Tamahere woman Raewyn Koppens has turned her love of baking into a business.
Raewyn and cake decorator colleague Rosita General have recently opened the Sugar Plum Cake Company in Alexandra St in central Hamilton, a move that brings them out of the baking backroom.
Setting up shop for themselves has put the pair publicly behind the cakes, cupcakes, cookies and slices that Hamiltonians have been enjoying in the city’s Momento chain of cafes for some time.
“Rosita and I met while baking for Momento,” says Raewyn. “Over the baking pans we cooked up lots of ideas about what we’d do if we had our own business. Eventually, we thought that at our mature ages if we didn’t do it now we never would, so we just went for it.”
While the pair were working on their recipe for cake shop success, and unbeknown to them, the long-running Five Cross Roads Cake Kitchen closed down.
“The closing of the Five Cross Roads Kitchen left a gap in the market for a bakery making everything from scratch so in that sense our launch has been quite timely,” Raewyn says.
Raewyn has long had a love of cooking, especially baking, and switched from a career in legal and property management to cafe cooking a few years ago.
Rosita has had a lifetime in the baking and cake decorating business, which is a family affair in her home country, the Philippines. There, her 81-year-old mother, Lydia Robillas, still runs her Rosita’s Bakeshop in the city of Cagayan de Oro, the shop named for her eldest daughter.
“I grew up baking,” says Rosita who is described as a “cake decorator extraordinaire” by her partner.
“My plan is to make more and more cakes every day. We’re enjoying what we love to do,” Rosita says of the Sugar Plum venture.
Three of Rosita’s sisters, Rhonda, Rebecca and Rosalie, are also bakers, with their business interests including a Manila-based company that makes and exports edible sugar flowers to countries as diverse as the USA, Australia and Greece. However, all the daughters defer to the expertise of Mama Lydia, who is on call for every decorating emergency.
Rosita and her sweet skills fetched up in New Zealand after she visited a friend in Raglan for a holiday three years ago and chanced to meet and fall in love with a good keen Kiwi bloke. The Philippines’ loss has been Hamilton’s gain.
A plum job
Step into the light and airy Alexandra St shop, between Collingwood St and Garden Place, and the taste treats beckon. Pretty cupcakes, tempting slices, and stunningly decorated celebratory cakes are just the start.
“We’re just getting over the set-up stage and a really successful cake promotion on GrabOne [the deal offer website], which has been a huge effort for us,” says Raewyn
“Next we plan to broaden our range and include savoury food as well as sweet in the cabinet. Eventually, too, we’ll put in a few tables and offer coffee and real hot chocolate.”
Click here for the Sugar Plum Cake Company’s website.