Sammy Cheezecake’s Samuel Smith Jr. is the best Atlanta baker you’ve never heard of

From his East Point storefront, he sells fluffy cakes and toothsome cheesecakes
Cheesecake with strawberries and whipped cream, red velvet cake, and vanilla cake with strawberries

Photograph by Josh Meister

With the towering six-foot-five frame of a basketball starter, Samuel Smith Jr. is an unlikely craftsman of delicate baked goods. Yet his fluffy cakes and toothsome cheesecakes have attracted clients like Georgia Power, Home Depot, Morehouse College, and Cox Communications. How did they find him? They didn’t. He found them.

Smith’s story begins at Atlanta’s Le Cordon Bleu, where he whipped up his first cheesecake, a smooth, airy, and near-savory revelation. The dessert stayed on his mind, and after graduating in 2005, he baked out of his parents’ home on the side while working at Hilton Atlanta Airport. With just a single hand mixer, one nine-inch cake pan, and a large bowl, he baked. For six years, Smith peddled cheesecakes and other cakes like red velvet and lemon out of the back of his truck, bringing sweets by the slice into banks, car dealerships, and barbershops. Eventually his parents had to step in to shop for ingredients, slice cake, and deliver. In 2011, Smith quit the Hilton to open Sammy Cheezecake, a storefront in East Point where $30 will fetch a fantastic eight-inch cake.

Down the road, Smith hopes to buy more commercial mixers and hire help. In the meantime, he’s happy to spend his hours in the kitchen, where the customers now come to him. 3875 Washington Road, East Point, 678-640-3006 

Illustration by James Taylor

Fun facts
Samuel Smith Jr. cranks out anywhere from forty to 120 cakes a week. Last year around Thanksgiving, he didn’t go home for five days. He delivers as well (for a fee).

This article originally appeared in our October 2014 issue under the headline “Cake Boss.”