By day, Lindsey Moore is a corporate lawyer, but outside the office she’s an ice cream cake maker extraordinaire and the founder of Icy Cakes, a Roanoke-based business selling miniature ice cream cakes.
Though Moore doesn’t have a formal background in food, she has always loved being in the kitchen and tinkering with recipes. “All things baking- and desserts-related have always been my ‘oh, I wish I could do this for a living’ type of thing,” Moore says.
A year and a half ago she found herself in the kitchen, really craving ice cream cake. But she didn’t want to buy an entire nine-inch cake and just eat one slice. “What if I made a tiny, miniature version?” she wondered.
She satisfied her craving, then kept making the single-serve frozen confections to share with friends and family. They proved an ideal test market with a ready supply of feedback and once she started hearing, “You should sell these!” Moore started taking the idea seriously. Seeing that there was a void in the marketplace for an everyday ice cream cake, she decided to launch a business of her own.
First, she spent a year on research and development to zero in on the ingredients and finetune recipe proportions. She started with a classic chocolate-and-vanilla ice cream cake, in which a chocolate-sandwich cookie crust gets layered with ice cream, chocolate crunchies, another layer of ice cream, homemade chocolate shell, and M&Ms. Next, she tried a dozen or so different cake molds in different shapes, including mini-Bundt, rectangle, and round, before landing on a round, cylindrical mold. She then worked on expanding the flavor line-up to include cookie dough, peanut butter cup, and mint chocolate chip, as well as seasonal riffs like peppermint, gingerbread, and salted caramel.
Then Moore realized that she needed to figure out how to sell the cakes. As a corporate lawyer, she’s used to helping other businesses navigate the ins and outs of entrepreneurship and being the answers person. But starting an ice cream cake business was a new thing altogether. She hired Aaron Deal founder of Deal & Associates Restaurant Consulting (DARC) in Roanoke, Virginia to help develop a retail strategy and take the cakes to market.
“He was extremely helpful, and we were glad he could work with us because we’re just a small start-up,” Moore says.
By leveraging existing relationships in the area, DARC provided contacts at one of Icy Cakes’ current retail partners, Crystal Spring Grocery in Roanoke. Ramping up for the summer season, Moore is working with DARC to expand its retail network.
Moore churns out about 200 cakes a week and with demand on the rise, DARC’s next task is to help secure a larger commercial kitchen space for Icy Cakes. Deal and his team are always on hand to answer questions for anything that pops up, as things invariably do with starting and growing a business. As for what she envisions that growth to look like, Moore says, “It’s a small business side hustle for now, but you never know where things can go.”
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