FEATURE: “It’s about catering for everybody, and spreading the love” Yum Cakes
The pandemic has given one local man the chance to start and develop his cake business, and now he is getting ready to open his first shop.
Sean Breslin is the creator behind Yum Cakes, who offers a range of high quality cakes, cupcakes, cheesecakes and brownies with vegan and gluten free options available.
Yum Cakes recently received a ‘Vegan Friendly certification’, and are one of only a handful of businesses in the north to hold this title.
Sean worked as a chef for seven years before he undertook some further training and became qualified in patisserie.
“Lockdown happened then, and I just gradually and naturally moved into making cakes and cupcakes. It just snowballed from there and we’re at the point now where we’re ready to open our first shop,” said Sean.
Katie, who runs the social media side of the business, said that it all started last April when Sean made a vegan birthday cake for their daughter.
“He was working in a restaurant before lockdown, then during those scary few weeks at the start he left. At the time he was also doing cheesecakes and supplying some local restaurants when they all closed. It was our daughter’s birthday in April and he made her a vegan birthday cake which we posted online.
“People started messaging looking for cakes and it has just exploded since then,” she said.
Sean said the vegan options have proven to be extremely popular, with Yum Cakes starting offering one day per month with vegan options, but it is now part of their day to day offerings.
“I didn’t think it would be as busy as it is for vegan cakes. The response for the Vegan stuff has been crazy. You hear a lot of people say that they don’t do vegan because not many people would order it but that is definitely changing.
“What we offer I think is up there, a lot of people want to try it and we get amazing feedback from it all. A lot of people are experimenting more and are realising the benefits of going vegan as well.
“We’re at the point now where we need to expand it and make it better, and offer more things like that. The fact that we have to do that shows how big it is becoming,” he said.
Katie explained that their three children all have allergies, and find it difficult to go out to eat somewhere together.
“When we go in somewhere to eat, they usually can’t have anything for dessert for example. We wanted it so that for everything that we offer, there is an alternative too,” she said.
Sean added: “We are going off past experience, where you go somewhere and you can’t really have anything.
“We realised how important it has to be, because a lot of people have allergies as well as choosing a vegan diet.
“It’s coming to the forefront of the hospitality industry now. Castle Street Social are also smashing it with their vegan menu, it’s unreal! We were in London recently and vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options are just the norm there.
“Our standard cakes are our bread and butter, but with our passion for providing amazing vegan options and the growing demand, we are constantly working on expanding this range too. Our main focus is it being as nice as the non-vegan range.
“We don’t want any cake tasting less because it’s vegan. We work on each recipe until we are 100% happy with the flavour and texture, and when they are ready, you wouldn’t know they are vegan.
“For us, it’s about welcoming everyone in, catering for everybody, somewhere for the whole family to be able to come and have a treat regardless of dietary requirements. This is what we have and we care about it.
“One of our most popular items are our Big A$$ brownies, which are gluten free.
“We don’t advertise them as gluten free because people would automatically assume that it means the taste is affected - these are a must try!
“We actually offer a nationwide postal brownies service where we post both our standard and vegan brownies anywhere in the UK & Ireland and this has also been a hit!”
Reflecting on the last 18 months over the pandemic, Sean said he believes the circumstances with lockdowns have given him an opportunity to grow and develop the products he might not have if he had left a job to start the business.
“I think covid gave us a door to go in, but how it actually slowed down the process and it became natural to evolve and grow.
“I think if we had done it at any other time with me leaving my job, there would have been a rush on it and it might not have flowed in the way that it did. We had time to perfect our recipes and try things out here and there, and source really good ingredients. We use real butter, real vanilla and high quality Belgian chocolate in our products. It’s something we’re super passionate about.
“I said in 2018, let’s build a bakery so we don’t have many overheads to get us established and then let’s open a shop.
“We built our own bakery in 2020, thinking it would last a few years, but we’ve outgrown it already. We hold weekly bake sales online and they sell out within 10 minutes. We’re super passionate about what we do, and we love it.
“Receiving this response and support from our customers has been amazing. We know how much time we’ve spent perfecting our craft, so it’s nice to say it’s good once in a while,” he said.
The Yum Cakes shop will open later this year on Waterloo Street, and work is already underway behind the scenes to create the cake shop that “Derry deserves.”
“I think what we’re going to offer for Derry is so far away from the norm, people will love it”, said Sean.
Katie added: “We don’t want to bring something that’s already here, we want to bring something new.
“That’s why we went to London to get some inspiration and feel the vibes over there.
“When you look at restaurants like Pyke and Pommes and Guapo for example, they’re bringing something different and Derry people love it. They’re open to it.”
Sean added that they are hard at work now, getting the branding on point, and perfecting some more recipes. Especially some that are both vegan and gluten free.
“It’s about catering for everybody and spreading the love”,” he added.
Yum Cakes will open their shop at 30 Waterloo Street later this year. For more information about Yum Cakes, visit https://www.facebook.com/pg/yumcakesderry and www.Instagram.com/yumcakesderry