BABYLON, NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Micheline Cummings and her partner Terry Haughy made a living baking custom cakes for events—until the events stopped happening.
Their business having been crushed by the coronavirus pandemic, they decided to launch a new venture in Babylon, Long Island, based on their own invention: the shuga pie.READ MORE: Canal Rubber Supply: Family Business Solves Problems With Rubber And Foam For Three Generations
“It’s a cake sandwich,” Micheline said.
The idea was born when she took leftover scraps from a tiered cake and, instead of discarding them, sealed them together with frosting. The hand-held treat was an immediate sensation.
“We actually tried to figure out like, ‘Oh, we must be making whoopie pies or scooters or moon pies.’ We didn’t fit in any genre, so we were like, ‘I guess we have to figure out a name for it,” Terry said.
Shuga pies are now available in rotating flavors like pistachio and birthday cake. New ones are developed based on what customers are craving, whether it be peanut butter, fudge, or Italian-American rainbow cookie.
It can come as a surprise to newcomers that all the flavors are plant-based—olive oil brings moisture, while texture is derived from nuts and seeds.
Queues form down an alley to Shuga Pie Shop‘s walkup window. When shuga pies are passed through, they often disappear quickly.
“I don’t know if a lot of it makes it to the parking lot,” Terry said.READ MORE: Bobb Howard's: Auto Repair And Old-Fashioned Candy In New Hyde Park
Micheline and Terry believe their customers deserve a treat.
“Especially with everything that everybody’s gone through, everybody needs a little something special for themselves,” Terry said.
The pandemic isn’t the first challenge Micheline and Terry have weathered.
“Six years ago, I was in a really bad car accident,” Micheline said. “It was a head-on collision.”
The crash left Micheline with brain damage resulting in stuttering, aphasia, and the loss of her ability to visualize.
Without a mind’s eye, her memory and foresight suffered.
“But if you put me in front of a cake, I could just do it,” she said. “I would just create.”
Her doctors encouraged Micheline to bake as part of her therapy.
“Every day, pretty much all day, was just working on getting better,” she said.
Terry conceived of quizzes and drills for Micheline, asking her to read aloud, repeat sequences of words, and practice picturing simple shapes in her head. Little by little, she improved.
Micheline says she could not have made her near-full recovery if it had not been for Terry.
“I know it’s the type of injury that can drive people apart,” she said. “Whatever we’re dealing with, we deal with together.”MORE NEWS: Family-Run Tofu Shop Fong On, Founded In 1933, Is Embracing Its Past And Future
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