When life gives you lemons, you can make lemonade--or hire a baker to make something a little sweeter. Enter Kat Thek of Troll Cakes, a NYC-based startup that sends internet trolls (a.k.a. people who intentionally litter the internet with offensive comments) a cake decorated with their mean words.
Thek, 30, started the business in April this year. Customers send in their troll comments, and then Thek bakes a cake decorated with the quote and mails it to the troll. Don't know where your internet bully lives? No problem. For an additional fee, she'll even track down the person's address. Thek classifies Troll Cakes as part bakery and part detective agency. "I love the idea of somebody opening it and thinking, 'Oh, boy. I'm a jerk. I'm going to eat this whole cake,'" she says, adding that while the cakes are edible, they are novelty items.
Prices range from $30 to $60, depending on the service. The most expensive option includes Thek's detective work (with the caveat that not all cases will be accepted), and the cheapest is the "Tiny Hands Special," a cake with the customer's preferred Trump tweet that gets sent to the White House. In total, Thek has sent five to Trump, but isn't sure what happens once they're received (the White House did not respond to Inc.'s request for comment).
"I do know that Trump loves chocolate cake, because he brought it up when asked about ordering the Syrian missile strike," Thek says, referencing the president's April anecdote about informing China's president of the strike as the two shared "the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake." "At least we know that we are sending him something that he likes," she adds.
The cakes are on the smaller side and could serve one or four on a "sad day." While Thek is open to cake requests, she typically bakes chocolate chip brownie cakes since the density is better for parcel deliveries. Something on the fluffier side might easily get destroyed in the shipping process. There are plans to include a diet option because it's "an especially offensive thing."
Thek runs Troll Cakes from her apartment and bakes on the weekends, but has a full-time job as a copywriter. She was inspired by the idea after spotting a rude comment on Dolly Parton's Facebook page that read, "Your momma be so disappointed in you." She was baffled by the troll's motivation to post such a comment, and found herself chuckling after imagining the words decorated on a cake. After all, desserts typically host messages like "Congratulations" or "Happy Birthday." And so, she did what any passionate baker would do: send it to the troll---whose full name and address were posted on Facebook.
Assuming that others would enjoy the experience just as much, Thek created pull-tab flyers for Troll Cakes and hung them on her route to work. It wasn't long before the orders started to roll in. So far, she's completed about three dozen requests. For the most part, those cakes seem to be silencing the trolls. Thek has yet to receive any angry letters in her P.O. box (although a number of trolls have posted unboxing shots on their social media accounts). One explanation may be that customers are mostly sending cakes to people they know. "The bulk of my orders are between friends," Thek says. "It's usually a troll you know," adding that sending a cake is like a poke in the ribs.
This isn't Thek's first business venture. She's launched several small side hustles from her apartment, like selling gel capsules filled with cat hair, two tampons joined by one string that was marketed to close friends, and inedible arrangements for those who don't want to send bouquets of fruit, and even offered fortunetelling services based on a person's used wax strips (read: as opposed to tea leaf reading).
Troll Cakes has been her most successful business to date. And while she enjoys her day job, Thek wouldn't be opposed to turning Troll Cakes into a full-time business--if it takes off. "There's something so petty about being mean--especially on the internet, where there's such an urge for the last word," she says. "And a Troll Cake is a pretty good last word."