Nadia Cakes, the Maple Grove and Woodbury cupcake shop, already broke the internet earlier this year when they made a cake that was supposed to look like a geode, and instead looked like a female body part.
Now, the bakery that’s also famous for its “unicorn poop” cupcakes is pushing the envelope again, just in time for the holidays. And a group of sex industry workers feels they went too far.
The “twerkey” depicts a plump Thanksgiving bird wearing a hot-pink thong. It sits on a platter of dollar bills. The cakes went on sale last Sunday and sold out in a day, said Nadia Cakes owner Abby Jimenez (winner of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars”).
“I was kind of surprised at how many people wanted this,” she said.
Jimenez was initially against the idea, which came from Nadia Cakes staffer Lucas Rorvic. That’s the same cake designer who stumbled upon the risqué geode design. Rorvic was inspired by a viral animation of a twerking turkey that’s been circulating on YouTube the last couple of years. He tried to convince Jimenez to let him make it.
“I was like, ‘No,’” she said. “It’s a little bit over the line. It’s a thong. I don’t think Grandma would appreciate this.”
But a few days ago, Jimenez got a text from Rorvic. It said: “Abby I did something.” Attached was the photo (above) of Rorvic’s creation. Jimenez thought it was hilarious.
She shared the photo on social media and the comments blew up with requests to order it. So her staff got to work filling walk-in refrigerators full of the twerkey cakes in all three locations (there’s a Nadia Cakes in California, too). While the company doesn’t share sales numbers, “we sold a lot,” Jimenez said.
The $100 twerkeys have been purchased for corporate events for local companies, Friendsgiving celebrations, “and also people just getting it because they thought their families would like it,” Jimenez said.
Most of the feedback was positive at first. Only one Instagram commenter complained that the imagery was degrading to women.
“To that, I’d respond, ‘What makes you think that this turkey is female?’” Jimenez joked. “We’re talking about a turkey here. People need to relax.”
But by Tuesday night, Jimenez’s Instagram posts were flooded with criticism from about two dozen people who work in the sex industry, she said. The complaints had to do with the imagery of a stripper as “dead meat served on a platter,” Jimenez explained.
As the backlash poured into her direct messages, and the critics “were attacking our customers in the comments and using profanity,” she decided to take the posts off social media.
“Obviously the cake was just a fun play on the viral dancing twerkey video that’s going around,” Jimenez said in an e-mail. “It wasn’t meant to demean or offend anyone in the industry."
On Wednesday afternoon, the bakery posted this statement on its Instagram account:
Since the Thanksgiving cakes sold out right away, Jimenez had been planning to sell a “festive” version for Christmas, complete with a customizable “tramp stamp.” She’s rethinking that.
“We’ll fill the orders we have,” she said. “But I think we’re going to move onto something without a G-string after this.”