A proper good slice of cake can always help put the world to rights, and Sam Rose of Betty Rose Bakes knows how to do just that, and more. Her sweet treats are made with beautiful local ingredients, as she has a keen focus on them being environmentally-friendly. We chat to her about the makings of her business and how she’s been keeping calm and baking on during lockdown…
If you happen to be a Mapperley dweller or ever found yourself (pre-lockdown) in the Cobden Place Cafe, then you may already be aware of the tasty goodies offered up by Betty Rose Bakes.
Operating from a small residential kitchen, Sam Rose, aka Betty Rose Bakes, is cooking up a storm in the freshest, 100% natural, zero-waste and most ethically sourced kind of way. She tells me: “I am a keen forager, using as much seasonal and locally sourced produce as possible, and I often find myself exchanging my bakes for surplus ingredients from friends’ and neighbours’ gardens and allotments.”
Sam cut her catering teeth at an early age, “My first job was at the age of thirteen when I would hop in a van after school or at the weekends and travel across Suffolk for various events, prepping food, waitressing and washing-up as well as loading and unloading the van for Splinters catering company.” If you can cut the mustard in that industry at the age of thirteen, it must be pure passion.
She cites her seven-year period of working at Squeek on Heathcote Street (sadly no longer there) as a great source of inspiration for both her love of plant-based recipes and how to deal with the utter madness of a professional kitchen environment. Along with this, she also attributes part of her inspiration for cracking on and starting up her own venture to Beth Marriot from Kiosk, “Beth taught me ways of working with food that opened my mind to a whole new way of exploring ingredients and processes.” It was in 2018 that Sam decided to take the plunge and set up her own business, which she named after her gorgeous dog Betty, who heartbreakingly died soon after the launch.
I went from running Cobden Place Cafe three or four days per week and supplying cafes with my bakes to no work at all! For the first couple of weeks, it was just a period of adjustment and panic
Like many small businesses, this whole lockdown malarkey has posed its own set of problems for Betty Rose and her beautiful bakes. “Lockdown changed everything overnight! I went from running Cobden Place Cafe three or four days per week and supplying cafes with my bakes to no work at all! For the first couple of weeks, it was just a period of adjustment and panic.” But adjust she did and adapted her business to be able to take remote transactions, offer non-contact deliveries and pick-ups, and basically just keep on baking for the good of the city. She did all of this while homeschooling her nine-year-old and adapting to this cautious world we find ourselves in.
Lockdown has given her, as it has many of us, time to stop, have a breather and bloody good think about what the future should look like. “I would love to be able to make my living solely through Betty Rose Bakes, so my future ambitions would be to expand my customer base via renting a kitchen unit and having lots more space to create,” she says. “I would love to have my own small cafe one day but that ambition is way ahead into the future.”
When pressed on what she would refer to as her signature bake, the sublime answer came: “My celebration cakes are all signature bakes – I have complete creative freedom with them and no cake is the same as another.” So whether it be your weekly fix of fresh sourdough, some serious deliciousness in the shape of a carrot, beetroot and orange cake, a celebration cake for someone special or simply snagging yourself a box of badass brownies to sit back and binge on in your favourite elasticated-waist trousers, then rest assured that, Betty Rose has got your bake.
Sandford Road, Mapperley, NG3 6AL