ne of the city’s foremost cake kings is showing that his sweet side doesn’t just pertain to his confectionary creations.
Cake Man Raven – born Raven Patrick De’Sean Dennis, III -- will give away thousands of dollars in scholarships and cash prizes at the 8th Annual Cake Man Raven Confectionary Family & Friends Appreciation Day, scheduled for Sunday, July 20 in front of his Fort Greene bakery shop at 708 Fulton Street.
“The appreciation day was generated as a way to capitalize on our anniversary as both a marketing tool and a way to say thank you to all of our patrons all at once,” said Dennis, known for his signature red velvet cake, and sought out for his edible jewels by the likes of Regis Philbin, Mary J. Blige, Lena Horne and Jay-Z.
Dennis said the appreciation day started with his confectionary sending out between 500-700 invitations, along with setting up a stage to give artists who don’t get exposure a bit of a spotlight.
“We started with marching bands like the Brooklyn Steppers, and this year we added the Soul Tigers. Over the years it’s generated a big day. There is the Mermaid Parade so we do a Cupcake Parade,” he said.
Other participants in the parade include stilt walkers, fancy cars, the Praise Dancers and the Crossfire Steel Band. Among the celebrities scheduled to show up are music stars Bungy Garland and Common.
The Cake Man will also give away $1,000 to the person who creates, designs and makes their own cupcake costume, as well as to the person who makes the best Red Velvet Cake man mascot costume.
Additionally, Dennis will give away $4,000 in scholarship money, some of it going to a student from Dennis’ hometown of Lynchburg, South Carolina.
That’s a long way from his first sale: two coconut pies for $5, sold to a teacher when he was 13.
Born in Harlem, Dennis was raised by his grandmother in the town, where he made his first sale to teacher Gloria Bowman Durant.
Durant, along with radio personalities Joan Hamburg (WOR), Wendy Williams (WBLS) and Shilia Scott (98.7 KISS FM), will also be honored when the Cake Man Raven Confectionary opens their new warehouse at 2914 Atlantic Avenue in East New York on Friday, July 18.
Dennis said he is blessed to have seen his business triple and quadruple quickly – so quickly that it’s sometimes hard to keep up with getting qualified employees, an issue that besets many businesses.
“Our customer service has always been an issue and a conversation. Often times the life and death of a business is customer service. That’s another reason we have these events to apologize for the things we can’t help, whether it’s the lack of response to a situation no matter how large or small the order,” said Dennis.
Dennis said he moved his business to Brooklyn because of the economic opportunities and the cultural diversity of the borough.
The Cake Man Raven Confectionary 8th Annual Family & Friends Appreciation Day is slated from noon until 10 p.m., Sunday, July 20 at 708 Fulton Street with performances starting at 4 p.m.
For more information, call 797-2598 or log onto www.cakema