, and, yes, cupcakes.
Desserts bring joy to many people; including three BMCC staffers who are embracing their inner “sweet tooth.”
Possessing the passion
A staffer in the Business Management department, Yvonne Francis is also a full-time BMCC education major.
She started Kady’s Sweet Delicacies, a home-based cakeshop, in honor of her twenty-seventh birthday this year. (Kady, she explains, is her middle name.)
Francis, who grew up in St. Lucia, knew she was on to something when her fellow church members praised her sweet treats. Over the years, she’s made wedding cakes, cream puffs, chocolate bark, and more.
“I have a passion for baking and decorating cakes,” says Francis, who grew up in a family that “loved the kitchen.”
Her most-requested cake flavor is Caribbean Rum.
“Customers have been submitting orders since the summer—it comes out so moist,” she says. “I also love red velvet. I think everyone does.”
Her advice for BMCC students who feel overwhelmed balancing work with classes?
“I really stick to a schedule. I study on my lunch break; bake and study on weekends,” she explains. “If you have the passion for something, you will find the time to do it. However, be honest about your time.”
Francis hopes to someday open a storefront, and also bake with children.
“Teaching a child to cook or bake fosters conversation; they may open up to you through the activity, and it’s therapeutic for both of you,” she explains. “I think everyone needs some cake in their lives. Just seeing a nicely-decorated sweet brings a smile to people’s faces.”
Ice Scream, You Scream
Melvin Troter, a staff supervisor in BMCC’s Receiving & Stores department, oversees a small ice cream stand that operates in the summertime.
However, during this festive, sweets-filled winter, Troter couldn’t resist talking about his niche side business.
“I’m from Trinidad, where people gather on the streets at ice cream stands—it’s very social,” he explains. Feeling nostalgic and armed with ice-cream recipes from his native country, this summer he opened an ice-cream stand outside of De Hot Pot Caribbean Cuisine restaurant in Flatbush, Brooklyn.
Troter and some friends churned the ice cream flavors—which included coconut, rum raisin, and peanut—themselves inside the restaurant’s kitchen.
The stand operated every Saturday afternoon from early June through Labor Day, and, according to Troter, was a hit.
“Some customers were in from Long Island. They liked the ice cream so much, they came back the following week,” he says.
Troter’s ice-cream stand doesn’t have a name yet, but it did generate a positive write-up in The Daily News.
He looks forward to opening the cart again next summer.
“People at BMCC are surprised to hear about the ice cream,” he says, laughing while admitting, “Then they’ll immediately ask for some!”
Baking and blogging
“As a teenager, I fell in love with food and nutrition,” says Sandy-Bruce, who initially put her culinary interest aside to study toxicology at John Jay College.
About three years ago, she took some homemade cupcakes to a party and one minute they were there; the next, they were gone.
“That sort of started Cupcake Chromatography,” says Sandy-Bruce, who, like Troter, is originally from Trinidad.
“People at BMCC are surprised to find out that I bake,” she adds. Fittingly, her sweets-themed blog “relates science to baking.” (One recent post outlined the baking uses for isomalt sugar.)
“I try to make the blog educational so readers can find a good recipe and learn a bit more about science as well,” she explains.
This season, she’s made tea-inspired cupcakes, cheesecake, pumpkin fruit cakes, and more.
“I’ve also gotten better at making ‘animal faces’ cakes for baby showers,” she explains. “It’s been my new forte.”
According to Sandy-Bruce, for the holiday season, she put her own spin on the black fruit cake, a traditional dessert in Trinidad.
“I made a lighter, cupcake version that’s less dense,” she says.
Sandy-Bruce loves getting into the holiday spirit, and not just for the meals…
“For me, this time of year is about family, and nothing brings family together like food,” she wrote on her blog. “And you can’t have food without some great dessert.”