To kick off the new website feature celebrating local, independent businesses, here we have the founder of Cakehole Liverpool, Clare.
Last week, we met at our local independent café, Naked Lunch Cafe, and over some lovely coffee I asked her some questions about her company and what it’s like to be a small business owner in Liverpool.
So Clare, tell me about Cakehole and how it all came about…
I have always enjoyed baking and when my friend opened Maguire’s Pizza Bar, I started working there. Over time I began making vegan cupcakes in the pizza oven for the restaurant and they sold well, so I began to make more. Through giving tasting samples to other companies, I began to supply my cupcakes elsewhere, and it went from there. Since having my baby it has been my sole job and is getting busier and busier!
Who do you bake for?
My husband helps to organise the Smithdown Road Festival, so whilst organising the first year, he went into Dafna’s Cheesecake factory and told them what I was doing. I then took in some samples, which they really enjoyed, and so I started baking cakes for them in-house. They were fantastic and really helped me to develop my baking skills further. I still sell my cupcakes there.
Are you vegan? If so, since when?
I had been vegetarian for many years, but whilst working in the pizza restaurant I did ‘Veganuary’, which no one really seemed to know about. It wasn’t yet a “thing”, and I really enjoyed it. The next year it was a lot more popular and so I have just eaten vegan since then. It wasn’t such a huge transition from meat-free eating, really.
In the last year or so, the Liverpool food scene has exploded and being vegan is now so easy. There is an ever-growing, very friendly and supportive vegan community, with so much choice in food compared to a few years ago.
Is there anything you miss in your diet since becoming vegan?
Not really. I understand why people may miss things, such as cheese. If you really want to substitute, there are lots of different ranges of vegan foods, but the best cheese substitute you can get is Tyne Chease. It is quite expensive, but pretty good.
Your cupcakes are delicious. Some people are put off by vegan sweets though because they often taste like they lack something. What is the secret to the best vegan bake?
I don’t ‘Veganise’ normal baking recipes with vegan ingredients. I have my own vegan cake mix that I use as a base, then I add to it whatever flavours or other bits I need for the certain bake.
You bake from home at the moment. How do you manage, with your ever-increasing work load?
It is becoming more of a challenge. We moved into a house with a decent sized kitchen, but it’s difficult to separate work from home life. There is always a pile of washing to do, or something requiring your attention that makes double the work. I am currently looking for a location to bake from that means I can leave the house, and keep my two lives divided.
What tips would you give to aspiring young bakers, or entrepreneurs?
I’m not sure! Just don’t give up. It takes a long time to get going, but just keep going.