In October 2016, a small, recently-opened storefront bakery called Fat Cupcake located on 72nd Avenue in southeast Portland became the subject of controversy after some customers began expressing online objections to one of the business’ confections: a “Mr. President” cupcake, described as an “Oreo Cookie baked inside white cake, cookies n’ cream buttercream.”
A reviewer on Yelp, for example, complained about “racism” and urged a boycott of the bakery:
Very troubling. They were serving a cupcake called the “Mr President” that had an Oreo cookie inside. When I tried to point out the racism implied, they claimed that “our current president loves Oreos.”.
They also had a cupcake with blue icing and cream filling called “The Intern”.
I won’t be doing business with them and please do not support racism in Portland or anywhere.
Very troubling. They were serving a cupcake called the ‘Mr. President’ that had an Oreo cookie inside. When I tried to point out the racism implied, they claimed that ‘our current president loves Oreos.’
Other Yelp reviewers lambasted such complaints and pointed out that the bakery’s owner is herself black:
The cupcake you’re referring to is a white cake based cup with white and Oreo sprinkles frosting. Are you saying a delicious cupcake being called “Mr. President” is some how a racist affront to blacks? I wonder if you think Portland’s surviving black population that has been mostly gentrified north feels like this is their most pressing social issue?
If you check the website of this place you’ll find two things that might challenge your thought to boycott this black-owned business in Portland:
1) Your complaint was enough for them to change the name to “The Professional”
2) The OWNER is black, and I would say that any black owned business popping up in any part of Portland is a victory against the race problem in the whitest city in the country. You know what begs heavier allegation for racist behavior than a cupcake? Boycotting one of the only black owned businesses in the FOPO neighborhood.
These people aren’t racist, they’re just trying to bring some good cupcakes to the neighborhood. Anyone who’s reading this, go give these people your business, it will be a pleasant experience for you I’m sure!
The Oregonian talked with the bakery’s owner, who had clearly already answered plenty of questions about the cupcake issue and said she had intended the name of the controversial confection to be an honorary one
When we called to ask Anjelica Hayes, the owner of Fat Cupcake, about the accusations of racism, she responded, “I have been asked this so many times.”
She said over the phone, unequivocally, that she isn’t racist.
For one thing, she said, “I myself am black.”
Hayes said she is a born and raised Portlander. She said she is very involved in the community and has even started something she called, “our ‘Piece of Cake’ movement.”
“We have driven around Portland to give away cakes to the homeless,” she said, “and donated thousands of cupcakes to the community.”
Hayes told us that the name for the cupcake came because she wanted to call it something to honor what a great cupcake it is.
“What sounds like it would be really fancy?” she said. “We thought of the presidential office.”
“I just thought it was an honorary name,” she said. “I thought I’d be honored if someone named a cupcake after me.”
She said that at one point someone told her that President Barack Obama’s favorite cookie was the Oreo. “So we thought that was a cool coincidence,” she said.
Hayes also denied that the “cupcake with blue icing and cream filling called ‘The Intern'” — which some customers might interpret as a reference to Monica Lewinsky’s infamous semen-stained blue dress — was intended as a “slam” on the former White House intern.
Hayes said that the “Mr. President” cupcake (which has been renamed on the bakery’s menu as “The Professional” for now), is one their most popular items.