A Longtime Tradition of Premium Desserts

Dessert Holdings
Written by Jessica Ferlaino

Dessert Holdings is North America’s premium dessert company. Comprising three iconic brands, The Original Cakerie®, Lawler’s Desserts® and Atlanta Cheesecake Company®, the company has a uniquely delicious dessert for every occasion.

Headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota and served by its facilities in Delta, British Columbia; London, Ontario; Humble, Texas; and Kennesaw, Georgia, Dessert Holdings is an umbrella organization of three brands that go beyond the product to offer premium dessert experiences. Although, as the senior vice president of product design and innovation, Susanne Ross, says, “The product is the prize.”

Senior Vice President of Marketing Susan Allen explains: “We’re not just selling a piece of cake. We’re not just selling a cheesecake. We are offering dessert solutions to our customers that are consumer-oriented and supported by our special sauce – insights, culinary expertise and innovation.” She describes the coming together of bright minds, industry talents and a passion for creating exceptional products throughout the company.

Through its brands, Dessert Holdings has elevated both the food service and retail markets by offering memorable eating experiences with its premium layer cakes, indulgent cheesecakes of many varieties, flavorful dessert bars that steal the show, and many new and innovative dessert concepts.

Culinary traditions
Dessert Holdings has proven itself an innovator on all levels: product, flavor and operational. As far as premium desserts go, the company embodies culinary traditions, boasts timeless recipes, and uses the best ingredients to create the gold standard in desserts across its three brands.

With over forty years of experience, The Original Cakerie® crafts irresistible chef-inspired desserts, premium layer-cakes and bars. Serving markets across North America, the Caribbean, and Asia, its story is unique and one of entrepreneurism, innovation, creativity and commitment to quality.

The Original Cakerie® has set the bar in terms of its signature layer cakes, called “Supersize cakes.” The attention to detail, the aesthetic consistency and symmetry, as well as the flavor and quality ingredients guarantees its products recognition across the markets it serves.

Lawler’s Desserts® offers that same commitment to quality, and brings gourmet desserts such as its signature colossal cheesecakes, including two new flavors (chocolate ganache and cinnamon swirl), as well as a delicious selection of cakes, pies and other specialty products to markets across North and South America.

Rounding out the three brands is Atlanta Cheesecake Company®, which is recognized for its premium prepackaged desserts. Its cheesecakes, variety sampler offers, and signature fusion desserts are taking the market by storm. As Allen notes, “It is our strong retail-ready arm for their premium cheesecakes and fusion desserts, primarily for in-store bakeries and frozen departments.”

Taste experience
Ross, the mastermind behind many of the recipes and flavors that The Original Cakerie® has brought to market for decades, explains, “You learn a few things after being in the business for forty years,” including a keen eye – or taste – for what works and what doesn’t.

One of the things Dessert Holdings has excelled at is its ability to scale up recipes, which is no easy feat, especially across three brands. This ability – what Ross aptly describes as “folding in” the different ingredients – has turned out to be a recipe for success. “We are leveraging off the knowledge and experience of each different location, combining, aligning, doing everything we can to keep things simple and consistent as possible,” says Ross.

She adds, “Whenever we can share the value of that with some of our other locations, when it comes to the design of products, we have the culinary support on the technical food science side, and work closely to get where we need to regarding design and commercialization of the product.”

This is true of the taste, safety and quality of all the company’s products. To secure the finest ingredients, it rigorously vets its suppliers and it operates in accordance with SQF, BRC and Kosher certifications to ensure food safety and consistency across its entire supply chain.

“We use only real ingredients and clean labels for our products, which is a huge point of difference. We don’t compromise on the quality of the ingredients; it’s the product that sells. We’ve always said, get the product into the customer’s mouth and a lot of the selling will happen then, because our customers can taste the difference,” said Ross.

Through this approach, Dessert Holdings aspires to be leaders not only in the eating experience, but in terms of the confidence it provides customers by offering its premium desserts that are consistent and the highest-quality available.

A trending market
Dessert Holdings inherently understands the needs of its customers in the Food service and Retail channels and keeps a careful eye on market trends. One such trend is gluten-free. Both The Original Cakerie® and Atlanta Cheesecake Company® are certified gluten-free facilities, a market segment that continues to experience double-digit growth.

Cookie-as-an-ingredient is another megatrend in the market that Dessert Holdings is taking full advantage of. As Allen explained, “Cookie dough as an ingredient has grown 49 percent on menus and it is a growing trend in retail,” so it has been a focus as of late. The Original Cakerie® Cookie Dough Supersize Layer Cake includes baked in-house chocolate-chip cookie dough chunks and really delivers on the flavor and nostalgia the market wants.

Likewise, Dessert Holdings has developed an ‘ooey-gooey’ platform, with heat-and-serve products for the home and restaurant markets including cobbler cakes that offer the fruit-forward flavor customers desire, while staying true to the traditional recipe, as well as cake/cheesecake fusions and other desserts that offer multisensory experiences that take dessert to the next level.

Even at a time when health is foremost and fit bodies and well-being are trending, dessert is still a growing market segment. As Allen notes, “What’s great is, consumers still seek permission to indulge, as we have seen the market for categories like cheesecake growing +14 percent in the retail bakery market.

Dessert Holdings is also innovating in terms of its product formats with its single-serve offerings. Allen explains, “We know that portion control is on trend and we are continuing to offer more items from a single serve perspective.” Suitable for sharing or enjoying solo, single serve is a ready way to reach even deeper into the market.

Doing it well
Dessert Holdings and its brands hear the call and are doing what they’ve always done so well, delivering fresh ingredients, delectable new flavors, and scratch-made desserts on a commercial scale.

Chocolate remains the number two flavor profile on menus and the company’s signature Tuxedo Truffle Mousse Cake is its signature item within this flavor category, while cheesecake continues to experience growth in popularity, as have bars and brownies, growing mid-single digits. Tiramisu is another leading flavor profile – growing +14.6 percent – that The Original Cakerie® has taken advantage of through its longstanding stunning Tiramisu Layer Cake.

The success of Dessert Holdings is not only being reflected in the growth of its product portfolio, but also in its physical footprint. Investments are being made into the expansion of its London, Ontario facility only ten years after it was built. The company is adding new production lines, including greater mixing and spiral freezing capabilities that will be supported by more than a hundred new employees at the high-speed manufacturing facility.

The facilities are modern and advanced, but the recipes still hold a sense of tradition, which is often reflected in the meals and celebrations where desserts play a part. The notion that its products are found on the dinner tables of some of life’s most memorable moments is not lost on Dessert Holdings and its people.

Putting smiles on faces
At the heart of its operations, “Dessert Holdings puts smiles on people’s faces,” by delivering enjoyment with every bite. For Ross, the product might be the prize, but the service and support offered to its customers is the icing on the cake.

As Dessert Holdings looks to the future, it plans to drive market growth by increasing the market impact of each of its brands.

For a taste of what Dessert Holdings has to offer through The Original Cakerie®, Lawler’s Desserts® and Atlanta Cheesecake Company® visit: www.dessertholdings.com.

You won’t be disappointed.



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