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Cake in a Jar

36965881_1717777551639334_2543590313998417920_nToday’s post is a little different for my mainly bookish blog but with the reopening of the newly refurbished Cake in a Jar, which I consider to be one of THE best snacks while reading I knew I had to help spread the word and the lovely owner Georgina has agreed to let me pepper her with questions about her business as we talk vegan cakes, running your own business and designing cakes.

Originally derived from the concept of army wives sending cakes in jars to their husbands while stationed overseas, in 2013 Georgina created Cake in a Jar and took that idea and refined it into the masterpiece that it is today. At Cake in a jar, all cakes are vegan-friendly, 100% plant-based and cruelty-free, not to mention everyone is baked fresh to order and can be delivered right to your door in secure but fully recyclable packaging. Cake in a jar has evolved over the years, I first discovered this wonderful company at London Film and Comic Con and make sure to pay them a visit if they’re at a convention I’m attending as it turns out, cakes in jars are a perfect food to easily eat and keep your energy up and eat cleanly at a con! In July 2018 Georgina decided to transition the business to entirely plant-based meant learning how to make her yummy cakes in a completely new way and as someone who has now tried Cake in a Jar before and after I can tell you this amazing woman is a cake magician because they taste even better, there are a peanut butter, oreo and chocolate flavour and if that isn’t the best thing ever I don’t know what is.

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How did the idea for Cake in a Jar come about?

It was a solution to me branching out nationwide, I was racking my brains trying to think of a way to ship cake in the post without compromising it. I didn’t want to just be limited to the locality of Croydon. I was already having a go at a little baking business of my own after I had my son. I began receiving messages from people all over the country asking for cakes that I just couldn’t get to them. It took a solid year of development but eventually, I created a finished product I was happy with.

What is your favourite thing about running your own business?

Flexibility!
I love being able to maintain a stable family life and run my own business at the same time. I still get to do the school run, pop to the shops and all sorts… as long as I plan properly!
I also really like being able to listen to whatever music I like while I work. My previous jobs were quite restrictive in that sense (call centre and retail) so I totally appreciate the beauty of listening to a new album, start to finish.

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What made you decide to take Cake in a Jar to conventions?

I was already at conventions selling cupcakes but noticed that it was becoming quite a saturated market. As my business developed and changed directions I decided to mirror that at conventions too, I just thought it was probably worth a try!
I was pretty nervous but much to my surprise, it was an even bigger success than the cupcakes were! I think the versatility of the cakes was a real selling point. People were buying them as gifts for their family and friends and just popping them into their bags without worrying about them getting mushed. Also the long shelf life, they lasted 10x better than cupcakes. I worked pretty hard on coming up with ‘punny’ names and designs for the stickers too. For example, my Lemon Burst cake is branded as ‘One Zing To Rule Them All’ with a LOTR inspired image of The Ring but with a lemon peel wrapping around itself instead. We also have a Zelda themed one called ‘Chocarina of Time .’
You get the idea xD

You’ve recently rebranded and are now creating new vegan-friendly cakes, what led you to make this decision and how have you found changing your recipes to include plant-based ingredients?

YES! IT’S SO EXCITING!
I had been Pescatarian and then Vegetarian a few years prior but I began seeing more vegan related posts on my personal Social Media feeds. I also discovered I had developed Lactose Intolerance in my late 20s (much to my dismay, I really loved drinking lattes at the time.) I was hearing a lot about this Veganuary stuff and thought that because I pretty much only needed to give up eggs to make the leap so, why not? Probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
When January had ended I had learned so much that I was just oblivious to before. Although I couldn’t consume dairy myself I also didn’t want to profit from the industry anymore, same goes for eggs too. I made a pretty drastic and purely emotion-led decision to close the site indefinitely until I could rebrand myself to a business that I was proud of.
It took me so much longer than I anticipated! Turns out Vegan baking is pretty challenging and I had to teach myself a whole new method of cookery once again. However, the rewards of my non-vegan family and friends eating the new and improved versions, saying that they ‘couldn’t tell the difference’ made it all worth it in an instant. 

What is your favourite cake to eat?

Funnily enough, I don’t actually have much of a sweet tooth anymore. My fave is probably the Lemon Burst as I love the balance of the citrusy zing against the rich decadent frosting ❤ Spiced cakes are also a fave of mine, carrot cake, ginger cake etc.

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Your cakes always look absolutely beautiful with all their layers and frosting, I especially loved the alternating layers and a tantalising splodge of peanut butter and the sprinkling of nuts on top of the Peanut Butter, Oreo and Chocolate cake. Do you have a design process? If so could you tell me a little about it? 

Haha actually… I’m sure probably no one has noticed but I do have a touch of OCD. This has manifested itself into my baking; I have a thing about the number five, the noise volume has to be in multiples of five, items have to be (if possible) grouped in this number too. When I shop for ingredients, I have to buy at least 5 of each item at least!
The next time you look at a cake you might notice there are always 5 dots of jam or curd or sauce or whatever it may be in each layer! I don’t know why I can’t explain it. It just makes me feel better 🙂

What is Cake in a Jar up to at the moment and can you tell us what we can expect in the coming year?

I’m working on a Botanical collection of cakes to celebrate the upcoming Spring Season! Today I did my first trial of a cake I’ve been thinking up:

Lemon Zest and Rosemary infused sponge with a Blackcurrant curd and Elderflower frosting. 

I also REALLY want to do something with Coriander as it’s my absolute favourite herb of all time. I know a lot of people don’t like it and I want to try and put a spin on it, maybe with the help of some mango and lime perhaps…
I’m planning to release 3 flavours (hopefully) by the end of the month that will be available until the end of May so be sure to keep up to date with me on Social Media to find out when the new collection goes live!

After meticulously perfecting recipes, the new website and packaging Cake in a Jar reopened this week so make sure to check out the website here with all the new flavours now for sale!

Events

Day Three YALC Recap

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YALC Day three recap is here! After the huge post from yesterday you’ll be pleased to know Sunday was a much quieter, much less hectic day. I got a lift up with some “non bookish” friends I’d persuaded to join me for LFCC which was fun, even if we did have to take some detours >.< For the most part though the journey was pretty good and not too stressful. I popped upstairs to YALC first for a flying visit as Harper were holding a raffle for unbound proofs of Shadow of the Fox, I waited with Kirsty and was surprised to find out I had actually won a copy! As today was pretty relaxed we had a good look around at the LFCC floors which were much less crowded and stressful then I remember them being last year which was great because I got to pay a visit to my favourite stand at any convention, the lovely people at Cake in a Jar! They’ve just changed their cake recipes so that they’re now plant-based and Vegan friendly, not to mention still delicious ❤ They did so well they sold out twice and I’m so glad I managed to grab a couple of their yummy cakes!

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After a wander around I decided to head up for the Vampire Talk with Paul Wesley and Daniel Giles, I hoped if I got there in good time I might get an okay seat but nearly had a heart attack when I saw the length of the line already. I started to forget getting a good seat and become worried I wouldn’t get one at all. The line was HUGE and spanned a whole side of the gallery. I’d seen the size of the talks area and I had no idea how they planned to fit us all in. My friend spoke to some of the Showmasters crew who told her that they don’t sell more tickets than seats but I didn’t find myself convinced. Eventually the line started to move very slowly and I was horrified that by the time I got to the front of the line the talk had ALREADY STARTED! I was SO angry that I’d paid for this talk and missed almost half of it already! I will say that thankfully what I did see of the talk was FANTASTIC, Paul and Daniel had such great chemistry together and it was a laugh a minute to the point where I’d almost forgotten my annoyance. I did manage to get a seat in the end but only through complete luck as there were a few single seats left but a lot of people were left standing. I really think Showmasters need to think this through in future and maybe get people in and seated much earlier to avoid this in future.

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Next up I rushed back up to the YALC floor for the Akemi Dawn Bowman signing, I had really wanted to make the talk she was in but with getting through the large crowd forming upstairs for some of the big photo ops I just didn’t make it in time. I did manage to find an excited/slightly nervous Charlotte and Lydia in the signing queue which was lovely because I was a bit nervous myself!

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If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know how I feel about Starfish and I wanted to try to tell Akemi how much her book meant to me. After mocking Charlotte a little for having actual feelings (love you really!) I ended up being the one getting a little bit teary! Meeting Akemi was absolutely lovely and I’m so excited for her new book Summer Bird Blue coming to the UK next year.

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With most of my to do a list for the weekend now over with I took the time to sit and relax with my friends for a bit, we took a picture in front of this years book wall later on we managed to see Jason Momoa walk past multiple times as well as quite a few other people which was pretty cool.

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I went for a bit of a last walk around YALC towards the end of the day and spotted Holly Jackson (author of A Good Girls Guide to Murder, who thanks to Charlotte I’ve come to know as Murder Lady >.<) sitting in the Book of Dust canoe. After speaking to her when Charlotte won a proof Saturday I became really interested in her book and she was pretty awesome to talk to, she’d signed a sampler for me already but I headed over to say hi and she told me she was hiding. Electronic Monkey have been doing a proof giveaway for her book where if you find Holly during certain times she’ll give you a numbered ticket and if you’re ticket matches a proof at their stand you win it! I’d tried Friday and Saturday but hadn’t thought about it on Sunday so when I realised what she meant I asked if it was okay to have a ticket. I’d seen the poor woman get pretty much mobbed on Saturday so didn’t want to seem like I’d just come over for that but seemed pretty pleased to give me one which was lovely. Once I had my ticket the flood gates seemed to open and the masses descended, I thanked her, waved and got out-of-the-way. A little later on once the crowd around the stand had died off I headed over and it turned out I had managed to win a copy of A Good Girls Guide to Murder After talking to Holly I had gotten SO excited for this book so I may have jumped up and down a little bit!

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My new friend from the Sunday YA chat who I’d been hanging out with a bit at YALC who was also excited for the book won one as well which was brilliant as now I could talk to her and Charlotte about the book which is always a bonus!

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Holly was super sweet and signed my book while we had a great chat and then posed for a picture with me and the book. Honestly I think this may have been the highlight of my day! A Good Girls Guide to Murder is next on my TBR and I’m SO EXCITED for it! Not to mention I love (although I’m sure will hate when I get to it) that the publishers ripped out the last few chapters of the book and left a note blaming the murderer at the back with an email we could contact for the last few chapters! I think it’s such a great idea and a really fun little quirk which makes it feel even more special, this was absolutely my favourite ARC I got over the YALC weekend.

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With that and my friends photo shoots done we decided to call it a day and head off. The journey back was a lot smoother and after all agreeing we were hungry and in dire need of chicken nuggets we headed to McDonalds for what was dubbed “Nugfest18”

Although there were definitely some issues over the weekend I had a great time and two weeks later I’m still enjoying reminiscing about the fantastic three days I had. Overall I think a lot of aspects were much better than they had been the year before and I hope they can continue to improve. I hope everyone else had a great time and feel free to drop me links to your YALC blogs in the comments because I’m loving looking back at it all. I’ll be back with my review of The Last Beginning by Lauren James Tuesday so I’ll talk to you all then!

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