Photos by Latika Lee
“Believe your gift will be a success.”
Rebekah Pierce is a playwright, author, teacher, entrepreneur, proud Air Force veteran, and baker. Her homemade sweets are baked with love. “My mother taught me how to make cookies and cakes from scratch when I was a little girl, and so I grew to love baking,” she says. It was around 2010 or 2011 when her talent for baking came in handy. One of her short plays was accepted into a festival in New York. But she needed to raise money for the actual production of the short play. She figured she could raise the money with a bake sale. She logged onto Facebook, created a page and launched a campaign selling pies, cookies, brownies, and cupcakes. It was a success. She had enough money to pay for cast and crew, transportation and accommodations. “It was then that I realized just how important this gift (baking) could be for me because it enabled me to work my other gifts of writing and producing,” she says.
Rebekah didn’t turn her culinary gift into a full-time business immediately. She didn’t think it was possible for her to start a baking business. It wasn’t until a local barbershop owner persistently encouraged her to do so. “He had been asking me for several years to do it,” she says. She turned her gift into a full-time business in 2019. She named her business “Maggie’s Cupcake Café” in honor of her friend Maggie Maynard who died of cancer several years ago. “I hired a graphic designer to create the logo, and voila, I had a legit home-based baking business,” she explains.
“My mother taught me how to make cookies and cakes from scratch when I was a little girl, and so I grew to love baking.”
Her business carries on the tradition of food as storytelling in the African American community. She has launched her baking business as a part of the parent company, RLP Productions. “We specialize in homemade and semi-homemade cookies, pies, cakes, cupcakes, scones, muffins, and more,” she says. Rebekah is working on alcohol-infused desserts called “divorce desserts.” She created it to help pay for her divorce. “I’d like to think that I was ‘thinking outside of the box,’” she says jokingly.
Rebekah hopes she can open a small family-style café in Richmond within the next year. All of her sweet treats will be there. “We’d love to open it in one of the historic neighborhoods like Church Hill, Jackson Ward, or Old Manchester/Blackwell,” she says. She would also like to partner with local grocery stores and start a catering service. “We’d love to provide dessert services for local and regional events,” she continues. “Particularly for veteran-focused events as I am a veteran and want to support my fellow brothers and sisters in arms.”
Rebekah has recently launched a cooking show. “We have brought in a local chef to be the host chef and we will showcase easy to prep and cook meals featuring a dessert paired with a cocktail,” she says. “The show is called Beyond the Plate RVA. It’s a chance to really showcase not only what I do, but to help give a platform to other aspiring chefs and bakers in the RVA community.” The show’s tagline is “Savory Meals & Saucy Stories.”