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A Piece of Cake

Family-Owned Custom Cake Shop has been in Greenwood for 14 Years

Writer  /  Michelle Kaufman
Photographer  /  Brian Brosmer

For nearly 30 years, Debbie VanVolkenburgh has been baking and delivering cakes.

VanVolkenburgh started A Piece of Cake in 1988. As her kids grew up, she made cakes at home and would bring them to her children’s school for their birthdays, but it became a hassle.

When her oldest son moved to California, she was surprised to learn that nobody there delivered cakes.

“I couldn’t quite figure that out. It seemed like a no brainer to me,” she says. “There surely was a lot of people that their kids lived here, and they would like for them to have a cake. I just thought along those lines for a little bit and then taking cupcakes to school for my younger kids, I thought, ‘man, if someone would do that for me for $25, I would gladly pay it.’”

While still working at a full-time job, VanVolkenburgh started her business by talking to others and passing out brochures advertising her cake delivery business.

“I would get off work, go by the cake shop, bake at night, bake on weekends. A last-minute thing was not a possibility because there was no one there that could do that,” VanVolkenburgh says.

After working two jobs for a decade, VanVolkenburgh had a choice: give up the cake shop, or give up working anywhere else. She kept her business, which has moved locations over the years but is currently right next to Walker Eggs in Greenwood, where it has been since 2003.

A Piece of Cake offers several flavors of cake, from chocolate and yellow to chocolate almond raspberry and Italian cream can also come with fillings. Pies and tarts are also available, and pumpkin rolls are made in the fall. Everything is baked fresh, and gluten free options are available.

“When I started out, I had recipes that I liked and we expanded from there,” she says. “A lot of things that we do come from customer requests. We work on it and experiment a little bit.”

One of the most popular items at the bakery is “cake trash” – cutoff from the middle of the cake so that the cake can lay straight. It used to be thrown away, until an employee’s daughter mentioned buying the hump and icing at another bakery. A Piece of Cake sells out of their “cake trash” every day.

VanVolkenburgh often works 12-hour days and does everything from decorating cakes to consulting with brides to doing the dishes. She still enjoys what she does and plans to continue her business, along with her seven other employees.

“If I enjoy what I do, I’ll just keep on doing it,” she says. “We just like taking care of people, and I think we have the nicest customers in the county.”

Tracy Curd has worked at A Piece of Cake for almost a decade. She takes all orders for the bakery and helps customers decide on cake designs.

Curd’s favorite is white cake with raspberry filling, but she doesn’t have a favorite design.

“Cakes are very individual, just like people,” Curd says. “They want cakes to match what they’re doing and their personality. It’s a fun business too, because most people that are ordering a cake, it’s for a fun occasion. It’s always nice on weekends to see all the beautiful cakes go out. It’s a lot of hard work on everyone’s part from start to finish, but it’s teamwork.”

VanVolkenburgh’s advice to those aspiring to open a bakery is to have a strong support system at home and work because starting a business is hard.

“It takes a lot of hours that you work for free,” she says. “If you don’t really love doing it, you have no business thinking that you want do this. You really have to have a passion for it. It’s not something you’re going to get rich doing.”

A Piece of Cake is located at 1275 W Main St Greenwood, IN 46142. You can give them a call at 317-887-2253.

About Christy Heitger-Ewing

Christy Heitger-Ewing is an award-winning writer and columnist who writes human interest stories for national, regional, and local magazines. She is also the author of the book “Cabin Glory: Amusing Tales of Time Spent at the Family Retreat” (www.cabinglory.com).

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