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Thousands of Bakers Are Raising Funds for Black Lives Matter

A virtual bake sale—organized by chefs Paola Velez, Willa Lou Pelini, and Rob Rubba—offers home cooks the tools to build an antiracist culture.

by:
June 18, 2020
Photo by Allison Buford

“We hope this is something we can come back to year after year because it shouldn’t just happen this year,” pastry chef Paola Velez said in an interview with Eater. “When we say, ‘Black lives matter,’ we shouldn’t just say it once. We should keep on shouting it from the rooftops until true, effective change happens. Until my life matters.”

Velez is the executive pastry chef of Kith and Kin (and also runs Doña Dona DC). With fellow D.C.-based pastry chefs Willa Lou Pelini and Rob Rubba—of Emelie's and Scrappy's Bagel Bar, respectively—they launched Bakers Against Racism on June 4. This week-long, virtual bake sale has rallied thousands—from home cooks to furloughed chefs—across the country, baking and (safely!) handing-off treats.

This Sunday, all participants will donate the majority (some are pledging all, others are matching two to one) of their proceeds to a social organization combating racism. These include, but are not limited to, Black Lives Matter, Black Visions Collective. The Okra Project, and Trans Women of Color Collective.

Depending on your location, you could still have until Saturday to support your local baker—and contribute to the building of an antiracist culture. And you get a treat! Check out the bakers below, and find more participants near you with #BakersAgainstRacism. And be sure to follow the organizers at @BakersAgainstRacism.


The organizers: @smallorchids, @badwolf_88 & @robrubba

Velez’s baked up a strawberry passion fruit buckle, to be sold alongside a piña colada cake by Chef DeAndra Bailey, and a chocolate-studded banana bread by Chef Nikkie Rodriguez. All the proceeds will be going to Black Lives Matter D.C..

Pelini is offering uber-luxe sundaes (think: milk chocolate and vanilla frozen custard topped with honey roasted peanuts, coconut-pandan ice cream gilded with toasted coconut, and marshmallow ice cream topped with hot fudge and graham dust). All of Pelini’s proceeds will be going to Mamato Village.

Rubba’s got breakfast covered—grab a loaf of zucchini bread, some chocolate chunk brioche, or a cherry scone. (Or all. Or 10 of each.) All of Rubba’s proceeds will be going to Black Lives Matter D.C., Common Good City Farm, and D.C. UrbanGreens.

Blondery

“Bite-size mail-order blondies” reads Auzerais Bellamy’s bio—short, sweet, and to the point. A classically trained pastry chef that baked at Bouchon, then Per Se, Daniel, and The French Laundry, Bellamy now focuses her efforts on a blondie-only bakery (“blondery,” get it). 50 percent of her sales this week will be going to Equal Justice Initiative.

Maisondepawz

Furry friends should get in on the action too. 100 percent of sales of Maison de Pawz’s limited-run dog treats will go towards The Loveland Foundation.

thebakerylady & @cloudykitchen

Chelsea Kravitz, a baker and chef based in Glen Head, N.Y., and Erin Clarkson, an Aussie baker in Brooklyn, have teamed up to offer a delightful array of goodies: sourdough cinnamon buns, sourdough strawberry rhubarb crumb buns, cardamom ginger sandwich cookies, and brown butter oat cookies to name a few. Proceeds from their joint sales will go to The Okra Project.

buttermilkbysam

This D.C.-based blogger is baking up a slew of treats from her site, Buttermilk by Sam. There are blueberry curd bars, milk bread babka rolls, and chunky, nutty, oaty cookies. 80 percent of the proceeds will be going to Black Mamas Matter Alliance.

josephinelosangeles

From L.A.-based, meringue-centric Josephine Bakery, find not only their signature voluminous fairytale-esque meringues, but over 200 pies baked by over 50 local chefs. All of the proceeds will go to the local Black Lives Matter chapter.

bakesbybrownsugar

A collection of Portland, Ore.-based bakers and bloggers—@oliveandartisan, @evakosmasflores, @stshasteen, @bakingthegoods, @hummingbirdhigh, @cosetteskitchen, and @chezlarae—will be selling their goodies (cake cups, gooey bars, cupcakes, strawberry cookies, farina cake, jam, ‘say her name’ bracelets!) at local high school Roosevelt High’s baseball field. All proceeds will be going towards Black Food Sovereignty Coalition.

zoekanan & dough_eung

Zoe Kanan and Dianna Daoheung are putting their very brilliant baking noggins together, and will be selling Jamaican beef patties and strawberry-glazed pound cakes (inspired by fellow activist baker Georgia Gilmore at the Black Seed Bagels Nolita location this Saturday. All proceeds will be going to The Black Feminist Project.

@coralannelee

Also, me! If you can’t pick up here in N.Y.C., I’m also doing (distanced!) drop-offs and shipping orders. On offer: coconutty mochi cake with red bean, buckwheat cake topped with a hojicha mousse, M&M cookies, sourdough loaves, and salty coffee-buttercream frosted brownies. Proceeds will be going to Black Visions Collective.

Yesterday, I asked Velez how she was feeling about it all—and where she hopes the bake sale will go after this week ends. “I feel like this is a beautiful way to help people and to get folks to use their baked goods as a form of protest,” she said.

“What makes me so happy is to hear and read the messages from participants once they’ve sold out,” she continued. “Home bakers feel validated. Before this, it was like, ‘I don’t know if I can participate’—but now they see how easy it is to raise funds for a good cause.”

She’s right: I’m thinking of now doing a virtual bake sale like this monthly, donating to a different organization each time—maybe you’ll join me?

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Coral Lee is an Associate Editor at Food52. Before this, she cooked food solely for photos. Before that, she cooked food solely for customers. And before that, she shot lasers at frescoes in Herculaneum and taught yoga. When she's not writing about or making food, she's thinking about it. Her Heritage Radio Network show, "Meant to be Eaten," explores cross-cultural exchange as afforded by food. You can follow her on Instagram @meanttobeeaten.

4 Comments

SophieL July 12, 2020
As soon as I heard about Bakers Against Racism, I signed up. I'm "just" a home baker and am being safer-at-home during the pandemic crisis. I chose to bake 10 varieties of biscotti and donate the bake sale proceeds to a Black-owned independent bookstore called Malik Books. Once I started asking friends for orders, the bake sale took off like a runaway train! I had 10 days of intense baking and made over 900 cookies. I am so proud of the effort and am so thankful I have such generous friends who supported me.
 
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Coral L. July 23, 2020
That's awesome, SophieL! Thanks for sharing :-)
 
Gena H. July 3, 2020
Your sourdough loaves were such a treat, Coral. Thanks for sharing about this experience. I love the idea of home bakers using their passion to support activism and community. I'm doubtful of my organization and baking skills, but definitely playing around with the idea of joining you!
 
Author Comment
Coral L. July 23, 2020
You're so sweet, Gena! Thanks for reading and for sharing bread butts with me!