Bakeries, for all their buttery warmth and comfort, have a way of inserting themselves into some pretty polarized political territory.
Whether it's going to the Supreme Court to fight for the right to not make cakes for gay weddings, bakeries becoming hubs for social justice, or celebrities using sheet cake as an anti-neo-Nazism performance prop, cakes clearly have the power to change more than just your waistline. It's not surprising, then, in a post-Charlottesville America, that some bakeries are using cakes to express their very strong opinions and piss off their political adversaries.
The story of the "Kill Nazis" cake begins with another cake of Shotwell's. When one of her clients requested a cake with a "Resist Fascism" inscription, she obliged—before the Charlottesville protests—and mentioned on Instagram that, "It couldn't have come at a more perfect time. It's heartbreaking that hate on this scale still persists."
Then, after Charlottesville, as political discourse became more polarized, so too did Shotwell's orders.
Not long after, Shotwell says she received an order from another customer who was inspired by her "Resist Fascism" cake and wanted an even more strongly worded cake saying, "Kill Nazis."
"It wasn't my choice to make the cake, someone ordered it," Shotwell told MUNCHIES. "But I had no problem making it because I figured the only people I would be offending would be Nazis."
So, she constructed a black and red cake covered in fondant brass knuckles, spiked bats, and a chain link. "I have made other cakes in the past with unconventional themes, cakes with burning cop cars and genitalia and a 'Resist Fascism' cake just a few days before the 'Kill Nazis' cake."
But with such strong imagery, it wasn't long before her creation went viral after she posted a video of it to social media, which she suspects was spread online by "alt-right groups." Following a barrage of one-star reviews and negative comments to her Facebook page.
One-star reviews of Ashley Shotwell Cakes include non-cake related critiques like, "Communist pastries have no place in America. Gtfo and go back to what ever Berkeley snobhole you crawled out of" and "When Trump supporters are considered Nazis by brain dead people like Ashley and Antifa, she is provoking violence against them."
She promptly deleted the video from Facebook, though not from Instagram, where comments appear to be largely favorable.
"I heard this cake made you a target, well fuck those shit bag Nazis. I'm recommending you too [sic] everyone. How do I order a 'Kill Nazi' cake? Or maybe a 'Kill the KKK' cake with a little cone head hanging from a tree?" one feisty user wrote in the comments section, while @limpbizkitfan666 simply opted for a heart emoji.
Shotwell told SF Gate that, in hindsight, she would probably opt for "Punch Nazis" instead of "Kill Nazis" for the cake.
She says she also realized that Facebook may not have been the best platform on which to share her creation, telling MUNCHIES, "I only regret posting it on Facebook as opposed to my Instagram, because Facebook is where it was shared in a bunch of alt-right and anti-social justice warrior groups."
In fact, Shotwell claims she even started receiving death threats over the phone, though, for the most part, people are supportive. "Overall, I've gotten much more positive support and feedback than negative."