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"I said I'd never bake again" says owner of new thriving cakery in Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 15:32 04 February 2019

Cakes and cookies at BMC Cakery on Woodbridge Road, Ipswich  Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Cakes and cookies at BMC Cakery on Woodbridge Road, Ipswich Picture: Ella Wilkinson

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Baker is back in business and locals are loving her American-style cakes and cookies.

There’s been so much doom and gloom on our high streets recently, so new openings are like little rays of sunshine – especially when their USP is cake!

BMC Cakery, opened just before Christmas on Woodbridge Road in Ipswich, is a shining example of how independents can thrive. In the short space of time she’s been open, owner Rachel Halls says the takeaway bakery has been very very busy, with cake lovers queuing out the door to get their mitts on her decadent American-style bakes.

It’s all good stuff, but running your own business is hard. Rachel herself admits candidly, having previously opened and closed a cake shop, she never thought she’d be where she is today.

Talking about her journey, she said: “I’ve always loved baking, from a young age. My family are all home bakers but my mum wouldn’t let me do it too often because I made a mess.

Rachel Louise Halls (owner) and Catrina Young at BMC Cakery Ipswich  Picture: Ella WilkinsonRachel Louise Halls (owner) and Catrina Young at BMC Cakery Ipswich Picture: Ella Wilkinson

“I had my son and was able to bake more and more. I worked for many years in catering in pubs and restaurants, and friends said ‘you’re really good at this [baking], why don’t you make it a business?’

“In 2013 I opened my first business, iCandy Cakery in Ipswich town centre. But I think I rushed into it and I needed a lot of staff to run it because it was so big.”

Rachel says this was a “massive learning curve” and a relationship breakdown meant she literally had to decide between having a roof over her head or saving her business in 2015.

“I had quite a bad time. I decided I was never going to bake again. I gave everything away. But I started dabbling again and as I was dieting started Bake My Cheat. Within a month I was fully booked and working from home.”

Delicious cakes at BMC Cakery in Ipswich  Picture: Ella WilkinsonDelicious cakes at BMC Cakery in Ipswich Picture: Ella Wilkinson

A stint managing the café at DW Fitness in the town followed, but baking and feeding health-conscious gym bunnies wasn’t the right fit.

“I went home again for a few months and started to look for another premises.”

Rachel was approached by Sarnivores, who were giving up their rental premises.

“I was really interested in this shop as it’s a nice residential area and there’s not a cake shop around here selling anything similar to me. So I started the ball rolling in August last year and opened on December 12.”

Business has been booming, says the cake lover, with queues on Saturdays and the counter often selling out.

Rachel uses the best ingredients she can for her delicacies, including fruit and vegetables from the greengrocer two doors down, Havensfield free range eggs and Belgian chocolate, saying: “I don’t bake cheap. You don’t get the same quality otherwise.”

The range includes artisan brownies, rocky road, brookies (a brownie crossed with a cookie), Jammy Dodger blondies, s’mores cookies, “anything chocolate you can think”.

At the end of the week is free-from Friday, where those avoiding dairy can order and pick-up vegan-friendly cakes and bakes.

And speciality cakes such as meringue towers, flip cakes and giant cookie bars can be cooked to order with notice.

That’s not to mention the big range of American snacks.

“A lot of people say they can find stuff in here they can’t get anywhere else. We have over 20 different varieties of chips and dips, cake mixes, condiments, cakes, sweets and sodas. And we can order things in too.”

BMC Cakery is open 11am to 5pm, Tuesday to Saturday at 769 Woodbridge Road.

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