This article is part of a series of articles published in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. An annual international health campaign, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is observed every October to increase awareness of the disease, and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.
Last November, Audrey Watson was invited to a holiday gathering. She recalled wanting to bring a dessert that varied from the traditional sweet potato pie. She decided to call her cousins in The Bahamas to get a recipe for rum cake.
“Everybody typically does sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving and I wanted to do something different,” she said. “I decided to do a rum cake, and it was a hit. I posted a picture of the rum cake on Facebook, and started getting messages from people asking where I got it. I made a couple more rum cakes for people, and from there, things took off.
“I also took one of my rum cakes to a Bridal Shower, and it was gone in three minutes. I knew I was onto something. I decided I would start my own rum cake business, The Rum Cake Kitchen.”
Less than a year later, business has been “sweet” for Watson.
“The rum cakes are very popular,” she said. “I travel to New York with my rum cakes quite a bit, and also sell them at various events. It’s rum cake with a twist. People love the moistness of the rum cakes. They also like the fact that the rum is not overpowering and that the cakes come in a variety of flavors. People like having options.”
Watson’s rum cakes flavors include Nutty 4U, a rum vanilla cake with walnuts, drizzled with rum vanilla glaze topped with walnuts; Chocolate Rumchata, rum triple chocolate cake drizzled with rum vanilla or chocolate icing; and Coco Cabana, rum vanilla cake drizzled with rum vanilla glaze, topped with sweet coconut. Other flavors include Rum Velvet, Rum Cherry Vanilla, Very Berry Strawberry, Orange Creamsicle, and Vanilla Caramel Kiss.
The Rum Kitchen also offers mini cupcakes in a variety of flavors and peach cobbler.
Watson says she is currently developing keto, vegan and gluten-free rum cakes.
“I didn’t think it would turn into all of this,” said Watson reflecting on how her business began. “But if you have a good product, people will support you. A chef is also going to launch my Peach Cobbler at a restaurant in Georgetown. Sometimes, I am speechless.
“I have always been a good cook, and even as a child I liked to bake cookies and cakes. My grandmother and all of my family in The Bahamas baked all the time. But I had never thought about doing it for a living. It came as quite a surprise.”
Watson, 51, is also a seven-year breast cancer survivor. She said her diagnosis also was surprising.
“I found out that I had breast cancer from my annual mammogram,” recalled Watson. “I was 44-years-old at the time. I didn’t have a lump in my breast, but the mammogram showed my breast was different than the year before. Breast cancer doesn’t run in my family. It came as such a shock. I didn’t believe it when they told me. I was going every year for my mammogram but kept rescheduling it because I was busy. I am glad I finally went.
Ursula V. Battle
“I tell women to make sure they get their annual mammogram, and if they feel something, go to the doctor to get it checked out. I am surprised by the number of people who feel a lump and ignore it. I ask them are they crazy. Time is of the essence because cancer spreads so quickly. I was very lucky. Mine was caught at stage one. It was treated with a lumpectomy and radiation.”
Watson, who says she regularly participates in breast cancer awareness events, is a native of Harlem, NY. She is the mother of three girls— a set of twin girls who are 30-years-of-age, and a 23-year-old daughter. She shared her “recipe” for success.
“Social media is very important for advertising and getting your ideas noticed,” she said. “People call me from New York, Texas and other places for rum cakes. You have to be consistent and engage your audience and respond back quickly. You can’t be lackadaisical because there is so much competition. Social media has taken my business to another level. It seems there are new opportunities every time I turn around.
“Never stop working towards your dreams. Stay positive and work hard. I also encourage women to make sure they get their annual mammograms.”
For more information about The Rum Cake Kitchen, visit: www.rumcakekitchen.com or call 410-530-5529