Image courtesy of Freeport Bakery
In August of 2016, Sacramento’s Freeport Bakery was asked to make a special cake by a customer. The request was for a transgender “Ken doll cake” that would feature the fictional toy counterpart to Barbie dolls in a tiara and a pink, puffy ball gown.

“Normally we do Barbie cakes. The customer brings in a Barbie, and then we make the cake to their specifications. A woman came into the bakery with a Ken doll and asked us to use that instead. We said ‘sure’ without even thinking that much about it,” says Marlene Goetzeler, who owns the bakery along with her husband Walter.

After posting a photo of the cake on social media and complimenting the specific cake baker’s work on it, the bakery began receiving angry replies. The cake had triggered many who don’t support transgender people. There were even people who called in to the bakery to complain.

“I didn’t think of the political repercussions. I wasn’t trying to make a stand,” Goetzeler says. “I just thought it was a cool cake. So I reposted it and said, ‘It would be nice to get some support for this,’ and it went viral.”

In response, Freeport Bakery received a wave of support. Thousands of people from around the world sent positive messages to them. The Goetzeler’s did interviews with national and international media outlets, and that gave the issue even more attention.

“People from all over started calling and asking if they could order these cakes, but since we don’t ship our cakes we decided to come up with a different idea instead,” Goetzeler says.

They designed a t-shirt that reads, ‘Home of the Ken Doll Cake. More Cake, Less Hate,’ and began selling them with the idea that they could raise money for a good cause. Proceeds from the sale of each shirt went to Sierra Forever Families, a local adoption agency that participates in efforts to find good homes for orphaned lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth.

Freeport Bakery continues to sell Ken Doll Cakes on a semi-regular basis, with an entire range of designs that have been used. Marlene Goetzeler reflects on the controversy and how it compelled her to show her support.

“It really did make me take a stand, just from some of the horrible letters I got from people and also the lovely letters from supporters. It was worth it,” she says.

Freeport Bakery celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, as it continues to provide high quality cakes to the surrounding communities. Products like its popular ‘Fruit Basket’ and ‘Lemon Cooler’ cakes have made it an award-winning business and kept customers coming back for more.