Baking was just another side activity for Jennifer Keys.
In 2013, the Phoenix native was living in Natchez, Mississippi, where she worked as a senior decontamination technician at a power plant. In her spare time, she did hair styling, design work, craft projects. She had taken a two-day baking class years ago, in her early 20s, and occasionally baked for friends and family, which spread through word of mouth and on social media. Her name was Sugar Queen.
Eventually, a mission to a power plant sent her back to Arizona, and her childhood memories came back to her. She moved to Phoenix, and in 2019, began rebuilding her cake business from scratch, posting her designs to Facebook groups and slipping flyers under car wipers.
Nowadays Keys Operation is called The sensual confectioner. It is an online bakery offering gourmet cakes and cookies as well as baking classes. If you’ve stopped by the recent grand opening of the Chic Chef Marketplace, you might have caught a glimpse of the elegant Keys tiered cake made for the occasion. The result improved a lot after another grand opening that she cooked for, shortly after returning to Arizona, while still passing through Sugar Queen.
“The cake started to melt on delivery and even more so when I started stacking it,” Keys recalls. “I was so embarrassed that I left crying.”
This heartbreaking experience actually turned out to be accidental. The chef of the event notices her talent for developing flavors and contacts her for future collaborations. Orders started to pour in.
“Baking has helped me build my character and get rid of my bad habit [of procrastination]”Says Keys.” In this business you have to give yourself time for things that can and will go wrong. Early in my career I was working at the last minute and found myself with unhappy clients that I had to pay back. money.
Sugar Queen knew how to cook, but she was a last-minute pastry chef with no business acumen, Keys says. The sensual confectioner gets things done. She talks about luxury cakes and gourmet products.
She even chose top clients: actress Jessica Moore, aka Jess Hilarious; hip hop musician and rapper Roxanne Shanté; and Supa Cent, CEO of cosmetics brand The Crayon Case.
Currently, Keys cooks in the kitchen of his home. You can see her beautiful tiered cakes on her Instagram page.
In addition to the big cakes, the website has other items: cakes in a jar, cake mixes, cookies, baking classes, as well as branding and marketing for the company. She recommends trying the Sun Kissed Turtle Milk Chocolate Cookie, which is made with caramel, pecans, milk chocolate chips and sautéed butter. With the exception of the big cakes, she ships everything nationwide.
Keys also offers a variety of pastry classes. For a fee, which varies between $ 25 and $ 40 depending on the course, you can join their private Facebook group and learn techniques from their videos (45 minutes to 1.5 hours). She will soon have a link on her website to these courses. Keys also offers virtual one-on-one lessons for $ 175. Here she provides a list of ingredients the customer would buy and teaches the class through Zoom. Finally, she offers private lessons in person. Customers receive all the ingredients, baked cakes, lunch, baking tips, websites where Keys purchases their supplies, plus a question-and-answer session. The course lasts approximately three hours and costs $ 350.
Cake tastings are available locally. Those who don’t live in Arizona but have their wedding here will receive cake pots for in-home tasting. The cakes are made to order. Two to three weeks notice is required. Visit the website to place your order.
Right before saying goodbye, Keys also revealed an exciting secret to us. A brick and mortar bakery is under construction. Am here Instagram page for updates.