Have you ever wondered what flavour a hummingbird cake is? Well, here’s a lady who can create all of your favourite, traditional flavours and introduce you to a few new ones! In this interview Katy talks about her love of baking from a young age, and the magic ingredients of time and patience needed to grow the customer base of her business “Katy’s bakes”.
Katy, thanks for featuring on my blog. I’d like to start by asking about your connection to Somerset and when your love of baking began.
I have always lived in Somerset, I grew up in Wells and have lived in Stoke Sub Hambdon for nearly seven years now. I love Somerset, being in the countryside, the friendly people and being surrounded by amazing local food. When I was younger we would go round my nan and grampy’s house; they lived in Wells too but they were Italian so food was very important. I remember being in the kitchen watching my nan making all of these treats. Things like spaghetti cake which were sweet, these plaited sweet pastries and these amazing cold meat pies. They would then have all the family round and eat all these treats and more. Yum! This was just a special thing at Christmas and Easter.
Tell us about your scrummy cakes and bakes goods.
I have always enjoyed baking growing up. When I was at university I realised I had a passion for baking and it was what I wanted to do, even though my degree was in early years and education. Coming out of university I always worked in catering and even got the opportunity to work in a bakery and eventually found my job at Dorothy’s tearoom. Here was the start of my baking carer. I always wanted to have my own baking business and it all started a few years back now. I mostly baked for Dorothy’s at the start, I bake most of your traditional sponges, cupcakes, traybakes, gluten free cakes and scones. I am pretty much self-taught and always happy to try new things out. I love everything homemade and have slowly expanded to savoury bakes, chutneys and jams. I have also recently being doing more celebration cakes including rainbow cake, iced fruit cakes, sprinkle cakes and even a sausage dog cake.
Tell us about the challenges your overcame to start up your business.
One of the biggest challenges was getting customers. I was very lucky to have Dorothy’s tearoom that I baked most of my cakes for. It is always hard at the start, it just takes time and patience. Eventually I picked up customers and now I have lots of cake orders. Having the support from friends and family helps to keep you going and know you are doing well.
Which local places do you supply and how did you build up a relationship with them?
Firstly, as I have mentioned, Dorothy’s where I have worked for about 5 years. I pretty much started baking for the tearroms straight away. My boss (Zsofi) was always happy to try new bakes so was nice to try out new things, not forgetting my colleagues who were cake testers. This year I have supplied for two new places. First is Canopy in Crewkerene and before the lockdown I was supplying them with a few cakes a week which always included gluten free cakes. Not forgetting the cafe Priory in Stoke Sub Hamdon who have been amazing. Before they opened they were looking for a baker and I happened to be just down the road. They have been ordering plenty of cakes and they seem to be going down a treat with their customers.
How do you keep inspired with new ideas and recipes?
I am always looking at Pinterest and Instagram so there are always bakes keeping me inspired. I have lots of baking books as you could imagine so that is my main inspiration. I love using seasonal fruit so try and base a few of my bakes around that.
What are your best sellers and why?
That is a hard one, pretty much all the traditional ones (can I say that). I do have to say at the moment chocolate cake and lemon sponge/drizzle seems to be firm favourites. I have been doing quite a few wagon wheels at the moment so they seem very popular. Also a favourite from Dorothy’s would have to be the hummingbird cake which is banana, pineapple, cinnamon with vanilla cream cheese frosting. Also not forgetting the orange, rosewater and plum jam cake
Do you have any other creative passions?
My other interests include gardening which I’m really getting into at the moment with being at home all the time and my other interest includes sewing. I really enjoy sewing and have been slowing getting into it over the past few years, but unfortuanly I don’t have any time to start new projects. Bunting is probably the only thing I have started and also a table cloth.
Do you offer gluten free options?
Yes I have gluten free options, they include Moroccan orange which is dairy free too, pear, chocolate and cardamom, raspberry and pistachio, orange and polenta and also carrot cake. I also do gluten free scones. When I have time I would like to try some vegan bakes.
I am so curious about this one… I have to ask how you handle the mountains of washing up, it’s the bane of my life!
I am glad you have asked that. I totally agree, it is never ending. You think you have washed everything up and then the next minute there is loads more stacked up. I am sometimes lucky and my partner will help out at the end of the day.
How can we all keep updated – do you have Facebook, a website etc?
I am on facebook and instagram.
katysbakes12 on instagram
Will hopefully have a website soon which is exciting.
Thank you for your questions, I have enjoyed answering them!