Raspberry Fudge, Biscoff Boston Cream, Strawberry Shortcake cupcakes – oh my!
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When I casually cruised by a little corner store spot last month near my house and saw purple and yellow shiny balloons out front, I was curious. When I saw the sign that said “Cakes and Cones,” I was ecstatic and almost fell off my bike! Dutch’s Cakes and Cones has moved into the Pawcatuck neighborhood at 2 Prospect Street and since the opening day the flow of people in and out is crazy busy; I mean they had us at cakes and cones!
Tiffany Shultz is the baker and owner of this vegan bake shop, she has taken her online business, which initially started with a fundraiser, to a higher level and added confetti, good vibes, and wholesome deliciousness to create Dutch’s.
“It’s been phenomenal and crazy in here, and pretty steady,” says Tiffany. “We have become a destination place for vegans, soft-serve ice cream, and cupcakes.”
Tiffany is a shining example of when life gives you lemons you knock it out of the park by selling unique lemonade that brightens people’s day. Her son was diagnosed with an incurable neurological autoimmune disease in 2016 and she participated in a community fundraiser for the cause by baking vegan cupcakes to sell. Her cupcakes were a hit, and because they were so good people thought she already had a cupcake business. Even though Tiffany graduated from Ella T. Grasso with a culinary arts degree and she had always dreamed of being a chef, baking was not in her wheelhouse at the time.
“People said you should sell them. That is how it started, people wanted them,” says Tiffany. “And I thought maybe we can do this.”
She started selling her vegan cupcakes at the Groton and New London farmers markets and eventually also sold her delicious cupcakes at other businesses. She built an online following with her unique vegan dessert and started catering parties and different events.
“A shop was always a dream. I wanted to be more accessible and have people come in,” says Tiffany. “And offering ice cream too was something I selfishly wanted.”
Wanting to take her business to the next level and establish herself with a storefront Tiffany had picked a place in Groton, where she grew up, but right before signing the lease COVID hit and the real estate transaction was dead in the water with the government shut down and the financing company not issuing any more licenses.
“I had to think how to move forward,” says Tiffany.
She shelved her storefront dream temporarily and went back to work fulltime at the New London Police Department as a dispatcher. As restaurants started to open a few months ago, Tiffany became hopeful that her dream of expanding her vegan bakery business was a possibility and she began looking around for a brick and mortar location.
Having been to Westerly in the past for a pop-up event at Christina’s sharing her cupcakes, Tiffany felt well received from the community and started to look around the area for a location. The small corner spot on Prospect Street popped up after another bakery business moved out to expand across the street, thus the kitchen and equipment were already in place; a positive welcoming beacon.
“It’s so cute and charming near the train tracks, and I thought about it and said let’s do this,” says Tiffany.” It kind of evolved and I thought okay this could work as a storefront.”
And that’s how Dutch’s was born! And since her grand opening on July 28, Tiffany and her bakery team have been baking and selling between 400-500 vegan cupcakes a day.
“We have been so warmly welcomed by people and the Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce. Everyone seems to want us here,” says Tiffany.
Her team helping at the store consists of supportive family members, including her son Jake, 19, and her right-hand man, whose nickname, Dutch, the business was named after.
“I am super proud of her, she put in so much work,” says Jake. “There were many road bumps and times I thought this must be it but she made it work. She gives me a lot of hope.”
Vegan is the only option with all the cupcakes and soft-serve ice cream being eco friendly and authentically delicious. Even the cupcake take out containers are made from plant plastic and 100% compostable. Tiffany has been a vegan since 2011 and can relate to not having fun choices on menus when it comes to what one can eat when dining out.
“You have days you want to treat yourself and you’re not counting carbs, and we are trying to show people you can do that too on plant-based,” says Tiffany. ‘This is fun food.”
Tiffany is excited for the future of Dutch’s and hopes to add more menu items, such as gluten-free brownies, hard ice cream flavors, and hot food. Remaining faithful to her online following she wants to reintroduce catering and online ordering in the fall.
“I have a million ideas for where I want it to go in the future, but I want to make sure we are not getting too big too fast,” says Tiffany. “It’s wonderful to see people and talk to them face to face, I’m loving it.”
Check out Dutch’s Cakes and Cones for online ordering.