Miss Peabody’s Southern Tea Cakes, a Southern desserts company based in Denver, Colorado, began as an act of love.
In November of 2017, Pamela Richard was let go from her job. Unsure of her next career move, inspiration struck while watching an episode of The Great British Baking Show. The show’s contestants were asked to recreate a baked good that reminded them of their childhood. After posing the challenge to herself, Richard realized that her grandmother’s tea cakes brought back fond memories of her summers when she would take the bus to and from her grandmother’s hometown in Simmesport, Louisiana – and her grandmother packing home-baked tea cakes in a shoebox for convenient snacking during the journey.
Richard began testing and tweaking those recipes in hopes of starting a business in baked goods, what she likes to call a combination of cake, cookie and biscuit all rolled into one buttery, tender, chewy bite of deliciousness. Friends and family critiqued the treats, and in April of 2018, Richard pitched her business idea to a small group of community investors. She was awarded funding to purchase equipment and supplies and to get licenses and insurance.
Starting the business became a homage to her ancestors and familial legacy. The name of the company itself, Miss Peabody’s, is a nickname Richard’s grandmother bestowed upon her — a nod to The Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show, since Richard has worn eyeglasses her whole life.
Prior to the pandemic, Richard sold her baked goods primarily at summer festivals and events. The pandemic ended up being a blessing in disguise as it forced Richard to change her business model to focus more on the business-to-business aspect of sales and start a delivery service in the metropolitan Denver area. “It has allowed me to dream bigger, and become more focused and intentional in my business growth,” she said.
Miss Peabody’s offers tea cakes in five flavors: lemon, hazelnut chocolate, candied yam, traditional and banana foster. In addition to tea cakes, Miss Peabody’s dessert repertoire also includes mini pies including sweet potato, sweet potato pecan and a seasonal peach cobbler made with Palisade Peaches from Palisade, Colorado. Many items are also available gluten-free.
In 2020, Miss Peabody’s incorporated DIY pie kits to the product line. Richard supplies the unbaked pie mix, crust and a pie pan to customers so they can bake her pies at home whenever they want. Realizing that even when the state fully reopens, social distancing will remain a part of how communities interact, she created another new offering — a monthly box of six assorted Southern desserts, one of which is always provided by another local female baker.
Richard explained the nostalgia behind her tea cakes. “Tea cakes have always been there. They are as Southern as sweet tea. They remind me of simpler times in Simmesport – running, playing, and just being a kid.” Through those words, the company hopes to inspire and highlight the importance of caring for others and spending time with family.
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