You’ve heard of green smoothies in jars. Ice cream sundaes in jars. Even layered salads in jars. But you might not have heard of cakes in jars – a concept that has earned Canberra mum-of-three Samantha White a finalist’s spot in the 2015 National AusMumpreneur Awards.
The public servant turned cake extraordinaire says she’s made over 15,000 cakes since starting her business, Practically Perfect Portions – Cakes in a Jar, in December 2012.
“I’d bake cakes on occasion for family and friends, and people started asking about orders. I was on maternity leave with my second child when I whipped up a Facebook page. It exploded with Christmas orders, and the business has really grown organically from there,” she says.
The cake in a jar concept was inspired by wartime bakers.
“In the first and second world wars, women used to cook fruit cakes in jars and send them over to the soldiers, because they’d last forever. When I first read about it online I thought there’s no way you can cook cakes in jars. but I tried it out and it turns out you can,” she says.
Samantha’s cakes are slightly fancier than the jar cakes of old, with over 30 flavours including banoffee pie, salted caramel and nutella cheesecake (pictured below).
And while she still bakes some cakes in jars, Samantha says most are now cooked as larger cakes and crumbled into jars to accommodate layers of icing, chocolate and caramel.
She says the biggest challenge of running Practically Perfect Portions is balancing family and the demands of a growing business.
“I’d love to grow the business to make it the best that it can be, but I have to be a bit restrained because I have a family. I’ve just brought on an assistant, which is something I never thought I’d need to do, to help out and respond to demand.”
Her advice to others thinking about starting their own business is simple: choose something you love and harness that passion.
“Believe in yourself and your product and promote yourself – you are your best advocate and the face of your business. And no one knows your product better than you.”
The winners of the 2015 St George Banking Group AusMumpreneur Awards will be announced at in Melbourne on 5 September 2015. You can vote for Samantha here (search Samantha White under the Handmade Category).