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Day in the life of a Sevenoaks cake maker

PUBLISHED: 10:44 16 January 2016 | UPDATED: 10:44 16 January 2016

Danielle at work

Danielle at work

Manu Palomeque 07977074797

Danielle Rumbelow on how she fell in love with cake making and opened her own shop in Sevenoaks

Name: Danielle Rumbelow

Job title: chief baker and owner of Eat’n’mess

Where: Sevenoaks

Tell us a bit about you

I grew up in Otford, where I have lived for 26 years. After leaving school I did a foundation course at the London College of Fashion, then took a break for a year and got a job at a fashion store Reiss where I moved up the ranks in management while completing my degree in Fashion the 
following year at UCA Epsom.

A few years later I decided I wanted to go travelling, as I had gone straight into work after school. I worked and travelled in Australia for just over six months, where I fell in love with a programme called Cake Boss from America. I’ve always loved baking but just as a hobby, however, towards the end of my travels I decided that when I got home I was going to pursue it as a career.

How did it all start?

Once back in the UK I got baking and testing out my new Kitchen Aid mixer and got a spot at Greenwich Market in London. It was here I realised the real demand for gluten-free cakes. Over the months my whole market stall was pretty much gluten free. After a year I started at Broadway Market in Hackney, where I gained myself an army of regular customers.

I’d been working out of my mum’s kitchen, but then moved into a small studio flat with my other half and moved all my equipment in there. I baked everything in one small oven with hardly any surface space to put the cooked cakes on and only one small cupboard for our glasses and plates and a bit of food.

I used to come home each night from the market and bake for the next day. My other half had to stay on the bed and not move from there while he watched 
football in silence, as the mixer drowned all sound out. After about six months I had to move out. It was the summer and our flat is upstairs and the temperature reached 40 degrees in my kitchen at its peak.

I moved into a new kitchen in December 2012 just in time for Christmas, but kept expanding and the kitchen got too small for me and my gas oven couldn’t handle it.

Tell us about the shop

As I got busier and busier I decided to look at potential sites for a shop and realised that Sevenoaks was lacking a good coffee/cake shop. It took a year to find the site, but I eventually found the perfect premises in February 2015, signed the contract in July and opened my doors in September.

I also had to raise some further funds to afford the fit out of the shop. I turned to a crowdfunding avenue called Kickstarter, where you put together a promotion video, people donate money and in return get different rewards based on what they donated. I managed to raise my target goal, which was amazing! The best bit was that most donations were from people I didn’t even know, which was so inspiring.

What makes it different?

I specialise in gluten free and only sell one cake that isn’t. I realised the demand when I was at a markets and thought if I can make it taste the same as normal cakes, I’m onto a winner. I am gluten intolerant and many friends and customers are coeliac.

How do you promote?

I promote my business through the use of social media and also use local network sites like the Sevenoaks Mums Network.

I still do Broadway Market in Hackney every Saturday and Chislehurst Farmers’ Market every third Sunday of the month. The markets are how I started and I have so many regular loyal customers who come back week after week. I wouldn’t want to disappoint them, and I also just love the atmosphere at the markets.

Do you have any staff?

I employ one member of staff, Beth, she’s an amazing baker who helps me with all aspects of the shop. I am looking to employ a few more part-time staff this year.

Describe a typical day

I get to the shop for around 7am to pick up my wholesale orders and take then off for delivery, I then get back to the shop for around 8am where I prep the coffee machine for the day and get all the cakes ready. The mornings are usually quite busy with coffee and breakfast to take away. Once Beth comes in we start baking for the day and bake all day until we start to close the kitchen down about 4pm. On a Thursday and Friday we are usually manic with bespoke celebration cakes and cupcakes, so we are usually at the shop a bit later finishing these for delivery the next day.

Your favourite cake?

My current favourite cake is my gluten-free peanut butter and chocolate tiffin slices, they’re so naughty but oh so good!

And the next five years?

In the next five years I would like to be in a bigger shop, with a bigger seating area and expand into savoury items. I would also like a shop near one of my markets in Hackney, I’d love to win a taste award and I would also love to have some of my products stocked in Selfridge’s. That would be amazing!

Marks out of 10 for job satisfaction?

10. I love my job. w

Get in touch

Eat n’ mess Cake Shop, 67 London Road, Sevenoaks TN13 1AU. eatnmesscakes@gmail.com, www.eatnmesscakes.co.uk.

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