Cheesecake by the slice from Shaundria Conner’s new bakery business.
Writer: Karla Walsh
Occasionally in dsmWeekly, we’ll introduce you to a local food company owned by a person of color. Catch up on the previous editions here.
Shaundria Conner wasn’t exactly vying for the crown of a professional baker when the need to launch her new business, the Queen of Cheesecakes, arose. As a hobby, “for the last five years or so, I’ve baked for my friends and gym and church families,” Conner says. “They always urged me to open a bakery [but] I never thought I actually could sell them.”
That changed when one fellow churchgoer who sampled Conner’s goodies shared a Facebook photo of a butter pecan cheesecake and asked her to try to re-create it. “I couldn’t sleep one night, so I stayed up at night to try it—I had made a butter pecan cake and riffed on that,” Conner says. “Everyone who tried the finished product said, ‘You need to sell this!’ ”
Still, Conner wasn’t convinced until one of the people who sampled it shared a slice with co-workers at a real estate office. An agent then called Conner asking to place an order for a future open house. “The agent had already ordered a cheesecake before I could say no, so I decided to join a licensed kitchen around Labor Day this year and then launched the Queen of Cheesecakes Facebook page,” she says.
Conner offers a variety of flavors and crust options (you can order off the menu as listed here or can customize your cake). To this day, that surprising butter pecan experiment remains her bestseller and signature item. “It’s like butter pecan ice cream and cheesecake decided to have a baby with caramel sauce on top of it all,” Conner says.
Besides the flavors, the real difference that sets Conner’s treats apart is the “love baked into every cheesecake,” she says. “It’s still overwhelming to me to get positive feedback. These cheesecakes are like my children—it’s like sending them out in the world. If it can bring joy to people amidst all that’s going on, that means so much.”
Just two months in, Conner’s business seems to be booming. When we spoke a week before Thanksgiving, she had already baked more than 50 cheesecakes for holiday orders. To try her creations yourself, visit her Facebook page and click “Book Now” to message Conner directly to place an order. Then you can start counting down until you get to savor your own royally rich custom cheesecake.