Where Did CALL ME CAKE come from?
I’m chef Connell the owner and executive chef for Call Me Cake. This is a restaurant I had in Los Angeles for almost 30 years. The restaurant was located in North Hollywood and call Sweet Mo’s. We were a Soul Food restaurant with gourmet desserts. Like most southern cooking places, we had peach cobbler and sweet potato pie as desserts. Until one day on vacation in Miami I got a taste of a Red Velvet cake at someone’s home it was so good I just had to learn to make it.
I bought it back to LA (the recipe) made it gave it away to see if anyone other than me would love it. The reaction was an over the top yes. So, I made the cake for sale in the restaurant and boy was it selling. Then one day I got a catering order from a show on ABC called Gray’s Anatomy it was food for the cast and crew. I did the job and it went great. But then one day someone who came into the restaurant often calls and asked me, Connell is that your cake on Gray’s Anatomy and I said got me, I have no idea. And they said are you sure. Then two more calls asked the same question but one of them said well, did you take food there and I said yes and they said I know that that was your cake. I mean who looks at cakes on a tv shows. Shortly after that, I got a call from someone at ABC and they gave me a catering for 300 people. Hey who knew Lol! As the story goes, I was telling people in the restaurant on a day about what happens and there was a guy waiting for an order listening and he said I can tell you how it got on the show because I work for craft services on Gray’s.
He said they were doing a scene about two of the doctors getting married and they were looking at wedding cakes. They didn’t like the cakes in the scene and someone said there’s a great looking cake on the table in craft services so they went and got it and put it in the scene and that’s the cake the two doctors picked. The next cool thing that happens was, it was the end of the day at the restaurant we had three tables left. There was one piece of Red Velvet left and two of the tables wanted it. I said I’m sorry but there’s only one slice left so here’s what I will do. I’ll cut it in half and let you all get a taste. But one person at one of the tables said no we want the whole thing (joking) and we will bid for it. So, someone at the other table said hey they want the only ones in here who got money also (joking).
So, they started to bid for the cake which was only $2.50 and the bids got up to $18.50 we were all laughing our asses off. The guy sitting alone at the third table was laughing also but come to find out he worked for the Los Angeles Times and he wrote a story after that called Best Cake in The City. I didn’t know he had done that until he called the restaurant and said you might want to read the times you are in it. Well, the phone started ringing off the hook with people trying to buy the cake. It got so bad someone called and tried to reserve a slice. I mean who does that lol. Even a restaurant in Beverly Hills called to buy a slice and sent someone over to pick it up. I’m guessing they were going to try and make it and sell it for a lot more than me. Then sometime later I got a taste of something called gooey butter cake on vacation again and lost my mind with how good it was. So, I got the recipe, tried it at the restaurant and gave it away a lunchtime and I never saw so many high beams go on in the eyes of the guest. I know I had something. So I started to make it and sell it.
Then one day I tried to blend a Red Velvet and a gooey together and it came out perfect and boy was it a hit. So now I make them in 45 different versions. Oh, back to the story someone called channel 5’s Sunday morning show and said there’s this little soul food place in North Hollywood that is making these crazy good cakes. So, they call and asked about coming out and doing a piece on them. You know I said yes come on down. They came in to do it one afternoon and while they were filming there was an actor sitting in the restaurant eating and they went over to him and it was Jeremy Sisto from Law and Order and Six Feet Under, he gave such a great interview about the restaurant. How he loves sitting near the kitchen so he could hear us talk and work and how the food was so great. Well, that made the cake sells go through the roof. So, I thought it’s time I looked at this business of mine and rework it to lead with the cakes and Call Me Cake was born.