Today’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.
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?
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.
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.
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!