Tiffany Lightfoot, a D.C. area native who has showcased her whimsical confectionary skills on Food Network, is close to opening a new custom cake shop in Eastern Market with a menu of build-your-own cupcakes. My Cake Theory is awaiting final permits from the city before it can start selling sugary sweets out of its first standalone storefront (325 Seventh Street SE).
DIY cupcakes ($3.75 each) in flavors like strawberry shake or vanilla include a filling like pineapple or caramel; one frosting like vanilla or chocolate buttercream; and up to two of 10 “frills,” or toppings like Oreo crumble and Snickers candies. A casual, walk-the-line model is similar to the ordering process at Chipotle, she says. Hours will be Wednesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“Whatever makes your tastebuds tingle,” she says. “The combinations are endless.”
Customers are encouraged to scribble their favorite flavor combos on a wall as suggestions for others. A cupcake of the month kicks off with a Champagne Toast flavor, with champagne buttercream and orange marmalade. “It gives you the feeling of a mimosa,” Lightfoot says.
My Cake Theory claims to be the only place in D.C. to serve New Orleans favorite PJ’s Coffee, brewed in dark, medium, and flavored roasts in partnership with a Black-owned PJ’s franchise in Bowie, Maryland.
The historic brick-lined building that formerly housed a kid’s retail store features a visible kitchen in the back, putting the whisking and cake decorating process on full display to pay tribute to a business that started out of Lightfoot’s house.
“When people came to my house to get a cake, they wanted to stand in the kitchen and talk and see how I did it,” she says, adding her dad helped do all construction and renovations that looped in lots of local vendors.
Inspired by famous cake artists like Duff Goldman from Ace of Cakes, the self-taught pastry chef started baking in 2008 and debuted My Cake Theory out of her home in 2019. She went on to win Food Network’s Holiday Wars and competed on Candy Land.
Lightfoot, a former Fashion Institute of Technology student, pulls from her design background to create over-the-top 3D cakes for all ages and occasions, themed around everything from Elmo to an orange Hermes gift box for a 60th birthday. Clients include Grammy-nominated rapper MC Lyte and corporate groups like Twitter.
Custom cakes will still be the brand’s bread and butter at My Cake Theory. Customers can also order grab-and-go cupcake packs, from single sweets to a dozen. To-go cakes in an array of flavors will also be baked and designed daily ($75 to $145).
Indoor and outdoor seating, along with a walk-up window and delivery, will also be available upon opening.
Lightfoot is a walking version of her colorful cake shop. Wearing a custom jean jacket spelling “My Cake Theory” on the back in rhinestones, she also regularly sports her branded mask, mint green sneakers, and rainbow nails.
“It’s conversation starters about my brand,” she says.