Eat Cake makes sweet treats for Cupcakes for a Cause
BY JACQUELINE HLAVENKA Staff Writer
A local bakery is whipping up cupcakes from scratch to raise money for children affected by cancer. Eat Cake Bakery of Matawan, in the Colonial Shops mall on Route 79, is participating in the seventh annual Cupcakes for a Cause week, Sept. 21-26.
Robert GomezThe program that encourages businesses and people across the country to bake and sell treats to generate funding for cancer research and professional services that benefit children with a cancer diagnosis.
“We like to do a lot of stuff for the kids, anything that helps them. A lot of [the funding] is for professional services,” said Robert Gomez, of the Morganville section of Marlboro, who co-owns the bakery.
During Cupcakes for a Cause week, the bakery will donate 50 percent of the proceeds from the cupcakes to CancerCare for Kids, a national nonprofit that provides counseling, support groups, information about the disease and treatment options, and financial assistance for families.
The inspiration for the cupcake program started in 2004 when CancerCare enrolled bakeries in New York City to create specialized and uniquely decorated cupcakes. The campaign was a success in Manhattan and gained momentum outside city limits.
“This is the seventh year they are doing it,” Gomez said. “It started out just in New York City with a few bakeries. … Now it’s a nationwide event.”
Eat Cake, which took over the Heritage Bakery shop two years ago, is participating in Cupcakes for a Cause for the second year.
“In those two years, we’ve put our fingerprints on a couple of things,” said coowner Bruce Wynn, of Englewood. “They [CancerCare] called us because they know we are a bakery in the area and they wanted to know if we wanted to get involved. … It’s a good cause and we do a lot of different things for kids. We do fundraisers for school football teams, cheerleading and all of that.”
The bakery charges $2 for a cupcake and was hoping to sell 1,000 or more of the tasty treats by the end of the special week.
“Our goal was to do 1,000 last year, which is our same goal this year,” Gomez said. “We did 700 last year … we would love to do more.”
This year, the bakery will offer five flavors of cupcakes that will be mixed-andmatched during the week, including red velvet, bananas Foster, s’mores, Key lime pie, German chocolate and piña colada.
“Last year we did two flavors and this year I wanted to change it up,” Gomez said, showing off trays of the treats fresh out of the oven. “We did chocolate peanut butter and strawberry shortcake. Chocolate peanut butter was definitely the winner,” he laughed.
The preparation and baking process for the cupcakes takes two hours and another two hours for decorating, Gomez said. Each completed cupcake is adorned with an edible smiley-face CancerCare for Kids sugar candy logo.
The secret to Eat Cake’s cupcakes, Gomez says, is butter cream — and lots of it — which is made every day in-house.
“It’s an all-butter butter cream,” Gomez said.
In addition to taking part in Cupcakes for a Cause, the bakery has participated in local fundraisers for the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District, the Marlboro K-8 School District, the Marlboro Education Foundation, the Matawan United Methodist Church, the Matawan Food Pantry and Castle of Dreams Animal Rescue in Keyport.
Next, the bakery would like to donate cakes to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.
“They have a big children’s cancer division,” Gomez said. “We would want to do something up there.”
The bakery staff has been publicizing the event through social networking sites like Facebook and sending out email newsletters to regular customers.
By promoting Cupcakes for a Cause online, Gomez hopes fans of the bakery will spread the word.
“[Last year] we got people coming from Hightstown and Bordentown,” he said. “Facebook really helps because people have friends from all over. I have friends that live in Virginia and Arizona, and they are asking if we can ship to them.”
Observing September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Gomez and Wynn said giving back to the community is one of the bakery’s core philosophies.
“We are there for them all year round,” Wynn said.