LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In the shell of a shut-down restaurant, Nicole Burks works alongside other bakers and chefs.
What was once Morel's Cafe on Baxter now hosts culinary entrepreneurs.
Burks has been there for about a year, working every single day. "Seven days a week, six to seven cheesecakes a day," she said.
And she wouldn't have it any other way.
Because two years ago, she was unfulfilled, working in a medical center, with just $100 in the bank Nicole came across a recipe -- for cheesecake.
She brought it to family and friends who asked her to make more. A business was born: Big Nita's Cheesecakes.
She shared her journey on Facebook. At first, there were a few hundred followers. In the last year, she garnered a community of more than fifteen thousand people. With each post, come new creativity and some messages of gratitude.
Burks said she feels like a family member, giving people who might be in a tough spot something sweet to look forward to.
"It's important for people to feel like they're not alone," she said. "Two years ago we were those people struggling and we struggled in silence because it's embarrassing to be like, 'I don't have the money to buy my kid a cake.' So we want people to feel comfortable to reach out to us and know it's okay to struggle and it's okay to need help."
Every week, she makes a cheesecake to give away for free.
That might be your best way to get one because Nicole and her fiancée Roberto are busy filling custom orders.
She said they're booked through January 2023, making about 50 cheesecakes a week.
Roberto added, "And that's just for our custom orders, pickups like this. That's not including cheesecakes and other things we make for our pop-up events."
Every pop-up so far has sold out and they're looking to pop into a brick-and-mortar storefront soon.
In the meantime, they're saving and waiting for a place that takes the cake.
You can learn more about Big Nita's Cheesecake on her Facebook page.