I love hearing about small producers growing into a success story, and so it is with Tessa’s Bakery, which began as a home bakery thirty years ago, and has grown into a successful bakery retail outlet with 21 staff. I was very impressed with the creativity of the cakes and cupcakes offered at Tessa’s Bakery.

I was invited by Freebees Marketing and PR’s Ingrid Altmann to visit Tessa’s Bakery as part of a media launch next week, but wrote back to say that I will be traveling from Friday onwards, and asked if I could pop in beforehand. I visited Tessa’s Bakery yesterday, and loved meeting Tessa Dasopatis, and her very friendly daughter-in-law Desiré. 

Desiré sat down with me, and told me about the history of the Bakery, which began in the Dasopatis home. Tessa’s baked goods were supplied to coffee shops, and her husband eventually assisted her in her business. Son George worked in the film industry, and went through a rough patch, the industry having ups and downs. He assisted his mother, doing the delivery of cakes to their coffee shop clients, and he soon recognized the business potential of his mother’s bakery. He suggested a joint venture in the business with his mother, and she insisted that the business achieve a turnover of R100000 first. When they achieved this target, the partnership between mother and son was formed. They set up the bakery in a business park, with three staff, only supplying the trade.

Four years ago George and Desiré met, and Desiré became involved in the bakery, learning everything from Tessa. Desiré had been a hobby baker, originally from Port Elizabeth. Tessa’s husband became very ill, and George and Desiré moved into the family home, to assist his mother with the care of her husband. While Dimitri sadly passed away, the family has such a close bond, that they still live in the same house. 

Desiré described her mother-in-law as very kind, and they have a close relationship, especially since Desiré lost her own mother. She also told me honestly that George and she struggled to have a baby, but the long-awaited daughter arrived, and is the apple of her grandmother’s and parents’ eye. 

Soon the space became too small, and they moved to their current space in Milnerton, which is very spacious, and their staff complement grew to 21. In moving to the new premises, the business model changed, now focused on walk-in customers, as well as an on-line store for orders. George does the photography and HR for the business, while Tessa and Desiré create the ideas for new cake and cupcake designs, which are then executed by the bakers. Desiré is also responsible for the Social Media. 

Tessa’s Bakery does a number of cakes, which are also made as cupcakes, developing a creative style for its beautiful produce. So, for example, they make Peppermint Crisp, Oreo, Rocky Road, Salted Caramel popcorn, Red Velvet cheesecakes, Blueberry and Lemon, Carrot Cake, Ferrero Rocher, and Unicorn cakes, as well as cupcakes. These cupcakes cost R25 – R30 each, and cakes cost R295 – R450. Cake slices sold in the shop cost R25 – R30. Date slices, and Vegan gluten-free chocolate brownies are offered. 

In addition, Celebration cakes are offered, for birthdays, anniversaries, etc, the Superman cake above being an example, and costing between R450 and R650. From the website the Celebration Cakes include Baby Bear, Baby Elly, Daisy Hopkins, Donut Worry Be Happy, Dream Catcher, Farmyard Fun, Gender Reveal, Gold Glitz and Glamour, Let it Go (an interesting spiritual sounding one), Mermaid Kisses, Rainbow Cake, Rainbows and Unicorns, Star Wars, Rainbows and Unicorns, Sugarplum the Unicorn, The Dark Knight, What the Smurf, The Scribble Cake (a blank canvas cake in white onto which one can write and draw one’s message with edible ink pens), and Trolls! One can also order Happy Easter, Macaron Madness, Rocky Road, Very Merry Christmas, Winter Wonderland, and many more cakes, as Tessa and Desiré come up with new ideas all the time. 

On the savoury side, spanakopita is sold at R30 a slice, while pies (chicken, bobotie, and steak) cost R25. Quiches cost R30. Desiré told me that they are planning to add fun milkshakes to their menu shortly.

The decor of Tessa’s Bakery was done by Urban Spaces, the same consultancy which did the design of Crumbs and Cream, in white, with dots of colour, in pink, yellow, blue, and green. From the ceiling over the cake and cupcake counter white shapes hang, which represent the dripping icing look, which are a trademark of  Tessa’s Bakery, as visible in the Superman cake photograph above. 

Soon Tessa and Desiré will be offering classes, both for adults but also for children, and Desiré showed me the cutest outfits which they have had made for the junior bakers. We walked through the production facility behind the shop and upstairs, and it was a hive of activity, cakes being made and sugar work being done for Celebration cakes.

I have been a huge cupcake fan, but have given them up on my weight loss journey. Desiré did spoil me with a box of take-away treats, and I tried a little taste of each. I know where I will be going to in future to order my Celebration cakes! It is clear that a passion for cakes and cupcakes runs in the veins of all who work at Tessa’s Bakery, making handmade mouthwatering cakes and treats with love!

Tessa’s Bakery, Milpark Centre, Jasmin Street, Milnerton, Cape Town. Tel (021) 551-6107 www.tessasbakery.co.za Twitter: TessasBakery Instagram: @Tessas_Bakery. Monday – Saturday.

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @chris_ulmenstein