Somercotes baker Jamie Brooks swapped his forklift truck for frosting to pursue his dream of owning a confectionary – and he hasn’t looked back since. Jamie joined forces with nephew Joseph Blackhall to open the The Mirage Cake Company in 2013, which offers a range of sweet treats to Heanor folk.
The confectionary shop in Derby Road showcases the work of the award-winning duo – supplying an assortment of cup cakes and bakes to walk-in customers as well as made to order specialities such as wedding and birthday cakes.
The former forklift truck driver Jamie, 40, of Somercotes Hill, first took up baking four years ago, when he made his daughter Summer a cake for her first birthday.
But it was a cake he made for her fourth birthday, which he then posted a picture of on his Facebook page, that really created a stir.
He said: “Everyone that saw it went crackers and I guess it all stemmed form there really.
“I started doing favours for family and friends at birthdays and Christmas, but I wasn’t making any money from them it was just for fun really and to help people out.
“I just thought I can’t keep doing this for free as more and more orders kept coming in!”
The Mirage Cake Company is the self taught baker’s first foray into business.
But he says there is very little he and cousin Joseph, 28, of Bishop Street, Alfreton, can’t do with icing – with their previous creations including a Monopoly board and a VW Camper Van.
Their skills have scooped the pair several awards including a gold award at the International Cake Show in Birmingham.
The father-of-one said the career change and the risk of opening a new business had paid off.
He said: “As you can imagine opening a business in uncertain times is quite nerve racking especially when you see other businesses closing down that have been going for many years or new businesses that are then closed within a few short months.
“But we have gone from strength to strength and built a reputation that we are good and can be relied upon to create show stopping cakes for your special occasion, so much so we now have customers ordering two years ahead for all occasions, not just weddings.
“Having a business has many highs and lows, however the main high is winning gold at Cake international, we’ve also won silver and bronze.
“I didn’t know what to expect, I am pleased of the progress and success we’ve had but still along way from where I would like it to be.
“I took voluntary redundancy as I wanted to work for myself and had built up a little customer base from home making celebration cakes
Jamie, who specialises in gluten-free cakes as he can’t eat flour, says his late mum Eileen is to thank for his baking gift.
He said: “I always used to help my mum, she made the family birthday cakes and she was so creative.
“I have had a lot of cakes over the years because of mum.
“And now I get to carry on her tradition and produce sweet treats for others to enjoy as much as I did growing up.
“I really enjoy making all types of cakes, and to be honest – trying to make each one a bit of a show stopper.
“The best thing about it, is knowing you’ve been part of the customers special day and seeing their faces light up when they first see what you have put your blood, sweat and tears into making. That one look on their face makes all the hard work worth it.
For more information head to www.themiragecakecompany.com.