Jeff and Kathleen Taylor, owners of Sweet T’s Bakery on Jackson Avenue, have become known for making cakes for recruits when they come to Ole Miss for visits. The cakes are not ordinary cakes, but are artistically-made replicas of an Ole Miss football jersey tailored for the individual player.
Jeff Taylor makes the cakes himself each time the recruiting coaches let him know that a recruit is coming into town.
“Other schools have been making cookie cakes for the recruits for a while, but we wanted to make something more special, and we know the recruits really love them,” Taylor said.
Indeed, many recruits have tweeted pictures of their cakes, and espn.com even featured one of the cakes on their website after seeing it tweeted by one of the recruits.
Kathleen Taylor has been involved in making artistic cakes for 17 years. Jeff Taylor started to make them a few years ago when sculpted cakes became more popular and well known, as seen on TV shows like Ace of Cakes on the Food Network. Now, Jeff Taylor builds and crafts cakes that are enormous structures and edible pieces of artwork and, since last fall, has been making the jersey recruiting cakes for each recruit that comes in town.
“It is already an honor to give back and be part of what draws recruits to Ole Miss, but I find that making these cakes is a good creative outlet, and we love the reaction of the players through Twitter and other means,” Jeff Taylor said.
Kathleen Taylor described the process of how the orders are placed and what goes into crafting each cake for the recruits.
“The recruiting coaches generally give us a week’s notice, and we try to be there for them and make every effort we can to make the perfect cake for each individual,” she said.
Jeff Taylor has allegedly become so skilled at making the cakes that now he can typically finish one within an hour or two, and a few weekends ago, when many recruits were in town, he made sixteen individual cakes for the recruits.
Although these cakes have become somewhat of a signature item to Sweet T’s, they also make cakes for all kinds of different events at and outside of Ole Miss. Jeff Taylor made a large replica of the Egg Bowl trophy for the recent recruiting banquet that looks exactly like the trophy itself, and he has also made stadium replicas and other types of cakes for weddings and other events. In fact, the recruiting coaches first got the idea to give the jersey cakes to the recruits when one of the coaches saw the jersey cake featured as a groom’s cake at a wedding. Generally, it takes Jeff Taylor about eight to ten hours to make a large sculpted cake, and for even more special cakes like the stadium and Egg Bowl trophy, it takes about twelve to fifteen hours.
“The slogan of Sweet T’s is ‘Baking Memories,’ and that is really what we try to do,” Kathleen Taylor said. “We want the recruits to remember the experience of receiving one of our specialty cakes. Each cake is personalized and unique for each recruit.”
Nolon Blaylock, junior accountancy major and avid Ole Miss football fan, said he first saw the cakes tweeted by four star recruit DeMarkus Lodge. He was impressed with the authenticity and quality of the pastries.
“I think it is really special and generous that Sweet T’s is so involved in showing the recruits what they mean to the university,” he said.