The story of “Dean’s Cake House” in Andalusia is an all-Alabama story.

The story of its founder, Miss Dean Jacobs, is an all-Alabama story.

Now, the city and state say goodbye to “Dean, The Cake Lady” who died Tuesday in her beloved hometown.

She lived long enough to see the 30th anniversary year of her business, founded in 1994.  She lived long enough to see a major article in Southern Living Magazine about her, her cakes, and her business – May 2024. Dean's Cake House Story (

Miss Dean had worked for 25 years in Andalusia’s Delchamps Grocery Store. That quarter-century paved the way for her cake business in two ways. One, she transitioned from the cash register to the deli/bakery. There, she was able to put her cake-baking abilities to work, resurrecting recipes and techniques she had learned from her grandmother and other now-departed family. Over the years at Delchamps, she became quite the cake baker.  Customers noticed.

Delchamps, a Mobile-Alabama-based grocery chain, was entering its declining years. As it was winding down, Miss Dean made a decision. Customers and friends had encouraged her to open her own cake bakery. She decided to do so.

The other way that her Dechamps career contributed was financial. Delchamps had an unusually good profit-sharing program for long-term employees. Miss Dean had acquired lots of Delchamps stock over her quarter-century of work. She sold that stock after 1994, and it provided the startup capital for her own bakery.

Fast forward past three moves to larger buildings and the recruitment of a staff eventually of 18 lady bakers, mostly senior citizens -- "The Cake Grandmothers."

Cakegrandmothers Alabama News
The Cake Grandmothers. Southern Living Magazine

If you’re looking for a successful corporate startup, “Dean’s Cake House” is off the beaten path.  Andalusia, Alabama, is not on an interstate highway. The present site of Dean's Cake House has little decoration on the outside, no shutters, no shrubs. It's plain to the sight – but not to the smell and the taste.

Deanscakehouse Alabama News
Southern Living Magazine

Opening the door to the cake house, your introduction is by warmth and smell.  Like opening your grandmother’s warm oven as she bakes a cake.

In the “parlor” of the cake house, you can buy fresh cakes, some still warm.

Further into the “kitchen,” you see up to 18 grandmothers and great-grandmothers. Little wonder they can bake cakes. They do things the old-fashioned way.

No automated machinery. Instead, bowls, spoons and spatulas for icing.

"People know a real person makes every cake. You can taste it," Miss Dean says. No one even considers contradicting her.

This old-fashioned, handmade operation manages to bake hundreds of cakes a day, shipping to grocery stores and markets throughout the Southeast, mostly in Alabama, nearby Florida and Mississippi.

Her staff of 18 mostly senior citizens divide up labor—one greases pans, one pours batter, one slips them into the ovens — and they never slow down.

The cakes are layer cakes, mostly seven layers, some ten. Chocolate, lemon, caramel and coconut.

Visitation for Miss Dean will be on Monday, July 1 at 9:30 a.m. at Carolina Baptist Church, 17745 Rockhole Bridge Road, Andalusia. Funeral service follows at 10:30.

Jim ‘Zig’ Zeigler’s beat is the colorful and positive about Alabama. He writes about Alabama people, places, events, groups and prominent deaths. He is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at

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