Ed Crenshaw knows how to run a bakery — he’s been doing that for more than 20 years, though the catchy name likely won’t ring a bell.
The Butcher and the Baker has cooked cakes and other goodies in a bakery on Summer Avenue for a couple of decades, but it’s baked a commercial, not a branded, product. You might’ve eaten something from there without knowing it.
Remember the layer cakes at the closed and much-missed Easy Way? Those were Crenshaw’s cakes, including the caramel one that people still talk about.
The coconut cake at Central BBQ? That’s his. Germantown Commissary? Those too. For years he’s provided dessert items to restaurants and also cooked wedding cake layers to send out to bakeries around the country.
Not long ago, he was gathered — at a responsible social distance — with his family, sitting outside and talking about how different the world is during COVID-19.
His daughter, Miller Cowan, was there.
“We were talking about what we could be doing during this time,” she said. “We wanted to be creative and do something crazy and fun, something that would be a bright, happy thing. And I thought, whoa, I have a bakery at my disposal.”
So she joined the business.
“I made her CEO and CFO,” Crenshaw said.
And while this new e-commerce cake business was born just that way, Crenshaw already had the name for the concept.
“Miller called me one day and said ‘Hey, I’m going to set up a website,’ and I said no need, we already did all that. About three years ago, Ben (Fant of Farmhouse) and I did all that. It was ready to go.
“So here we are, coming out of the chute in the middle of a changing world.”
Sugar Avenue is the name of the new business and the Crenshaw family started it almost as soon as the idea was born. For Easter, they delivered about 80 cakes, locally and via FedEx out of town.
“Some were people we knew or friends of friends, but some saw our pictures on Instagram,” Cowan said.
They’re hoping for a similar boom for Mother’s Day.
Sugar Avenue offers caramel, chocolate, strawberry, coconut, red velvet, and lemon cakes in 8-inch and 6-inch sizes, wrapped, boxed and delivered to your door. The price is $60 for the large cake and $45 for the smaller one, including the shipping charge.
“These are baked in small batches with great ingredients. We use Plugra butter, add sour cream to the cakes, and they’re pretty,” Cowan said.
But the business is strictly delivery, all ordered online at sugaravenue.com and delivered
“We won’t have a storefront,” Cowan said. “We’re not like a Muddy’s or a Frost.”
They will, however, add a birthday cake and three pies to the mix down the line: Chocolate, lemon ice box and chess.
Crenshaw was in the food service business, working for D. Canale, when he met a baker.
“We teamed up and starting selling cakes to the casinos, back before they were so big that they started baking themselves,” he said. “We called it The Butcher and the Baker because we originally planned to open a store like a Honeybaked Ham, but we never got around to that.”
He’s had different baking businesses over the years, tucked away in the same spot, baking different items for restaurants, bakeries and groceries in town and around the country.
He likes the new concept for high-end cakes; he’s ready for something new.
“I’m like a musician,” he said. “Every few years I have to reinvent myself.”