Custom made cakes, cupcakes, cookies and croissants delivered to your doorstep – YES, please! The Cupcake Club has it sorted.
From birthday cakes, to croissants for the Friday morning meeting, this Johannesburg-based mother-daughter duo has you covered. Catering for both private and corporate orders, The Cupcake Club makes treating yourself as easy as you want it to be.
The Cupcake Club is family owned and run by Chief Bakers Jeannie and Margy Gilgannon.
Jean, who is studying to be a lawyer, got her pastry diploma from the Food and Beverage Institute when she decided to take a gap year during her studies at Rhodes. Initially she thought she wasn’t good enough to start a business selling her creations, but on doing the course she realised that she already knew a lot of what they were teaching; because of her mom.
Jean says she’s always had a passion for baking and has been baking with her mom, Margy, since she was about 6 or 7 years old. On talking about her experience growing up helping her mom in the kitchen and her mom’s entrepreneurial experience: “I didn’t really know how to start a business but I’m lucky that because of this I think I’ve had it easy.”
Whilst she was doing the course she met a friend called Anna and together they decided to start a baking business called 250ml. Just before it all was up and running however, Anna moved to Cape Town and Jean didn’t feel like she could carry on 250ml without her because it belonged to both of them. So enlisting the help of her mom, she rebranded with a new name, a new logo, and professional photos, to relaunch as The Cupcake Club.
I met with The Cupcake Club on the day they were doing their next photoshoot and got to meet the talented photographer, Kendra. Jean explained to me why they decided to do a photoshoot when they launched: “When you can’t smell the food or you can’t taste the food, it has to look amazing!” I could totally relate, with my experience as an Art Director and Graphic Designer, who has worked on many a food photoshoot and menu design.
Sitting there as Jean and Margy were doing last minute touches, I admired the cakes ready for their close ups. Being a chocoholic, my favourite was of course the chocolate, on chocolate, on chocolate. So it came as no surprise to hear that their most popular flavour is: chocolate!
The baking biz
The Cupcake Club initially got going through people they already knew who spread the word. Things started picking up when customers realised they could create whatever they wanted custom made to order, with their choice of flavours, at an affordable price.
The making of the cakes is often a collaborative effort with Margy baking them and Jean icing and decorating them. Jean says that because her mom has been doing this for a while, she feels lucky to have someone who can see the bigger business picture. Margy does the stock take and ordering of ingredients whilst Jean gets to do the creative part like icing the cakes and creating all the intricate details. All of the edible decorations they use, like chocolate paste flowers and cute sugary animals, are hand made by them. Jean is adamant that their business will keep these personal touches even as their team grows bigger.
Jean feels that her and mom have become closer over the past year since starting the business and laughs whilst recalling evenings in the kitchen together learning how to make croissants through trial and error, until they got it right! “Croissants are made the morning of delivery and if you mess them up there’s nothing you can do, so that’s the most stressful part,” she says.
Sweet tooth in the family
Shortly after starting up, The Cupcake Club added cookies to their cakes and cupcakes offering. Margy has long supplied cookies and baked goods to home industries around Johannesburg, so this was a natural fit.
Many of my school friends might remember that I sold giant vanilla, choc chip and gingerbread cookies when I was a deb in school, well guys the secret’s out – because this is where they came from! My mom’s cousin Margy has been baking up a storm since before I can remember.
My whole family is rather fond of all of the ‘Margy biscuits’ as we call them, and we could never leave empty handed after visiting!
The sweet sky’s the limit
I ask about plans for the future and they say it would be great to grow the business and see where they can go with it. “To have this as a main source of income, hire more people, move into a bigger space, maybe have a bakery/shop where people can go and see the cakes displayed,” Jean continues; “That’s the plan at the moment. We’ll get there, we’re learning.”
With the success of the business, Jean says it feels surreal because although she’s still studying law, she’s realised it’s possible to make a career from baking. She believes that if you’re interested in what you do and create things that you would enjoy, then other people will enjoy it too. Part of the success of the business is due to the passion put into every detail including the look, taste and smell of the food.
Fun fact: The Cupcake Club supports sustainable living so their new business cards can be planted to grow things like lavender.
Their current clients include advertising agencies, golf courses and corporate companies, amongst others. One of their proudest moments is when they made the cupcakes for Santam’s hundredth birthday. Each cupcake had the Santam logo on it and they were placed together in a 100 shape; which Santam loved so much they took it to their gala evening.
Earlier this year a client wanted an all black birthday cake which Jean and Margy were excited to get a large budget for, because it enabled them to create a unique look using things like baked pineapple that was dyed black. Jean says they are happy to work within budgets because they can give you a better idea of what you can get.
The Cupcake Club has already been very busy with many ongoing orders to deliver on. Their biggest order to date is 2500 cupcakes at one time, and they recently started offering croissants, which have been a big hit! Normally their larger orders are for cupcakes, with croissants coming in a close second. They are more than happy working with individuals as well as companies, having done crazy things like 24 hour turnarounds before – and what’s more is they already have many great reviews from happy clients!
Get your sweet on
Get in touch with The Cupcake Club today to get sweetness delivered to your doorstep! 🍰🍪🥐 They also offer gluten free alternatives.
WIN a unicorn cake!
CLOSED 🦄 *GIVEAWAY* 🦄 Congratulations to Tamryn Sher who has WON herself a delicious 4 layer unicorn cake 🦄 with The Cupcake Club and Peaches in the Wild! All entrants into the competition still get 10% OFF their next cake, cupcakes, cookies or croissants purchase until the end of October. 🍰
Terms and conditions:
Entry is only valid for residents living in Johannesburg, South Africa. Entries close at 17:00 on Thursday, 23 August 2018, after which the winner will be randomly selected. All entrants get a 10% discount off one purchase from The Cupcake Club, to be redeemed before 31 October 2018. The winner will receive a FREE delicious 4 layer unicorn cake from The Cupcake Club. Only one winner will be drawn from the combined entries through Facebook and Instagram. Winner will be announced on the Peaches in the Wild Facebook page on Monday, 27 August 2018. Winner will need to contact The Cupcake Club to discuss collection/delivery arrangements in order to claim the prize. The winner will need to redeem their prize within the month of September 2018, or otherwise forfeit the prize. Immediate family of those involved in The Cupcake Club and Peaches in the Wild are not eligible for entry into the competition.
Images: supplied by The Cupcake Club
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