To place an online order, go to Toomey’s website https://caseyscakesllc.square.site/
Casey Toomey’s grandma, Carolyn, baked cakes — “beautiful cakes with royal icing flowers” — to celebrate family and friends. She never sold them. It was her gift to those she loved.
When Toomey was 7 years old, she watched Carolyn bake a cake decorated with little pink and blue booties for a friend’s baby shower. Her grandma looked away from the cake, and Toomey stretched out her arms to touch the booties.
“Don’t touch that,” Carolyn scolded.
Even though her grandma didn’t allow Toomey to assist with the baking, Toomey watched and learned. She later read books about baking and watched YouTube channels like Sugar Geek Show and How To Cake It.
Toomey started baking cakes for her son’s 1st birthday in 2010. After baking her son’s 1st birthday cake — a miniature three-tier cake — baking cakes became a regular hobby.
“Everybody always said my cakes looked really nice, but looking back at them, they were kind of rough,” said Toomey, Ivy Tech early childhood education graduate and owner of Casey’s Cakes.
In 2013, Toomey’s friend, Nicole, asked her to bake a baby shower cake, and word of mouth eventually launched her baking business. Toomey worked full-time at Head Start, a Muncie preschool, as a center aide for about four years while she baked cakes on the side.
Toomey said working and pursuing her hobby became overwhelming. While working at Head Start, being a part-time baker and raising her son, Toomey said she would sometimes get two to three orders a week. In January 2018, Toomey decided to quit her job at Head Start to become a full-time baker.
“It was a risk, but I had more enjoyment baking cakes than going to a job where I couldn't do whatever I wanted,” Toomey said. “I don’t really like people bossing me around.”
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Toomey was pregnant with her third son and baking full-time. Unlike most businesses who shut down due to COVID-19 concerns, Toomey ran Casey's Cakes from her home and said it took off as people were staying at home. She even ventured beyond cakes to prepare meals for people who didn’t want to go to restaurants.
“I would make homemade egg noodles, and people were at home ordering that,” Toomey said. “I remember, at one point, I had my porch just filled with everybody’s bags and names.”
Because of the added stress, Toomey said she gave birth to her son, Jonah, at 34 weeks, in May 2020.
“My mom would come over and she'd be like, ‘Come sit down. You can’t keep doing this.’ I’m like, ‘I have 50, 60 orders that I have to fill in,’” Toomey said. “It was really busy.”
Shantal Thompson, Head Start family services coordinator, met Toomey when they worked together at the preschool. Thompson said she first started buying items like house decorations and rice bags infused with oils from Toomey in 2016 but started regularly buying cakes for kids’ birthdays and special events in 2019.
At the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020, Toomey hosted an online cookie baking class, which Thompson and her family attended.
“Casey is so easy to work with,” Thompson said. “It isn't just about the flavor, but the time and energy she puts into making everything ‘just right.’”
In January 2021, Toomey decided to open a bakery named Casey’s Cakes. She asked her friend, Carrie Johnson, owner of Forever Baked — a bakery formerly known as Curry’s Sweets and Treats in Muncie — if she wanted to run the business with her. Johnson and Toomey both went to Southside High School but didn’t build a close relationship until they ran into each other selling desserts at Muncie farmers markets, Johnson said.
“We had been talking quite a bit because we were both pregnant and had three kids and always joked about opening a bakery together,” Johnson said. “She asked me and, without a doubt, I said yes. What made me want to run a business with her is just how hardworking she is and how much faith I had in us succeeding.”
After researching how to open a business in Muncie, Toomey met Ted Baker, CEO and director of the Muncie Innovation Connector. Baker, who has guided hundreds of entrepreneurs to success, empowered Toomey to “go for it”.
“We did a few Zoom calls, and he had me come in and he heard my story and was like, ‘I really think that you can do this,’” Toomey said.
When Toomey had a meeting to pitch the idea of her business with city officials, she said they didn’t think her business would be successful because they didn’t believe she would bring in enough money. Upset with the outcome, Toomey said, Baker figured out a way for Toomey to receive a small loan through Innovation Connector the following week.
“I went into maybe six or seven meetings there with [Baker], going back and forth,” Toomey said. “He helped me with so many spreadsheets and making phone calls and jumping through hoops.”
Casey’s Cakes opened its doors last October at 7300 N. Walnut St., directly behind a residential house. Although the business is not fully open yet, Toomey and Johnson bake at the location, and customers can pick up their online orders at the door.
Johnson and Toomey said they plan to add a few more pieces of structure to their bakery before they officially open to the public. Toomey said she looks forward to being steadier with her workload when the bakery officially opens sometime this spring.
“I cannot wait to see my customers' [from Forever Baked] faces again,” Johnson said. “Especially with COVID, it has definitely taken away the time spent with them.”
Contact Sumayyah Muhammad with comments at email@example.com or on Twitter @sumayyah0114.