Metro Weekly

A West Virginia Bakery Lets Haters Eat Their Words

Charleston’s Rock City Cake Co. puts bitter Pride attacks on sweet butter cookies to deliciously combat homophobia.

Selections from the Sick Freak Cookie Box - Photo: Rock City Cake Co.
Selections from the Sick Freak Cookie Box – Photo: Rock City Cake Co.

In this June Pride season, brimming with rainbows, glitter, and goodwill, the June 1 Facebook post from the Charleston, W.V., Rock City Cake Co. doesn’t seem at all out of place.

“Happy Pride Month everyone!” the post begins, accompanied by a rainbow retooling of the bakery’s logo. It’s a relatively benign post, though just a bit more affirming than anything the bakery had posted in past Pride seasons.

“We want to extend our hand to EVERYONE to always feel comfortable, safe, and welcome in our establishment. I’ve always said a slice of cake brings everyone to a seat at the table together, whether we agree on things or not.”

While the post continues in the same spirit of goodwill, that’s not how it was universally received. Bakery co-owner Morgan Morrison told Metro Weekly that she expected some measure of blowback, but it might have been the post calling the bakery owners “sick freaks” that broke this baker’s metaphoric back.

“It went right through me,” recalls Morrison, who owns the bakery with her partner, Cortney Marsh. “I tried to be nice to [the poster], but it got under my skin. I’ve never been one of those people who tries to argue with every Facebook comment, but it kind of sent me down a wormhole.”

It wasn’t long untill Morrison found an affirming way to dig herself out.

“Why don’t I just put it on a cookie?” she thought.

And that’s just what she did.

Through June, Rock City is offering the Sick Freak Cookie Box for $30, featuring an edible photocopy of that post, and several salty others, atop a dozen butter cookies, ringed with rainbows of nonpareil sprinkles.

On the order form, shoppers also have the option of simply making a donation, as the effort has become a fundraiser for three as-yet-unnamed “LGBTQ-allied” nonprofit organizations in Charleston.

As of June 11, Morrison says the bakery has received more than $2,000 in donations for the effort and sold more than 150 boxes of cookies, from which a portion of proceeds will also be added to the fundraising effort.

As the bakery offers an overnight shipping option, Morrison says she’s been fielding orders not only from across the country, but from as far away as Scotland.

“We’re shipping all over,” she says, assuring that the bakery is used to ramping up production from time to time, such as holidays. “I did spend 22 hours standing in the same spot icing cookies. But as of right now, we’re handling it pretty well.”

One of the cookies from the Sick Freak Cookie Box – Photo: Rock City Cake Co.

While the effort is putting a sweet spotlight on Rock City Cake Co., Morrison seems to take particular pride in how her cookie countermeasure has brought out the best, more so than the worst, from a community she obviously loves.

“The town we live in is amazing,” Morrison says. “Like anywhere, there’s going to be some hate. I think to the outside world, there’s a stereotype. People assume we’re a bunch of narrow-minded hillbillies, but we’ve got some of the most supportive people you’ll ever meet. Seeing how many people in our community supported us speaks volumes for West Virginia.”

With that same positive attitude, Morrison says the bakery’s response also illustrates there’s more good than bad in the world, and that her role in this shouldn’t be perceived as vengeful in any way.

“We weren’t trying to be mean or harsh or hateful,” says Morrison, “just bringing awareness to something that really sucks. And make people giggle. Sometimes all you can do is laugh about it and put it on a cookie.”

To order a box of Sick Freak cookies (or make a donation), visit the Rock City Cake Company.

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!