“That’s what we do, we break bread. It’s in our culture, this has been passed down in my family.”
I was completely taken by Jen Cumberbatch when I first sat down to speak to her. The woman has such a delightful presence and is so poised when she speaks of the beginnings of Cumberbatch’s Sweet Tater Torte. Not only is she the founder of these delicious concoctions, she’s also an actress, mother of four, and a pastor.
Her grandfather was the oldest son in his family - with four other siblings to take care of. He dropped out of prep school to help his sister with her catering businesses in order to put the others through school. During his time catering, he passed down the recipe for a sweet potato torte to Jen’s aunts. Jen learned of the recipe from her Aunt Lou and it quickly became a staple during the holidays. The Cumberbatch’s moved to Austin after college and have been a staple in the community since then.
She was inspired by dinner at her mentoring pastor’s house when a Cajun woman presented her pie. With the inspiration of her great grandfather’s souffle and that pie, she tinkered away until she perfected her own recipe. She presented her tortes to the public almost thirty years ago, working out of the kitchen of Hyde Park Bar & Grill. Eventually, the tortes were put on the back burner until recently.
As of October of last year, Jen has brought them back, mainly for holidays and hoping to start shipping her famed family recipe. She believes that storytelling through food is a powerful medium to evoke higher thinking and most of all, a better human connection.