Award-winning Suffolk bakery opening new shop
- Credit: Archant
The Cake Shop Bakery is moving locations and will be selling homemade soft serve ice cream, beer, wine and cheese alongside its bread, cakes and pastries.
Family-run The Cake Shop Bakery, a fixture in Woodbridge’s Thoroughfare for over seven decades, has seen its star rise under the watchful eye of David Wright.
Returning from stints in trendy London shops E5, Lily Vanilli and Dusty Knuckle in 2012, David injected new vigour into the family business started by his grandparents in the 40s. In 2014 he led The Cake Shop Bakery to victory in a national televised competition where it was named the best in the UK, while he himself was named Britain’s Best Baker in 2017.
And all, says David, because he wanted to make his parents proud.
Now, with the 75th anniversary of the bakery looming in 2021, David is taking The Cake Shop Bakery fully into the 21st century. Anyone locally passing by the building will have seen works ongoing in recent weeks as preparations are made to move from the main bakery into what was The Firestation Café.
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“The main bakery is too big for us,” David explains. “My aunt, Pat Sharman, is going to take it on and turn it into a restaurant/cafe and we’ll be next door. I think that will be really nice. You’ll have this little food hub in the centre of the town and it will hopefully keep it going.”
Local tradespeople have been brought in to complete the transformation, with original features being retained and enhanced, while the offering inside will blend a little of the old, with a lot of new.
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“As a result of the last few months, we’ve seen how important it is to have a bit of diversity,” says David. “I’m really interested in fermented foods. So we’ve got the bread, obviously, and then we’ve got our coffee, which is fermented before it’s roasted, and we’re going to have wine from Borough Wines – we’ll have refillable bottles, which cuts down on that waste and makes it cheaper to purchase. Then we’ll have cheeses from Neal’s Yard Dairy and beer from Dayer – one of the Woodbridge locals does all the design work for them.”
David reveals homemade soft serve ice cream is on the cards too. “We’ve been testing out so many flavours. One of the most recent was sourdough toast flavour and it was really good.”
The shop, which is to retain The Cake Shop Bakery name, will still feature all customers’ favourite breads, cakes and bakes, from simple white loaves and Suffolk trenchers, to the popular brownies and, in response to the shortage in lockdown, will sell baking ingredients too – flour, yeast, eggs and more.
Deliveries (locally but hopefully further afield in Suffolk soon) started during lockdown will also remain a feature of the business going forwards, with the bakery’s online store continuing to grow.
“The response has been great. In lockdown everyone was clear about what they wanted and, in that sense, it made it easy to respond. Customers can either choose delivery on our current routes or pay online and come and collect at the door without the fuss of a transaction.
“it was a difficult time and I’m still working seven days a week trying to get the shop together, but it wasn’t a bind because everyone’s still so grateful. It made me think of a famous quote meant to be attributed to Napolean (but he didn’t say it) - that we’re ‘a nation of shopkeepers’. Analysis of that initially was that it’s an insult, but from the French side it’s a compliment. Them basically saying ‘you guys are defined by the way that you trade and the fact you have this ultra-commerce’. We’ve always been lucky to have great producers, and land and sea and woods that will give us almost every food you can imagine. Lockdown was like our Dunkirk moment. All the big ships became paralysed and all we had left were these little dinghies. It was nice for us to realise we still had them.
“It’s been hard work for small businesses, especially small food businesses, and I’m really excited people are appreciating them. I definitely feel energised by that response.”
If all goes to plan, the new bakery should open in September when the next phase for David will be conjuring up ideas to mark 75 years of trading in the New Year.
“It’s key for us. We’re going to bring back old recipes from across the 75 years. Some will be a bit weird, but it will be a nice way of sharing the stories of the business. Things like fondant fancies that look like frogs (I remember doing those as a kid, they were really fiddly) and lots of old bread products we’ve done in the past.”
Watch this space.