Kate and I had the pleasure of sitting down with the lovely Emily Jones from The Baker’s Dozen, just as she was about to embark on a very exciting new phase of her business. Emily decided, possibly being a glutton for punishment, that baking sweet treats for her individual and wholesale clients wasn’t enough, she wanted to be busier than ever! So, in February she launched the first ever Adelaide based cupcake subscription service.
Emily told us that she has always been a lover of food, especially desserts. It was one afternoon, while she was standing at her kitchen bench making a slice, that she had an epiphany. She decided to follow the advice of all those inspirational posters and work towards a career doing what she loved. After studying at a Certificate III in Retail Baking at TAFE for six months, Emily got a job in a patisserie but unfortunately her health suffered and after two years she moved into the finance industry, unsure how she could make her dream of becoming a baker a realty.
Ultimately Emily came to realise that her dream of baking also included working from home, something that she thought she could do successfully, and so with the support of her husband and her mum, she decided to make a go of it. In the early days, Emily ran a wholesale business supplying cakes and other sweet delights to pubs and cafes. Although the wholesale business is more lucrative in a financial sense, Emily loved being able to use her creativity and so she started taking client orders and attending markets where her cupcakes consistently sell out. It has taken a lot of hard work but at the start of this year Emily was able to let her biggest wholesale client go, to focus on the other aspects of her business.
One of the things that sets The Baker’s Dozen apart from other bakeries or home bakers, is not only Emily’s skill and attention to detail, but also her dedication to her clients. She recounted a story to Kate and I about a client who wanted something that was technically impossible (white buttercream), and who had been told by another baker that it could be done. Emily explained that buttercream will always be tinted yellow, due to the butter, and was prepared to lose the client rather than provide a product that didn’t live up to expectations. She is also adamant that she will never copy a design that a client brings in, preferring to use images as inspiration to create something totally unique.
As fellow South Australians would know, the state has recently been hit with some wild weather, and living in the Adelaide Hills, Emily did not escape the power outages that affected homes across the state. She did not let the blackout stop her from delivering every single order during those days, and it is a testament to the person she is, that she will do anything to ensure her clients are satisfied. Brides in particular will appreciate Emily’s tenacity, as she works hard to keep on top of all the latest trends in wedding cakes, and can also adapt her recipes to cater to people with food intolerances (although she stresses that it’s impossible to ensure a cake is 100% gluten or nut free when these ingredients are used so much in and around her appliances).
Speaking of her appliances, Emily has recently purpose built a commercial kitchen onto her home so she can produce up to 250 cupcakes and 40 large cakes in one day! She says it still takes a lot of organisation and practice to ensure that every batch is perfect but careful planning and the consistency of her recipes and methods keep everything running smoothly. Emily gets up at 5am and works up to 12 hours a day, proving that she definitely has a baker’s heart. All her cakes are made a day ahead and will stay fresh for a couple of days after delivery. Cupcakes themselves are shelf stable but anything with cream has to be refrigerated overnight but Emily stresses the importance of letting cakes come to room temperature before eating.
Emily is absolutely dedicated to providing the highest quality product she can, no matter the size of the order, from tiered wedding cakes, right through to a single cupcake purchased at a market. Her customers are obviously happy as her business is growing, mainly through word of mouth and she has plans to train an assistant and even sell from a mobile caravan and a shop front in the future. She is even considering allowing her husband to join the business, although probably not on the baking side.
One of her latest acquisitions is a delivery van, which brings us to her innovative new service, cupcakes by subscription. Once you have signed up (and you can cancel at any time) deliveries are scheduled for the 4th Friday in each month. Around mid-month you will receive an email asking for your preferences, you can choose the number of cupcakes you want (4, 6 or 12), and select a flavour for half of them. The other half will be the flavour of the month, usually a seasonal variety to compliment Easter or Christmas, for example. You can also request cupcakes that cater to intolerances, such as gluten or nut free. The prices range from $14 – $60 depending on your choices and delivery area. Delivery is available to all Adelaide metropolitan suburbs. For all the info, and to sign up, check out: http://www.thebakersdozenau.com/cupcake-monthly-delivery-subscription.html
I have to admit that I do get quite excited about cake but poor Kate, who has a gluten intolerance, often finds herself watching others devour delicious, gluten filled, sweet treats at the events we attend. After chatting with Emily about all things dessert, and her willingness to accommodate intolerances, we both left with one thing on our minds, sticky, gooey, delicious cake! Lucky for us, Emily’s wares are readily available, not only to custom order, but from a variety of markets around Adelaide. I was lucky enough to catch up with her at the Blackwood Craft Market where she gifted me a selection of cupcakes to photograph, and then of course taste test. I can report that they were incredible. Even my daughter, who is not a sweet-tooth at all, was hanging around offering to ‘help’ so she didn’t miss the eating that followed the photo shoot.
Emily was an absolute delight to chat with and both Kate and I cannot speak highly enough of her. If you are looking to order some cupcakes, or a larger cake, for an event, or if you are keen to sign up to the subscription service or visit her at a market, head over to her website or Facebook page. She has a comprehensive list of the markets she will be at, and baking workshops she runs, on her Facebook events page.
Make sure you tag #letspromotesa in any photos you share of Emily’s cakes on social media, as we would love to see all your indulgences.