‘A lifelong dream’: Owner of Keep Your Fork talks about starting her home bakery business

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Jennifer Dupree is the owner an at-home bakery business, Keep Your Fork. The business gets its customers through word-of-mouth and its Facebook page.

Tom Russo | Daily Reporter

By Elissa Maudlin

Shauna Roy wrote in an email that she’s had lots of cupcakes. Some were too sweet, some dry, some had “a ridiculous amount of icing” — Roy suspects to cover up the dryness.

Then she had a cupcake from Keep Your Fork.

“You know when you eat something that is so tasty that your soul leaves your body and your eyes roll to the back of your head,” she asked. “That was my experience when I devoured this cupcake.”

It was moist and flavorful. It had a strawberry in the middle with beautiful twists of icing in the proper amount.

It was perfect, she said.

When Jennifer Dupree, owner of Keep Your Fork, was young, she’d sit at a table with her mother and a bowl of icing they had made. They would practice decorating and, to start over, would scrape the icing off to try again. A lady at church showed how to decorate cakes at a ladies night, and Dupree got a crashcourse in cake decorating as a shift manager at the Fortville Dairy Queen when she was in high school.

Owning a bakery was “a lifelong dream,” Dupree said. She’d think of The Cake Bake Shop or places she’d visit on vacation. She’d see someone else’s dream come to life and wanted it for herself, but she never felt it was the right time — she was single, didn’t have a steady income and didn’t have health insurance, she said.

However, in January 2022, she was at a different place in her life and took the leap — Keep Your Fork, a bakery ran out of her home, was born.

“It’s a lifelong dream of mine that is finally playing out to me and [coming] to life,” Dupree said.

Working another job in healthcare management, she does most of her baking in the evenings and on the weekends, taking vacation days to stay home and do orders.

“I pretty much just come home and start my second job, or at least [that’s] what it feels like,” she said.

The name Keep Your Fork came from a woman’s Facebook post who had a fork tattooed on her wrist saying, “Keep your fork.” At family dinners, people would say “Keep your fork” because dessert was coming — the best part, Dupree said. For this woman, the best part would be after she died — when she’d go to heaven. Dupree said she loved that story and used the name for her business — with the best part meaning dessert.

Her first official customer was a nurse she worked with who wanted an Elmo birthday cake for her 2-year-old daughter’s birthday party. Dupree ended up doing cakes for that same family for years and rarely missed a birthday party when the nurse’s kids were little, she said.

Ordering is done through Facebook and word-of-mouth, and she mostly does cakes and cupcakes, with the occasional cookies and dipped pretzels.

However, there was one thing she had promised never to do — wedding cakes.

When her friend was getting married, the friend begged Dupree to make her wedding cake, saying she’d never have to do another wedding cake again.

Now, Dupree does several wedding cakes a year.

“I think it was that fear I had that I wouldn’t be able to successfully do one, and I did it … ” she said, referring to her overcoming the fear.

On Father’s Day, two customers picked up the cupcakes they ordered but contacted her shortly after that same night; they tasted so good that they needed more and were willing to come back the next day to pick them up.

Dupree said that is why she bakes — hearing people say her cupcakes are “the best [they’ve] ever had.”

“ … I know how much work and energy went into making that for them,” she said. “And for them to be happy and enjoy it, it’s just so rewarding.”

She averages 16-20 cakes per week and does a six-pack of the month, involving six designated flavors, and a cupcake sale one weekend of every month. Mondays and Tuesdays are prep days and she bakes one to two days in advance so the orders are cooled and ready to go. Sometimes she has to get up early to bake and there have been nights she gets very little sleep, adding “it’s very stressful.”

“That’s just the part of the dream coming true,” she said. “You’ve got to make sacrifices in order to get there in the end.”

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