Publix Is Selling 'Hurri-Cakes' in Honor of Hurricane Dorian -- But Not Everyone is Laughing

Hurricane Dorian cakes
Twitter/ABC Action News

A popular Florida grocery chain is in some pretty hot water after the bakery department at select locations tried to make light of the oncoming -- and historic -- threat of Hurricane Dorian. Following the internet backlash, Publix ultimately apologized for selling the Hurricane Dorian cakes, but now, even that has sparked some backlash. In fact, some are saying the cakes were all in good fun, and argued that in times of tragedy, it can be nice to see stores try to put a smile on customers' faces.

  • Select Publix stores started making the weather-themed cakes over the weekend, presumably to lighten the mood before the oncoming storm.

    After all, the grocery store is the first place residents flock to before any kind of storm, and meteorologists have warned that Hurricane Dorian could be one of the worst hurricanes in history. 

    According to the TODAY Show, the colorful cakes were decorated with one simple yet direct message that every Florida resident wishes to say to Dorian: "Go Away."

    Jessica Gouin, a cake decorator at the Neptune Beach Publix location, told ABC Action News that it was actually her idea to make hurricane-themed desserts. 

    "I was with a coworker and said, 'I’m going to put a hurricane on a cake!'" she told the outlet. "They took off after I put them in our display case. I haven’t stopped making them yet."

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  • The store also sold hurricane-themed cookie cakes, for customers with a sweet tooth who prefer a little something different.

    Both the buttercream version and the cookie cake cost $10.99, whereas a chocolate fudge version goes for $11.99.

    Gouin said that she made the cakes to bring "people joy or a smile during these stressful times." But on Twitter, plenty of people were ... well, kind of floored by the whole thing.

    "Florida is somethin else," joked Twitter user @AyanaTheDIVA, who posted pictures of both cakes to her Twitter page. People who happened upon her tweet seemed to fluctuate between finding it funny and finding it infuriating.

  • Some Twitter users thought the cakes were straight-up offensive, considering how deadly the storm has already become.

    The storm, which reports will be moving toward Florida's east coast, Georgia, South Carolina, and southeast Virginia this week, has already pummeled the northwest Bahamas, killing five people.

    Over the weekend, the hurricane hit its peak, rising to a Category 5 storm with sustained winds reaching 110 mph. But as it slowly makes its way toward the United States, meteorologists say it has begun to weaken, and as of Tuesday it had been classified as a Category 2 storm.

    Still, armed with that knowledge, it's no wonder some people got offended by Gouin's sugary treat -- even if it was a "joke."

    "Living in Florida I’m not smiling :/," one person wrote on a Twitter thread about the subject.

    "Let’s see how much they enjoy it if it destroys their homes and/or places of business," another commenter added.

    And someone else shared that the cake, "Brings me back (Hurricane) María memories."

  • But not everyone was annoyed. In fact, some Floridians LOVED the cheeky desserts.

    "It's a way for Floridians (and other hurricane places) to relieve the stress and tension of THE WAIT," one commenter wrote. "Also, many people have 'Hurricane Parties' where friends and family hang out together in the storm so they don't worry about loved ones, and cake is good!"

    Another person agreed. 

    "When you realize a large amount of residents especially that grew up in Florida buy these novelties during our hurricanes because most of us have people that come stay in our homes, we do have parties," the commenter wrote. "We try to make the most of the situation instead of sitting in fear."

    "I love it!" added another woman. "Never lose your sense of humor! That's what gets us through life."

    In the end, Publix was quick to apologize to anyone who might be offended by the baked goods. 

    "Hi, thank you for your feedback on the cakes," a representative wrote on the public Twitter account. "It is never our goal to offend anyone with the products we offer and I apologize that we let you down. Individual locations did make some of the hurricane cakes you’ve seen and I will personally share your feedback on this cake design."

    Even so, people continue to stick up for the cakes on Twitter, with some even commenting on the Publix apology by telling the brand not to be sorry.

    "You brought more joy than anything. Some people look for excuses to be outraged,"one person wrote, "don't let them win."