Dee’s Babycakes expands with a new location on Clay Street
Published 10:00 am Sunday, August 22, 2021
Dee’s Babycakes, a bakery owned by an 11-year-old Vicksburg resident, has expanded its business by moving to a new location that features a new bakery item.
DéJonae Curtis was 9 years old when she began baking in her home and quickly became a sensation. Now only two years later, she has outgrown her home, outgrown her stand at the mall, and has moved to a large bakery on Clay Street. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, the Curtis family wanted a building that several family members could work out of. DéJonae shares an entrance to her bakery with her father’s gym.
“People feel sweets-deprived after working out, and they smell cakes brewing up over here,” Rachel Curtis, DéJonae’s mother, said. “They say ‘Oh, I’ll go work out and then get a cupcake.’ She has a sugar-free menu for his clients.”
Thursday was the first day of a new item on Dee’s Babycakes’ menu: Breakfast. With the new location, DéJonae expanded her hours and menu to include “Dee’s Special,” which is French toast with a protein, oatmeal, muffins, chicken or sausage with a biscuit and fruit cups. Rachel said the first day went great and better than anticipated.
“I posted a couple pictures, but I guess people saw our cars outside and they stopped by,” Rachel said.
With so many hours of the day devoted to her bakery, DéJonae can hardly stay away to do her schoolwork. Her mother, Rebecca, said her daughter gets days off in order to focus on her schoolwork, but she somehow always manages to find her way into the kitchen. She is homeschooled, allowing her to pursue her passion while simultaneously continuing with her necessary education.
“I want her to still be a kid and enjoy life and not be bogged down, but she finds her way still in here with us,” Rachel said.
DéJonae leaves serving the breakfast menu up to her grandmother and mother while she focuses on school in the morning. Around noon, she makes her way to her storefront to man the bakery for the afternoon. DéJonae joked that her mother couldn’t bake at all and she teaches her how to do everything step by step just as she would do if she was there during breakfast.
“If we don’t know how to do something we call her and say ‘Dee, how do you do this?'” Rachel said.
Even with the expanded menu and extra hours, every recipe at Dee’s Babycakes is still completely hers, and she has stayed true to her roots. Her frosting will forever be free of artificial food coloring and dye and she said it will taste like the color you see, such as strawberry for pink. DéJonae said her store still features her “OG flavors,” the ones she started off with in her home: lemon buttercream, vanilla, unicorn, grapilicious and strawberry shortcake, among many other newer flavors.
For those who loved having one of Dee’s sweet treats while shopping at the Vicksburg Mall, you are not out of luck! Though the main location is now on Clay Street, Dee’s Babycakes will still be in the mall on Friday and Saturday from 1 to 7 p.m.
“I came a long way in a short time,” DéJonae said. “It makes me amazed and makes me feel like kids can do whatever they set their minds to. I feel like I’m fortunate to have everything that I do have. I don’t need to think about the things that I don’t have because I have a lot.”
This isn’t the end goal for DéJonae. Even as far as she has come at her young age, she has plans to grow her business even bigger. DéJonae has goals of becoming a franchise and putting her frosting on grocery store’s shelves. Additionally, she wants to pour into others helping them follow in her footsteps of chasing their dreams.
“I see in her future becoming a teacher in the arts,” Rachel said. “To teach other young kids before she gets up in age — not just how to bake but inspire them to know you can do this no matter what age you are. I want her to be a pillar in the community to show other young kids they can do it as well.”
Dee’s Babycakes also invests in others, by donating a portion of their proceeds to various non-profits. Originally when she started out, DéJonae donated weekly to cancer organizations, animal shelters and the Humane Society. However, now that her profits are larger, the donations are made each quarter and have expanded to any non-profit and start-up businesses to invest in others’ dreams and passions. Someday she hopes to start her own non-profit to help other children become entrepreneurs themselves.
But no matter how big and how far Dee’s Babycakes goes, one thing is for sure: its name will never change. DéJonae’s late aunt, who passed away from cancer, had the nickname of “Babycakes.”
“She is one of the reasons I give back to cancer organizations,” DéJonae said. “I will forever keep the name. I will forever go by that name. I will forever have this picture (of my aunt) here.”
Dee’s Babycakes can be found at 2600 Clay St. The storefront is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Breakfast hours are 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., and desserts are served from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. To stay up to date on the happenings around the store, follow Dee’s Babycakes’ Facebook page.