Red Velvet Bakery to open in South Phoenix this September. Meet the owner and baker | Phoenix New Times

Openings & Closings

Meet the civil engineer opening her own cupcake bakery in South Phoenix

“There’s a lot of bad red velvet cake out there," Myesha Harris says. She plans to change that.
Myesha and Richard Harris plan to open Red Velvet Bakery in South Phoenix on Sept. 2, serving gourmet cupcakes, milkshakes and more.
Myesha and Richard Harris plan to open Red Velvet Bakery in South Phoenix on Sept. 2, serving gourmet cupcakes, milkshakes and more. Geri Koeppel
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Myesha Harris’s dream of serving baked goods from her own storefront will come to life when Red Velvet Bakery opens in a renovated 1940s-era house near Central Avenue and Baseline Road in South Phoenix on Sept. 2.

Though it’ll carry more than just red velvet cakes and cupcakes, the distinctive treats are how Harris made her name, starting with selling to friends and coworkers.

“I’ve convinced people to try [red velvet] who didn’t want to and they’ve changed their mind,” she says. “There’s a lot of bad red velvet cake out there. If it tastes like chocolate, it’s not a red velvet cake.”

Harris, a civil engineer in the transportation industry by day, will oversee baking, and her husband and business partner, Richard Harris, will run day-to-day operations. Harris learned the secret of superior red velvet cake as a child from her grandmother Thelma Guyton, who was so renowned for her baking skills that she often paid service people with her wares.

Later, when Harris would bake and take red velvet cake to work for parties or potlucks, she says, “It would get demolished. People would literally fight over this cake — the last piece — and get mad if somebody took too big of a piece.”

The key to good red velvet cake, Harris explains, is balancing the chocolate and vanilla so it has a unique flavor. She reveals that she uses buttermilk, and while she won’t give away all of her secrets, she published a recipe book in 2022 titled Red Velvet Recipes: Cakes and Cupcakes.
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Red Velvet Bakery plans to serve holiday-themed treats like these red, white and blue cupcakes that will be sold over Labor Day weekend.
Red Velvet Bakery
Edika Zarbroudi, a loyal customer, says Harris’s cupcakes are her favorite.

“I never understood the hype of the red velvet cake or cupcakes until I tried Myesha’s and then I understood it,” she says.

Other cupcakes Zarbroudi has tried “taste like regular cake but nothing special,” she notes. Harris’s are moist and fluffy, she says, adding, “I have never had better frosting on any other cupcake. It’s not too heavy. It’s light and the sweetness is just right.”

Harris started selling cupcakes through word of mouth roughly 12 years ago and about five years ago started baking in a commercial kitchen. She began selling treats on the first Saturday of every month at Danzeisen Dairy in Laveen and by special order.

“That’s when I started doing all these different flavors,” Harris says. “A friend said, ‘You can get a cupcake anywhere; what makes it so special?’ and I thought, ‘OK, I’ll show you.’ I came up with something every Saturday and I didn’t stop.’”

Harris developed dozens of crave-worthy flavors such as orange creamsicle, bubble gum, pecan praline, strawberry key lime and more.

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Dessert brunch cupcakes featuring pancakes and maple syrup, maple bacon, and chicken and waffles will be sold on Saturdays at Red Velvet Bakery.
Red Velvet Bakery
Also, she developed a line of jumbo “dessert brunch cupcakes” like Ms. Thelma’s Rooty Tooty, a blueberry cupcake with pancakes and blueberry syrup; the Old Fashion, a vanilla cupcake stacked with pancakes and maple syrup; and the chicken and waffles, with an actual fried chicken and waffle topper.

These creative dessert brunch cupcakes will be on the menu at Red Velvet Bakery for $7.99 only on Saturdays.

The rest of the week, Red Velvet Bakery will offer classic red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting along with vanilla and chocolate with buttercream frosting for $3.19 and various gourmet and seasonal flavors for $3.99. Those might include lemon in the summer or apple crumble in the fall, Harris says, along with timeless creations like the Cookie Monster with cookie dough, chocolate chips and chocolate drizzle on chocolate cake with buttercream frosting.

The shop also will sell cupcakes in glass jars to be eaten with a spoon, cookies, milkshakes and locally roasted coffee. Classic 12-ounce vanilla or chocolate milkshakes will be $5.99, but the 24-ounce “Drip Shakes,” which include a cupcake on top will be $14.99.

These messy shakes get their name because “when you bite into the cupcake it’s sort of dripping off the side; everything is flowing; you need a napkin," Richard Harris explains.

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Red Velvet Bakery owner Myesha Harris helps Sam Dillon during a cupcake decorating class on Aug. 4.
Red Velvet Bakery
Red Velvet Bakery will also take orders for custom and wholesale cupcakes and small cakes. Also, she started cupcake decorating classes for small groups in early August and will offer them regularly on evenings and weekends.

With housing and commercial development booming in South Phoenix and a light rail extension under construction, Harris figured the time was right for a brick-and-mortar operation. With an eye already on expansion, she hopes it’ll be the first of several locations throughout the Valley.

“I’ve lived on this side of town all of my life,” Harris says, “and we’ve never had anything like this, and I think it’s pretty special.”

She adds, “I want everyone to come and enjoy it — friends, neighbors. I love seeing smiles on people’s faces.”

Red Velvet Bakery

Opening Sept. 2 at 6828 S. Central Ave.
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