Pretoria sisters bake a cake empire

2016-08-11 19:03

Pretoria - Many families have secret recipes that leave those who taste their creations wanting more, but not many take those mouth-watering recipes and turn them into a lucrative business.

Nokuthula Ramputa and her sister Thokozile Mahlangu did exactly that and opened their bakery, Cake World, in Pretoria with their secret weapon being their family recipes.

"We love baking, we love cooking and we always wanted to start our own thing. The baking came from a long time, it's a family thing. Our grandmother used to own a bakery which she was running from home. She also helps here sometimes," said Mahlangu.

With that background behind them, Mahlangu studied hotel management while Ramputa studied culinary art and the sisters took what they had learned and tried it out in a bakery.

Some of the scrumptious sweet stuff in the bakery. (Karabo, News24)

Starting a business was, however, not easy. The excitement of having their own business was soon replaced by the realisation that a lot of work goes into running one.

"It's been challenging, the planning was exciting but we had not thought of how difficult it would be running it. The stress, the demand, the staff and customers coupled with the running of the shop have not been easy," said Mahlangu.

The business, which is less than two years old, is slowly making ground. The sisters bake between 400-500 cakes per month and have clients from as far as Limpopo and Mpumalanga come to buy their treats.

The sisters attribute their success to the unique taste of their not-too-sweet or too-rich cakes.

Family support

"The demand for our cakes is quite high, people love our cakes and they say the cakes are different.  Our unique flavours set us apart and the fact that we bake everything from scratch. We are using recipes that are a family secret from a long time ago," said Mahlangu.

Among their best-selling cakes are the "Fruit Ghetto" and the "Bar One".

(Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

The demands of the business have seen family members being roped in to assist with the operations. Ramputa said it has not been easy juggling her role as a businesswoman and being a mother and wife. She said the strong family support they have has alleviated some of the strain.

"Once you start a business you live for it. It's been tough juggling business and life at home. Our mother is our mentor, she is very supportive. We actually got a loan from her to start this business. She believes in us and steps in whenever she is needed. My husband is also very supportive and he helps wherever he can in the business. He does most of our deliveries. Family also comes in to assist when we need help," she said.

The bakery team. (News24)

Ramputa, who left a comfortable job in the construction industry to be her own boss, said making the transition from being an employee to an employer has not been easy.

"The challenges that we face include managing cash flow and cracking deeper into the market. When you're your own boss you notice the problems that exist when running a business. When you're employed you don't notice such things, but we are learning from them," she said.

The driven sisters dream of being South Africa's own Cake Boss, the famous reality show featuring Buddy Valastro's family-owned Carlo's Bakery in New Jersey, US.  They also want to have stores in all of the country's provinces and open their own baking school.

WATCH the video here:

Read more on:    pretoria  |  good news  |  economy

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