Cardiff Character: Emma Jane Smith

Baking fever has been sweeping the nation, with this year’s final of The Great British Bake Off attracting over 9 million viewers – cupcake creator Emma Jane Smith welcomes the enthusiasm.

The 27 year old owner of Emma Jane’s Cupcakes on Crwys Road is a Cardiffian through and through, having lived in the city all her life. Her business is as local as the woman herself, as Emma Jane has never made a delivery of cakes to anywhere outside of Cardiff.

She is exactly the kind of wholesome, bubbly person you’d expect to start a cake business. Smiley and enthusiastic, she exudes a gentleness that is reflected in the soft colour palette and comfortable furnishings of her tranquil little shop. 

But behind her good nature lies a steely industriousness. In fact, Emma Jane manages to pull in orders of up to 1000 individual cupcakes in an average week. 

Her biggest order to date was for a charity event requiring 926 cupcakes topped with cerise pink frosting, “I ended up with pink hands,” Emma Jane giggles.

Emma jane smith has been baking since she was a child

Emma jane smith has been baking since she was a child

Family matters

Since she opened the shop two years ago, she has ploughed through her mountain of orders with help from her close-knit family. While her brother co-owns the shop, Emma Jane’s parents as well as her husband Lee all help out with deliveries. 

Luckily for them, Emma Jane has made them her official taste testers, seeking their honest opinions on every new flavour combination she dreams up. “It is very much a family run business,” she enthuses.

Emma Jane’s love of cakes and baking can be traced back to when she would stay with her aunt at weekends as a child. Baking was always on the agenda, “It was always something we used to do,” she says, smiling fondly at the memory. “We used to bake until we’d run out of flour!”

 Getting back in the saddle

As she got older, baking took a backseat as the pressures of University life and her previous job as a pediatric nurse began to take over. She says, “It’s only in the last couple of years that I started to do it again. It was with things like the British Bake Off and it was becoming more trendy.”

Trying her cupcake creations out on friends and family proved so successful that Emma Jane suddenly found herself opening a shop. She chuckles, “Everyone knew I was opening a cupcake shop, so anything that said cupcake or cake – everyone would buy it for me!”

Sweet sensations

Emma Jane sees baking as a very giving profession. She muses, “it’s in my nature, to be sort of kind and generous. And I love creating things.”

Her favourite flavour is one of her own recipes; Cherry Bakewell, inspired by the classic Mr Kipling treat. The cake consists of almond sponge, a jam filling and an almond frosting.

Not unexpectedly from someone who owns a cake shop, she has a rabidly sweet tooth. “If I could only eat one thing ever it would be cake,” she grins.