2004-05-21 / Community

Baker-At-Heart Enjoys ‘Sweet’ Retirement

By Brian Magoolaghan

Baker-At-Heart Enjoys ‘Sweet’ Retirement

Retiree and entrepreneur Marcia Loyd, an Arverne resident who sells cakes through her home-based company Marcia’s Sweets, holds a tray of her Sugar Applesauce Walnut Cake squares.Retiree and entrepreneur Marcia Loyd, an Arverne resident who sells cakes through her home-based company Marcia’s Sweets, holds a tray of her Sugar Applesauce Walnut Cake squares.

By Brian Magoolaghan

A Far Rockaway retiree, who traded her business attire for an apron, has cooked up a "sweet" second career – right in the kitchen of her Arverne apartment.

Marcia Loyd (pronounced Mar-see-uh) the former New York Public Library employee behind Marcia’s Sweets, founded her baking business on a simple notion: "Everyone likes a cake or a cookie, but not everyone likes to bake," she says.

After 25 years of service to the NYPL Loyd retired in 2002 and, after satisfying her hunger for travel, focused on the part-time baking business she began a decade earlier.

"The time comes when you have to move on and do something else," she explained. During her working years Loyd enjoyed her reputation around the office as "someone who bakes" and shared her goods with family and acquaintances. Now she’s able to meet a greater demand.

Taste buds far and wide seem to be happy with her decision – Loyd has shipped cakes to the Virgin Islands, Arkansas, Washington D.C. and the Bronx. Her cakes have also graced palates closer to home. Loyd’s Sugar Applesauce Raisin, Double Chocolate Fudge, Banana Walnut and Double Layer Chocolate Raspberry cakes have been served in eateries in Manhattan, Harlem and Far Rockaway. She has even filled an order for the no doubt carb-conscious American School of Ballet at Lincoln Center.

Loyd, who says she learned to cook on her own, credits her ex-husband and her son, who "is not a picky eater" with helping her develop her talent. "My son loves sweets and so do I," she declared.

The magic takes place in Loyd’s cozy black and white checkered kitchen inside her fifth-floor apartment on Beach 57 Street. Her set-up is simple: two cake mixers, an oven, a window opened to the ocean breeze and a 15-inch television set pushed off in a corner. Her Sugar Applesauce Walnut Cake is tongue-dazzling, and the scent of it makes it hard to concentrate on anything else. A dusting of powdered sugar distinguishes the cake as a dessert while the texture of the walnuts makes it feel grown up.

Loyd’s cakes are her signature – and her baking and volunteerism goes hand in hand. She’s made new friends and met new customers volunteering her extra time.

A resident since 1975, and a lector at St. Gertrude’s Church, Loyd said her former 9 to 5 work schedule didn’t leave time for community involvement. For years she has volunteered as a telephone operator during the PBS fundraisers for Channel 13 and now relishes her ability to contribute locally.

At the recent groundbreaking for the new Addabbo Family Health Center, she handed out hardhats as a volunteer, and she said she enjoys contributing and networking so much that she may join the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce as well

Marcia’s Sweets offers more than 20 recipes ranging from Caribbean Black Cake, a recipe from the land of Loyd’s birth, to Traditional Carrot, Sour Cream and Brandy Sweet Potato Pie. The major holidays are her busiest times, but she bakes year round. A week’s notice on orders is preferred – Loyd savors the baking process and says she gets "monetary, spiritual and emotional benefits" from her retired life and business.

Marcia’s Sweets cakes are packaged in monogrammed boxes that Loyd orders from a catalog store, and each one comes with her business card, which reads "Marcia’s Sweets" in red script lettering.

"You’re going to be happy to take one of my cakes to Aunt Mable’s house," Loyd says proudly.

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