MoNique Ivory of Gramma’s Hands Sweetery. Courtesy photo

By V.S. Santoni

NASHVILLE, TN — In 2008, a dry red velvet cake changed MoNique Ivory’s life. She decided against buying any more stale baked goods from stores that didn’t care about quality and opted to bake her own. Two years later, she began making cupcakes for her sons’ class events. It was then she acquired the loving sobriquet “Cupcake Lady,” but it wasn’t until 2013, after her husband requested cinnamon rolls for his birthday because he said it’s what his grandmother always made him, that she started her business in earnest. 

Then going by the name “Grace and Glory Sweet Treats,” Mrs. MoNique, as she likes to be called, changed her business’s name to “Gramma’s Hands” after a fateful conversation with her and her husband’s grandmothers. She also attributes inspiration to the Bill Withers song “Grandma’s Hands.” Mrs. MoNique’s personal favorite recipe is her signature cinnamon rolls, with a glaze her husband cooked up she calls “The Good-Good.” With this recipe and a few others, she marched into the Covid-19 outbreak, intent to grow her business and leave behind government work. 

The COVID-19 outbreak ruined many businesses, but Gramma’s Hands not only succeeded, it flourished. Mrs. MoNique credits her still-growing following to her store’s success. She says the community rallied around her business, and she happily brought them her Southern-style desserts. More accurately, they came to her. During the pandemic, customers drove to Mrs. MoNique’s house, where she brought them her desserts in sealed containers. They could then heat the rolls in their own ovens, assured they wouldn’t be exposed to the deadly virus. 

Mrs. Monique doesn’t plan on slowing her roll. She’s already published a recipe in American Cake Decorating magazine, and she intends to write a book of Southern-style dessert recipes to inspire future bakers. Among the many things in her busy itinerary for the future, she aims to improve her banana pudding recipe, now delving into making her own vanilla wafers; and she’s looking to buy another food truck, her first—affectionately referred to as Gigi—turns a year old on March 17. “You can’t stay stagnant in the food industry,” she says. “Trends are always changing.”

Nevertheless, despite endorsements of her bakery from celebrities like Queen Latifah and features in Daily News Journal, VIP magazine, and Nashville Voyager, Mrs. Monique remains a humble and generous person, eager to keep her small-town business right at home in Murfreesboro. She says, “I don’t think I’ll ever change being just Mrs. Monique.” Her attitude proves desserts aren’t the only sweet thing you’ll find at Gramma’s Hand’s Sweetery.  

For more info, you can contact Gramma’s Hands by phone at 615-691-3240 or email at You can visit her website at, and you can also follow them on Facebook @grandmashands1208 and on Instagram @grammas_hands.