With a full-time job and family, a Cambridge woman is happy she took a risk to open her own baking business.
“I’m a one-woman show,” said Laura Anderton, owner of the online business Blue Whisk Bakes. “It’s been good and it’s been a good learning process.”
Blue Whisk Bakes offers custom cakes, cookies and desserts. Having parents who both worked in the food service industry, Anderton mentions it is ironic that she is making cakes now, as her mother was a cake decorator in England.
“I never got into this to make custom sugar cookies or cakes, and that’s what I do most of,” Anderton said.
“My initial plan was to do dessert trays, because I love doing the dessert side of things, but people want the custom decorated sugar cookies, because they are a novelty, and people see them and are like, ‘Oh my goodness, these are great!’ but it was never my plan to go down that path."
Anderton said she grew up baking with her nana and has always loved it. Originally from Oldham, England, Anderton also offers British baked goods, like eccles cakes, sticky toffee pudding, cherry bakewell tarts and scones.
“Scones were a big milestone for me, it was like my nemesis. I could not get my scone recipe to work and I worked my butt off to change recipes, perfect it,” said Anderton. “I just started offering scone boxes and offering lemon curd and clotted cream to go with it, and it’s been doing well.”
Recently, Blue Whisk Bakes also hit another milestone: weddings. Anderton said she made a four tier wedding cake for one couple and also did a dessert table for another wedding.
“It was my first dessert table that I did and I loved it, because that’s what I wanted to do," said Anderton, noting she is working on an order for another wedding in August.
“It’s pretty cool to get into the wedding market, because it’s a hard industry to get into, and when there’s so many other great bakers that do amazing wedding cakes, I’m not at their level, but to be considered as a wedding baker, it’s kind of cool.”
Despite studying culinary arts at George Brown College, Anderton said she never planned to open Blue Whisk Bakes. The idea to start a baking business came from her husband during her second maternity leave. Anderton adds the name Blue Whisk Bakes is inspired partially by her sons, and after giving birth to her daughter, she added a pink bow to the logo.
“The day before I gave birth, he bought me two baking books, and inside, he wrote ‘follow your dreams,’ so it was from him and my one-year-old at the time, and on my mat leave, it kind of just set off this baking," said Anderton.
"I liked baking, and I was doing desserts for my family, and it turned into a Facebook page that I started."
Today, Anderton does her baking out of an industrial kitchen located in her home in Cambridge. Anderton said it is an industrial kitchen and she worked with public health and the City of Cambridge to renovate and set up a former ensuite kitchen for her business. The space is inspected annually.
"It was fully approved (by public health) in December 2020. I got my permit in January (2021), but everything didn't get nailed down until then," Anderton said about the space and obtaining her official Cambridge business licence.
"It was such a headache, but I’m so glad we did it because now I feel comfortable posting my stuff and promoting my stuff and taking on new customers, because you never know what will happen."
Within Waterloo Region, Anderton remarks there is a baking community which has fostered a sense of community over competition.
“They’re just so nice and welcoming, and it’s funny that we offer similar products, but there’s a lot to go around. From doing this, I’ve never run into someone that doesn’t want to help," said Anderton.
While her custom orders don't appear to be slowing down anytime soon, Anderton hopes to get more orders for dessert trays in the future.
“I love making desserts, so anything from eclairs or mousse or anything, if you’re having a party instead of having just a cake or cupcakes, have a tray of desserts,” said Anderton, “It’s more work for me, but it’s more rewarding for me I think and people get more of a array for what I do.”
Anderton adds she would love to have a bakery and have a retail space, but said the current setup works for her and her family.
"It’s not like owning a retail space or paying rent. There’s not as much cost that comes with it, so there’s no anxiety where I’m like, ‘Oh, I need to complete this many orders or I’m not going to be able to pay my rent this month,’" said Anderton. "So right now, with having a family and working full-time, this is where my comfort level is at.”