As the founder and owner of The Sweet Potato Pie Company, it may be surprising to learn that Catrice Prince-Claxton was not known as the baker in her family. That honor belonged to her grandmother Delores Prince, who routinely would bring out her recipe book and create desserts that delighted her family and friends.
Prince passed in 2003 and her recipe book went to Prince-Claxton, who tucked it away until two years later, when a feeling of nostalgia came over her and she took it down to try her hand at her grandmother’s sweet potato pie and pecan pie. It has proven to be a pivotal moment in her life. It was a hit among those that tasted it and launched her career path into a new direction.
“My whole family and friends were beating down my door to get some for Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Prince-Claxton said. “So, I found myself with a whole lot of orders.”
She was still working her full-time job, but when circumstances changed and she began spending more time caring for her granddaughter, the idea of making and selling the pies started to take shape.
Through lots of careful planning and hard work that idea has morphed into a brick-and-mortar retail location with a variety of pies, cakes, cookies and ice creams to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth cravings.
The Sweet Potato Pie Company is located at 2020 Coffee Road Suite C-4 in Modesto. The space may be small, but the taste is big in flavor, from the ever-popular sweet potato pie to new creations, like the ube (purple yam) cheesecake.
With her grandmother’s recipes as the base, Prince-Claxton has made some tweaks and additions to make the pies something unique.
“It’s funny, but I don’t actually remember eating her sweet potato pie,” Prince-Claxton said. “So, I didn’t have any pre-conceived ideas as to how it should taste. Mine are distinctly different. It’s the same recipe but the portions are different.”
And they have been finding favor in the community. Her mixed berry white chocolate cheesecake won the grand prize at the Merced Nut festival.
The sweet potato pies, both the minis and the large, use a graham cracker crust. Some of the treats that can be found in the shop include fruit tarts, carrot cakes, New York style cheesecakes, red velvet Bundt cakes, chocolate chip cookies, cranberry white chocolate cookies, sweet potato pie ice cream, peach cobbler ice cream, pecan pie sweet potato cheesecake and a variety of seasonal selections.
At the shop visitors will find mini pies, cake slices, cupcakes, cookies, and ice cream pints. Whole pies and cakes are typically made to order. Those wishing to order for Christmas need to have them in by Dec. 19. To order or learn more about the products, visit thesweetpotatopieco.com.