Mums Bake Cakes is an online marketplace that can be used by anyone, anywhere in the world, who wants to order a cake for someone living in the UK. The cake is often delivered by the local baker who made it.

“Someone living in Australia can order through us for a friend living in Cornwall,” says founder Paula Wilkinson. The business welcomes bakers from all over the UK.

Paula, 54, was inspired to start the business following a conversation with her niece Davina Jones. “Davina had been battling breast cancer for two years. For what we knew could be her final birthday, I wanted to send her a birthday cake. I couldn’t find anyone who would deliver one - she lived in Wales and I’m down in Kent. I ended up having to order one from a bakery near her and drove a 600 mile round trip to deliver it to her myself.”

Together, Paula and Davina spoke about why an online ordering and delivery service didn’t exist for cakes. Davina passed away in December 2015. Shortly afterwards, Paula started turning their business idea into a reality.

Today, Mums Bake Cakes has 2,000 bakers listed on its website. The original idea of providing home baked cakes, as reflected in the name, has evolved into something much bigger.

The business is run by Paula, her business partner Richard Watson and one full-time employee. The team uses Starling to manage the business finances.

Helping bakers turn their passion into a profession

Before becoming a mother, Paula worked for the directory service Yellow Pages as part of their sales team. This experience has proved useful when building Mums Bake Cakes, which in many ways acts as a cake directory. Paula recruits her bakers through social media and she benefits from word of mouth referrals.

“For lots of people, Mums Bake Cakes has given them an opportunity to go from amateur baker to professional baker. We’ve helped a lot of bakers turn a lot of passion into a business.”

All signed-up bakers have food hygiene certificates and insurance, a requirement for joining Mums Bake Cakes. Bakers can often adapt cakes to dietary requirements, many of which are already vegan or gluten-free. Each baker has their own profile and recipients can rate the cake they’ve received. “This can help build a baker’s reputation in their local area.”

Supporting families during lockdown

During lockdown, the bakers wrote out many moving messages from customers to recipients. “We had people living abroad sending cakes to family members living in the UK. There were cakes for children’s birthday parties that had to be on Zoom and so many thank you presents.”

Since restrictions on parties, weddings and events have lifted, Mums Bake Cakes has been fulfilling larger orders.

Banking for Bakers

Paula joined Starling in June 2020. “We wanted to leave our high street bank anyway and then when Starling began offering Bounce Back Loans, we decided to switch.”

They used the loan to adapt their website so that they could offer postal orders and update their search function. They also took on their first employee. Paula uses the Starling app to pay the bakers when an order comes in. She can do this when she’s on the move.

“Starling is easy to set up, easy to use and just makes you feel in control of your money. The notifications tell you when something has been paid or when a payment is due - it’s so simple,” she says. “I’ve also introduced my teenagers to Starling - they absolutely love the notifications and feeling in control of their money at all times.”

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