The sweetness of Emily’s Heirloom Pound Cakes is in the story of their public debut.
The power of pound cake isn’t underestimated in April and Lacy McClung’s household.
When their teenage sons each had the opportunity to travel abroad as part of a Student Ambassador program in 2014, they turned to their family’s pound cake to raise the $14,000 needed to fund their trips.
“We prayed about how we could come up with the money. We just wanted to give them what we never had,” she says, and her husband suggested the cake. “This cake has always been a favorite amongst all of our friends, so the family decided we would sell heirloom pound cakes to support this cause.”
In the McClungs’ case, the “heirloom” part was the major selling point, and what helped them raise so much money in only nine months. April’s husband, Lacy, had been the designated pound cake maker of the family since he was a teenager.
“He would make this cake about four to five times a year,” she says. “Friends would call it ‘crack cake’ because it was so addictive.”
But if they were going to make enough cakes to sell before their sons’ trips, he knew he needed to teach April and others in the family how to make it, too.
“I’m an excellent cook, but I had never baked,” April says. That changed quickly. Now? “I probably make it better than him,” she says, laughing.
They marketed the cakes through social media and local farmers’ markets, supplementing the cake descriptions with information about their sons’ upcoming trips to let people know why they were trying to raise money. Their cake sales took off.
“Our 5-pound original pound cake sold for $40, and we sold out market after market,” April says. “We learned through what started as a successful fundraiser that not only do our friends think this is one of the best pound cakes they have ever tasted, many others feel the same.”
Cake sales more than covered Tre’s and Jay’s travel expenses. They also convinced April and Lacy to continue selling their popular pound cakes to the masses. They established their business as Emily’s Heirloom Pound Cakes in July 2014. The name is a nod to Lacy’s grandmother, Emily Magnolia McClung, whose recipe they tweaked for the business.
“That’s where the ‘heirloom’ comes from,” April says. “This pound cake is a southern classic, light and moist, that melts in your mouth,” April says. “We often have customers tell us our pound cake is nostalgic; it brings back precious memories of a simpler time. This fabulous cake represents love and everything good about family.”
The McClungs live in Pelham, but the production arm of Emily’s Heirloom Pound Cakes is located at the Chef’s Workshop in Hoover. The commercial kitchen also has a showroom area they utilize as a local pickup option for customers. They have about eight to 10 people each on the cooking and demonstration sides of the operation. April leads the business’s event and road show appearances, traveling all over the Southeast with pound cake slices, loaves and rounds. They receive orders through the website and Amazon, and ship cakes all over the country. They also make wedding cakes now.
“What really makes us unique is we have so many different varieties, and it never really started out that way,” April says. Original, Chocolate, Key Lime, Lemon Blueberry and Strawberry Lemonade are just a few of 15 flavors they make.
The McClungs hope to incorporate a food truck into the business someday. April calls the evolution of Emily’s Heirloom Pound Cakes from a fundraiser to a family business a “whirlwind of blessings.” She knows Lacy’s grandmother, the original pound cake connoisseur, would be pleased with their work.
“I’m sure she would be proud,” April says.
For more information about Emily’s Heirloom Pound Cakes, go to EmilysHeirloomPoundCakes.com, call (205) 937-7392 or email EmilysHPC@gmail.com. The Chef’s Workshop is located at 3439 Lorna Lane in Hoover.