Odds are good that you have probably enjoyed a sweet treat baked by Ed Crenshaw’s bakery. You might not have known that, though, as he has been a wholesaler for restaurants and grocery stores across the region for two decades, baking cakes and other sweet treats for others to sell under their own labels.

Now that has all changed.

In May, Crenshaw and his daughter Miller Cowan launched Sugar Avenue Bakery, an e-commerce store that allows them to sell their high-end baked goods directly to customers. 

“We had been thinking of doing this for years,” said Crenshaw, adding that they held off on the new division because their wholesale business was doing so well.

Then the pandemic hit.

“Pretty much everything came to a halt with all our customers because of COVID-19,” Cowan said.

The two knew that this was the time to launch their new direct-to-customer division. Over the course of weeks, they shifted gears, creating high-end cakes for shipping nationwide.

Classic Southern cakes like caramel, red velvet and coconut are a few of the current eight flavors. Cakes are available in either a 6- or 8-inch size, each with four layers. The cakes are shipped frozen so they stay fresh until ready-to-serve. 

Celia Ramirez spreads silky caramel icing onto a four layer fluffy cream cake at Sugar Avenue Bakery in Memphis, Tenn., on Wednesday, June 10, 2020.

“We use upscale ingredients like Plugra butter and Mexican vanilla in all our cakes,” explained Crenshaw.  Classics like caramel cake are made the old-fashioned way, burning the sugar over the stove until just the right point for a sweet caramel icing.

The team is always experimenting, adding more options to the online store.

Their newest cake is a gluten-free Crispy Cake. Three delicious layers of crispy rice treats are topped with buttercream frosting and colorful sprinkles.

“During the summer, it’s the perfect cake to cut and share since it doesn’t melt and can be eaten with your hands,” said Cowan, pointing out they with be offering a version with red, white and blue sprinkles for the Fourth of July holiday.

Angelica Garcia puts sprinkles on a three layer Crispy Cake at Sugar Avenue Bakery in Memphis, Tenn., on Wednesday, June 10, 2020.

All cakes are shipped FedEx Ground in an eco-friendly box. The cakes are kept cold by dry ice packets from Memphis-based company nexAir.

“We decided to make our cakes available for contact-less delivery rather than sell from a store-front,” Cowan said.

To order, visit sugaravenue.com. 8-inch cakes retail for $60, and 6-inch “baby” cakes retail for $45. The price includes free shipping. Cakes ship Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and usually arrive within two to three business days.