By Megan Oster, Copywriter at Imerman Angels
Starting and running a successful business is hardly a piece of cake. But Imerman Cake Company, a devoted supporter of Imerman Angels, has managed to do it with gusto since it launched in 2013. In fact, the organization recently reached a major milestone with an article in the May 2016 issue of Food Network Magazine.
It is a remarkable feat for a company that had its genesis in the kitchen of Jane Imerman, who co-founded and operates the business with her eldest son, Jeff Imerman. The undeniable appeal of Jane’s chocolate chip cake, a family favorite, gave Jeff the idea to sell the cakes.
The cakes are made with all natural, organic ingredients free of artificial preservatives, GMOs and pesticides. Jane’s father believed strongly in the importance of getting exercise and eating healthy, low-fat food. He instilled this conviction in Jane, leading her to cook meals for her family with the most natural, purest ingredients available.
And Jane was compelled to take this approach a step further after her youngest son and Imerman Angels founder, Jonny, survived two bouts of testicular cancer in his twenties. The harrowing experience compelled the family to learn more about organic foods, as well as how seriously diet can affect health. The knowledge they gained made a lasting impact.
“Cancer is so much more prevalent now, especially in young people. Jonny was very young when he was diagnosed. I feel that the modified foods and preservatives commonly used now have spurred some of the health issues that exist today. I think this practice has evolved with competitive practices that drive companies to commercially produce in large quantities. This has resulted in the use of more pesticides and growth hormones,” Jane says.
And it was the family’s own experience with changing over to an organic diet that revealed a gap in the food market.
“We discovered there were not many options for organic desserts, and we felt this might be an unmet need we could fill,” Jeff says.
Jane’s original recipe for the Chocolate Chip Imerman Cake was already comparatively healthy to most cakes, but she and Jeff were dedicated to improving it further. The duo spent a year perfecting both the chocolate chip recipe and a second recipe, for the Cinnamon Imerman Cake.
“We wanted to make the cakes as clean and pure as possible – which included cutting calories, fat, sodium and sugar – without sacrificing taste. We use all organic ingredients except for the baking soda and baking powder, making the cakes nearly 100 percent organic,” Jeff says.
Every cake made by Imerman Cake Company is baked with strict adherence to National Organic Program regulations and under the Organic Foods Production Act.
“Jonny’s cancer gave us a real wake-up call about what we put into our bodies. Organic food is devoid of manufactured ingredients, allowing us to consume food grown as nature intended it,” Jane says.
Jane and Jeff started off by simply selling the cakes at local farmers’ markets, but when a TV anchor featured the business on a segment, demand from grocery stores and corporations skyrocketed. And recently, Food Network Magazine came calling – literally. Editors learned the story of Imerman Cake Company and found it appealing, so they reached out to the Imermans for the piece.
“We are so grateful they wanted to share our story, because we are a small, local start-up company. To be featured in a gold standard magazine helps give us credibility, recognition and awareness. We have already seen an uptick in sales on our website; we have orders coming in from a number of different states across the country. We are now shipping cakes coast-to-coast. The story also helped us to further progress each of our three missions,” Jeff says.
Those three missions are giving people the most delicious cake made from pure organic ingredients, raising awareness for the organic food movement and raising awareness for Imerman Angels.
The entire family shares Jonny’s passion for Imerman Angels, the non-profit he founded to offer cancer fighters and caregivers one-on-one support from a Mentor Angel carefully matched with them. Criteria like cancer type, stage, patient age, lifestyle and preferences are all taken into account when making matches. Imerman Cake Company donates a portion of its sales to Imerman Angels, and the mother-son duo spreads awareness of the non-profit whenever it is able.
“Imerman Angels helps so many people. It provides a real service. It would have been very helpful for me to talk to another mother who had been through it when Jonny was fighting cancer,” Jane says.
Both Jane and Jeff feel passionate about the work that non-profits do and the need to support their initiatives.
“Every company should think about giving back and supporting non-profits. For us it is Imerman Angels, because we are so attached to it. We meet someone who expresses a need for the organization’s services, whether they are a cancer fighter themselves or know someone who is fighting it, at nearly all of the events in which we participate,” Jeff says.
Imerman cakes are available at grocery stores across Michigan and in the Chicago area, as well as online at http://www.imermancake.com/.
To take a closer look at Imerman Cake Company, check out this TV segment that a Detroit news station ran on the Food Network Magazine story: