Success Stories

Coming soon to a store near you? This chef cooked up a crunchy Japanese cheesecake snack

Have you tried freeze-dried Japanese cheesecake yet? If not, you likely will soon, if Jenifer Shwartz has anything to say about it.

Freezcake is a new small business featuring a freeze-dried cheesecake snack. There are also options – New York freeze-dried cheesecake and also a keto option. Freezcake’s fournder is Shwartz, has been a pastry chef for more than 15 years.

For now Freezcake is only producing about 100 products a day – each product is the size of a slice of cheese cake, but freeze dried it is more like a snack. “It’s meant to be consumed one sitting. And it actually fills you up because it’s very high protein,” she said. Freezcake recently entered — and  won – the national Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream pitch competition.

That’s not all, Freezcake was also a runner-up in the 2022 Miami Herald Startup Pitch Competition’s FIU Track.

The untraditional road to a new company

The way this new company came about is as untraditional as this new snack product. Shwartz owns her own bakery for wholesale clients such as caterers and restaurants. As would be expected, the COVID-19 pandemic took a massive toll on her business. Shwartz initially used the time to develop a new offering to sell to her clients when business opened back up – Japanese cheesecake – and was about to roll that out in the summer of 2020 when she got severely sick with COVID. As she was whisked away to the ICU, she asked her bakery employee to freeze-dry the inventory of cheesecakes they had ready to launch to the public.

Surprise! The resulting freeze-dried cheesecake was delicious, she said. Japanese cheesecake is lighter and fluffier than its New York cousin – and when freeze dried it becomes super crunchy. What’s more, it is  low in calories and sugar, she said.

Once she recovered, Shwartz focused on her new company, Freezcake, which launched as a snack pack in its new packaging in December. It’s not her first product. She created line called Oh My Cookie Pie, big cookies stuffed with chocolate ganache or other flavors that restaurants warm up and sell with a scoop of ice cream. That product sells very well, and she intends to continue producing it. By the way, Shwartz, an FIU alumnus, is somewhat of a star. While in school she created a prize-winning recipe for a new spice for Badia. Holy Smoke is on the market and a portion of profits fund FIU scholarships.

What’s ahead for Freezcake?

For Freezcake, Shwartz is seeking an investment to take this from 3,500 bags some months to 50,000 bags a month, which will enable her to attract large clients and take the company to the next level. That involves acquiring a larger freeze dryer too.

She is meeting with investors and also considering loans. Freezcake already has a product with professional packaging. “All we really need is to plug in a few different pieces. And then we’ll be able to take the product nationally,” she says. Shwartz said she is excited to see Miami growing into a food hub. “My dream is to walk into a convenience store and Freezcakes are being sold near the register, a healthy impulse buy,” she said. “This is going to be the next big snack product.”

Her advice to other food entrepreneurs:  “Don’t give up in the face of adversity. Take on your challenges as  growth opportunity and learn from them.”

This is part of a series on GrowBiz on  the Miami Herald Startup Pitch Competition winners. Read about Boxie here, Nailstry here and all the winners in the Miami Herald here.

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