Surprise Cake: Here's What Happened After Shark Tank

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Season 12's mother-son duo Liz Charm and Jordan Long walked into "Shark Tank" with a fun twist on a sweet treat that no celebration is complete without. Cakes are the centerpiece of every celebration table and the entrepreneurs' business, Surprise Cake, was simple: They wanted to up the ante on the festivities by hiding gifts inside cakes that would pop out at the pull of a trigger, much to the surprise of the person cutting the cake.

The idea for a gadget that would hide surprises inside cakes came when Charm thought of surprising her 12-year-old daughter by hiding her birthday present — a brand new cellphone — inside her cake. Charm gave the phone a ring as her daughter went to blow out the candles, astonishing the entire room as the guests realized that the birthday present was hidden inside the cake.

Charm knew that she had come up with a brilliant idea but as she prepared to launch her surprise cakes commercially, the entrepreneur hit a roadblock that she called the Kinder Egg law. American food and safety regulations prohibited putting non-edible items inside edible confections, which was what the entire premise of Charm's business was. Not one to be deterred, however, Charm teamed up with her son to find a way around the regulation. They decided to design a product that would hide the surprises in a tube inside the cake stand rather than the actual cake, and so the popping mechanism for Surprise Cake was born.

What happened to Surprise Cake on Shark Tank?

Charm and Long hoped to secure a $200,000 investment from the Sharks in exchange for 8% equity and had several ideas for what they were going to do with the funding. At the time, Surprise Cake's key product was the patented popping cake stand, which customers could buy and place their own cakes and surprises on, but the entrepreneurs aimed to expand what they offered their clients.

Based on customer feedback, the duo wanted to start delivering entire cakes with surprises inside — an idea that was knocked down by Mark Cuban and Kevin O'Leary. While Cuban told the entrepreneurs that customers were not, in fact, always right, Mr. Wonderful forbade them from turning into a perishable cake delivery business due to the logistical issues he faced with Wicked Good Cupcakes.

To add to that, Surprise Cake was only going to make $50,000 in net profit that year, despite being on track to make $900,000 in revenue. The Sharks said that the entrepreneurs were chasing revenue rather than profit and that they were yet to figure out how to make money from their idea, leaving no one but Lori Greiner still on the table. Greiner seemed to be contemplating making an offer but a low-ball counter from Long made her the last Shark to back out. Ultimately, though the Sharks were delighted by the popping cake stands, Surprise Cake ended up walking out without a single offer on the table.

What happened to Surprise Cake after Shark Tank

Charm and Long may have left the Tank without a deal, but there's no doubt that the idea of surprises popping out of celebratory cakes did impress the Sharks, as well as viewers across the country. A USC Viterbi School of Engineering graduate, Long told his alma mater that considering Surprise Cake was one of only 100 companies selected to be on "Shark Tank" out of the 40,000 that apply each year, merely being chosen to appear on the show was something that the entrepreneurs would always be grateful for.

Long told the university that their "goal was to show America how fun Surprise Cake is, and we definitely feel that was accomplished." Plus, who can deny the nationwide publicity that "Shark Tank" offers and the platform that it provides to reach hundreds of thousands of potential customers? "As far as marketing," Long went on to add, "10 minutes of primetime television is every business's dream. It took a lot of hard work, time, and effort to get to air, but we did it and we are so grateful for the opportunity." The $200,000 investment and a Shark's backing were what the entrepreneurs were hoping for, but simply appearing on the show seems to have helped the business afterward. While there's no indication about whether Surprise Cake's profits increased due to the publicity from the show, the entrepreneurs anticipated exceeding $1 million in sales in 2020.

Surprise Cake is still in business

Surprise Cake may not have made its way to the list of successful deals to come out of "Shark Tank," but Charm and Long's company continues to be in business nevertheless and is thriving by the looks of it. At the time of its appearance on the show, Surprise Cake's popping cake stands were priced at $36.99 with another $7.99 for shipping, a price that has since been hiked to $59.99 plus shipping according to Surprise Cake's website.

The entrepreneurs have also introduced new gadgets, offering music box triggers with their cake stands that belt out tunes as the surprises pop out — as well as a cake carrier to make traveling with the cakes easier. Charm and Long's charming surprises are no longer limited to just cakes either, as the duo has also launched a two-in-one popping cupcake stand with three tiers that can hold 18 cupcakes and a hidden present.

The Sharks may not have considered Surprise Cake a profitable business, but the company certainly has stellar reviews. Charm and Long's popping cake stands have made their way to Today's list of six Insta-famous gadgets worth checking out, they've been featured on Good Morning America, and Unilad, and its musical cake stand has a 4.5 rating out of 5 from nearly a thousand reviews on Amazon.

What's next for Surprise Cake?

Charm and Long had a lot of ideas about where they wanted to take Surprise Cake: They wanted to add curated gift pods to their website and start selling entire cakes with hidden surprises inside as well. While the Sharks were not too convinced about either of those ideas, the entrepreneurs have gone ahead and launched new surprise cakes on their website.

Customers can choose from one of many sugar sprinkle-covered cakes, pick the surprise that they want inside (there's everything from confetti to candy there), pick the gift box that the cake comes wrapped in, and select any add-ons if they so prefer (teddy bears, personalized photographs, videos, gift cards, and the like). Considering the fact that the entrepreneurs have stuck to their guns despite Cuban and O'Leary's advice about delivering cakes, they may very well even launch the curated gift pods that they had planned on sometime in the future.

The mother-son duo also have a knack for giving their surprise cakes a fitting makeover depending on the seasons. There are fall-themed cakes, Valentine's Day-themed cupcake stands, limited-edition surprises for Halloween, and elves hidden inside cakes for Christmas. Fans will only have to hold on to see what delightful surprises the Surprise Cake no doubt has for the holiday seasons in the future.