When I met Nickiesha Radway during my undergraduate years, I knew her as a soul-stirring poet, and a truly smart cookie. I’m now very grateful to also have learned about her skills with a spatula, having recently enjoyed her most famous confectionary: a carrot cake complete with a secret spice blend. She is an incredible woman, holding court as a lawyer and holding her own in the kitchen. Find out what fires Nicky up about baking below in our latest installment of Women Who Werk.
What made you want to leave practicing law to pursue becoming a baker and entrepreneur? Now that you’ve made your passion your business, how do you keep up?
I have not left the practice of law. I plan to practice law and be a baker. The truth is baking is one of my passions, it makes me happy. I know that is not a sexy answer, but that’s the long and short of it. I experiment with different recipes, and I embrace my creative expression through baking.
I keep my business up by doing tasting parties, where people get to sample treats on my menu. I also take custom orders and bake early in the morning around 5 am or late at night like 1 or 2am. I want to give the freshest, tastiest desserts to my customers.
Why did you choose to name your bakery Delish Treats Bakery? What is so special about baking that made you want to turn it into a career?
My bakery is called Delish Treats Bakery/Delish Treats Island Bakery because…baking is special to me as I learned it from my grand Aunt Perla; she inspired me. Before she passed away, I would call her whenever I was baking, and she would talk me through it. She had always been the baker in the family and made traditional Jamaican foods, like Jamaican black cake, [also known as] Christmas cake.
I chose to make baking a (dual) career because I truly believe being my own boss is empowering, and affords me freedom of expression.
Have you been able to use your legal expertise in your new business? In what ways have those skills been helpful? Is there anything from your legal skill set that doesn’t translate to your entrepreneurship?
My legal expertise have been somewhat helpful. It has been helpful in contracts to make baked goods for people. But it has not been helpful in being an entrepreneur, or accounting, nor has it been helpful with advertising my business. I am learning to advertise, manage my inventory, and be an entrepreneur by taking classes at NY Small Business Solutions.
What has been the best part of opening your new bakery in downtown Brooklyn? What part has been the most challenging? What’s next for your business?
The best part of opening my bakery is using my creativity to make delicious desserts. I want people to share all the desserts I make with someone they love. I’m all about making [special and unique offerings like] my spice blend for my cakes, pies, and puddings. I am excited about creating new recipes and experimenting with new flavors, [and making] everything from apple/beet cupcakes, to mixed berry pies, to peanut butter and chocolate squares!
The most challenging part of my business has been finding new customers and ensuring people pay me when they make custom orders for their events. Next, I will register my business with the State, engage in advertising, add new customers, and perfect my cake decorating skills.
What are your favorite three things to bake and why?
My favorite things to bake are Carrot cake and Jamaican sweet potato pudding. Carrot is the most time consuming cake to bake, but I love it. My older brother always requests carrot cake every Christmas. This cake is a layer of flavors, both powder and liquid, that makes for a flavorful “Crazy for carrots Carrot cake.” Sweet potato pudding is also my favorite to bake because it reminds me of Jamaica. I use my aunt Perla’s recipe. I would speak to her when I was baking it in law school. Sweet potato pudding reminds me of the warmth and love and joy of home. It reminds me that the joy I feel in baking is about sharing desserts with those you love and sharing stories with each other.
Nicky has definitely got our mouths watering here at MJFE. If you’re not hungry after reading about Delish Treats Island Bakery, check your pulse! Below is a delicious recipe for Nicky’s Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce; I guarantee it won’t last long!
You can catch Nicky’s baking adventures on Instagram at @Delishtreatsbakery, and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/delishtreatsbakery.