Mum knows best
Cake can bring people together, as Charlotte Pearson discovers in Southsea.
When it comes to family there are two things you can guarantee will bring them all together – food and a crisis.
“Whenever something bad happened we would bake,” says Jane Endean of My Mum’s Cakes.
“So when my mum Rita died from breast cancer in 2004 I started to make a lot of cakes.
“People used to always say ‘she must be feeling down or stressed as she is baking’.”
“Now the cakes make us stressed,” laughs husband Dave.
After her mother passed away Jane discovered a secret recipe for her chocolate crunch cake and started to sell it at their convenience store in Worcester.
“We sold more than 15,000 individual slices from the shop in a year,” Jane reveals.
After moving down to Southsea in 2011 Jane and Dave officially set up My Mum’s Cakes.
“We love being near the sea,” Dave says. “Southsea is just a great place to be.”
“When I was a kid we used to come on holiday to Hayling Island,” Jane reveals. “I grew up in Reading so that was the closest beach.”
Since the move the business has blossomed.
Alongside the cakes, many of which are based on Rita’s own recipes, they now make pies, quiches, sausage rolls and steamed puddings.
“Most are gluten free, which we try to do as much as we can,” Dave explains.
“When it comes to taste there isn’t really any difference. Most people don’t realise this and when they find out they are surprised. We did it because a customer requested it.”
“It is the same with the pies,” Jane adds. “A customer asked us for a steak and kidney pie. After he tried that he requested a chicken pie and it grew from there.
“I have always made cakes but the pastry took a while to master.”
“Anything that goes wrong we eat for lunch,” Dave adds.
“Unfortunately not many go wrong though,” jokes Jane’s sister-in-law Jen.
But it seems it isn’t just customer requests which has helped their product line grow.
“I get bored easily,” Jane says. “I am always experimenting and finding new things to make.”
So where do they get their inspiration?
“A number of places,” Dave says. “Sometimes it is simply what is in the cupboard.
“Choquila we made with chocolate, chilli and tequila for the chilli fest and liked it so much we took out the chilli and left the rest.”
On my visit the kitchen is full of pies for an event that weekend and the smell of melted chocolate fills the air.
It is surprising, when you see how much they produce, that it is just the three of them behind the baking.
“I wouldn’t want it any other way – me, Dave and my sister in law Jen,” says Jane.
“Well, and Bartholomew,” she adds with a laugh. “He is an industrial kitchen mixer from a school, he is 44 years old. I used to just use my own kitchen aid but Bart is so much better.”
So what does Jane think her mum would make of it all?
“She would love all this,” Jane smiles. “She would be down here with us helping. And would love the family working together.
“When she was quite ill she still managed to make my brother’s wedding cake. She always loved to bake.”
With breast cancer touching so many people’s lives My Mum’s Cakes donates ten per cent of the profits to Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity.
“We feel that research into cancer is so important,” Jane explains. “My gran and mum had it, we have two daughters so feel research is needed.
“We get people with cancer come up to our stall at shows and buy our cakes or pies, a lot of them then come back the next year and say ‘hi, we are still here’.”
When it comes to cakes they say a moment on the lips, is a lifetime on the hips, but with My Mum’s Cakes you can indulge and know you are doing something good for charity.
Pictures supplied by My Mum’s Cakes
October 8, 2014 Food and Drink