Connie Ogle The Miami Herald
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Connie Ogle reports, "[Sherronda] Daye, founder of the Miami-based dessert catering business "Sweet Jalane's", created the "100 Cakes in 10 Days" project for Mother's Day. For every cake ordered, Daye, who has partnered this year with the non-profit Miami Children's Initiative, provides a cake to a family that has lost a child."
Culinary entrepreneur Sherronda Daye understands all too well that Mother's Day can be painful.
She also knows that the divine combination of butter, sugar, eggs and flour can't mend a broken heart — but that sweet goodness can encourage a smile.
That's why Daye, founder of the Miami-based dessert catering business Sweet Jalane's, created the 100 Cakes in 10 Days project for Mother's Day. For every cake ordered, Daye, who has partnered this year with the non-profit Miami Children's Initiative, provides a cake to a family that has lost a child.
"I am a mother who's mothering without a mother," explains Daye, a mother of two daughters and also the owner of Defense Tea, a business that sells healthy teas and lemonades. "My mother passed in 2014, and on my first Mother's Day without her, I was lost. I thought, 'I can't be the only one who feels this way.' "
This year, the cakes — which Daye bakes in the kitchen at the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University in North Miami — will go to mothers whose children have died due to gun violence or illness.
"They still have other children, and they're mothering from that broken and bitter space," says Daye, who grew up in Liberty City. "They're mothering with a broken heart. We wanted to focus on them."
Here's how it works: You order a Bundt cake via the website for The Sweet Exchange, the nonprofit arm of Sweet Jalane's (thesweetexchangemiami.com). For $40, you get two cakes. You keep one and Daye donates the other to a grieving mother identified by Miami Children's Initiative. Watching your weight or feeling generous? Donate both cakes. As Daye points out, a lot of kids can't afford to buy their moms flowers or candy or a special dessert for her special day.
The project officially runs through May 6, though if you order a cake on May 7 or 8, you stand a good chance of getting one.
This is not the first time Daye and The Sweet Exchange have reached out to help the community. In 2020, during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, they hosted drive-through dinners with grilled ribs and chicken, corn on the cob and other favorites for more than 500 people each Saturday for eight weeks at The Urban in Overtown. Also on the take-home menu: Daye's Defense Tea.
"We probably gave away 4,000 bottles," she says. "My partners were looking at me like, 'We're giving away too much.' But you can't give away too much in this moment."
Giving back to the community has long been a mission.
"I beat the odds growing up in Liberty City," says Daye, who has a master's degree in health service administration and undergraduate degrees in psychology and chemistry (the latter, as you may imagine, comes in handy in the dessert business). "I'm the first person in my family to put my daughter through college with no student loan debt. I've done that one cake at a time.
"When I get to the end of my life, I want to be empty. I want to have made a difference in somebody's life. . . . If I have not fulfilled that, then what's the point? It's just been about me. I'm raising two girls who watch me. When I leave I don't want my legacy to be just some insurance policy. I want to leave the gift of giving and the gift of good. My mother ran homeless shelters and re-entry programs. Giving is what I know."
And so, for Mother's Day, she's giving a small burst of sweetness. And about those cakes: They are not fancy, and they are not vegan. Daye is a vegetarian who limits her dairy consumption and encourages her kids to eat healthy, but she has to admit, the old-school cakes her Louisiana-born mother made are perfect the way they are.
A quick taste test supports her theory: The cake is moist, sweet, a momentary bite of pure bliss on your palate. Every mom should have one. ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.