As the Great British Bake Off returns, meet the York baker who delivers
As more amateur cake makers compete for the Bake Off crown, one man is preparing to send home-made treats direct to your door
The country is about to be transfixed again by the antics of 12 flour-caked individuals flapping about in a tent preparing ritual offerings to two gimlet-eyed gannet-gods.
Yes, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood are back with series five of the Great British Bake Off – the first episode is on BBC One at 8pm on Wednesday, August 6.
One man who might be too busy to cast his expert eye over this series’ amateur bakers is Oliver Webb.
The 23-year-old is up to his elbows in eggs and butter – and some more unusual ingredients – as he prepares to launch a cake delivery service for York.
From August 15, his new business Munchies Cakeaway will deliver home-made cakes and assorted treats to your door.
Oliver previously worked at the Fudge Kitchen on Low Petergate. “I spent most of my day making fudge in front of tourist crowds. It was such a great job!” he said.
“I had sweet stuff on tap, worked with awesome people and learnt the art of fudge making. I guess this is where my spark for making sweet things was first ignited.”
When he stayed with his girlfriend at her home in Leeds they would order takeaways from a business there called Get Baked.
“I though it was such a great idea and I asked myself ‘why he hell doesn’t York have a cakeaway service?’ Well, now it does!”
A slice of something different
Oliver hit on a delivery service “purely for the convenience and novelty factor really. If you can order Chinese food or a new top from Topshop to your door then why not be able to order desserts to your door as well.”
Oliver has spent the last five months with his brother Harry road testing recipes in a converted out house at his mother’s York home.
Cake on delivery
Thick shakes: £2.80 – £3
Belgian waffles: £2 – £2.50
Cheesecakes: £3 – £3.50
Cakes, brownies, treats: £2.20 – £3.50
They will deliver to address inside the York outer ring road, aiming to be there in 40 minutes. Three delivery zones are charged at £1 to £3
Munchies Cakeaway website (launches August 15)
Follow @MunchiesYork on Twitter
“My girlfriend, family and friends – and everyone at my mum’s work place – has been inundated with sweet things. They love the cakes I make and it’s always a big thumbs up!”
A big influence is the States. “I’m also a huge fan of all things American, especially the food,” Oliver said.
“Big portions, unique flavours, super tasty ingredients and great soft drinks and shakes. The American diner vibe.”
This vibe has certainly flavoured his approach to baking. “I always set out to make our menu unique. I don’t want to make cakes that could easily be bought in the local Tesco.
“We mainly use American ingredients like a special cream cheese I’ve sourced. We use Oreo cookies a fair bit in our cakes but my personal favourite is the Reese Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake.”
Does he reckon that some of his later night orders may come from hungry revellers?
“Well, we are opening till midnight during the week and 1am at a weekend, so I can only imagine that we will be delivery to student parties and people just getting in from a night out.
“We hope to appeal to everyone though, from families to couples to students.”
Baker and balloonist
Oliver is born and bred in York. “I really love York and can’t imagine living anywhere else to be honest. Lots of my friends live in London but that’s not for me.”
He went to All Saints School and after A levels he wasn’t sure what to do.
“I knew I didn’t want to go to university and I had a huge passion for music so I spent a lot of time going to gigs and performing at Fibbers and the Duchess,” he says.
Then came the job at Fudge Kitchen, followed by a job as assistant manager at Fibbers in 2010. Two years later he and his brother Harry started an events company, and they host several student and weekend club nights in York, Lincoln and occasionally Leeds.
Now they’ve teamed up again for Munchies Cakeaway – delivery only for now, but the aim is to have their own place in York where people can stop by for a shake and cake.
“We are also looking at attending local festivals and foodie events like St Nicks Fair or Galtres Festival, to name a few,” he said.
When he’s not hard at work in the kitchen, Oliver loves nothing better than to take to the skies.
“My other interest is hot air balloons. I known its incredibly random but from a young age I was obsessed with balloons, and at the age of 19 I saved up, bought a second hand balloon and persuaded a local pilot to teach me to fly.
“I’m now a fully qualified pilot and fly over York all the time. Maybe we’ll see a Munchies Cakeaway branded balloon over the skies of York soon?”
What is the best and worst cake you have ever tasted?
“My best has to be the Munchies Daim Bar Cheesecake and the worst was probably a disgusting rice cake I bought whilst travelling in Vietnam.”
Could the business expand outside York?
“Yes, I do plan to take Munchies elsewhere. My older brother is based in Lincoln. So that’s our next target, but one step at a time.”
What is the secret to baking a great cake?
“Just thinking outside the box really. As much as we all love a staple classic like Victoria Sponge Cake, it is a little boring.”
Who is your baking hero?
“Ha, my baking hero has to be Walter White, the guy from Breaking Bad. The best show on the telly! I thoroughly recommend that everyone watches.”
But only after you’ve watched the latest Great British Bake Off – with a slice of something special from Munchies Cakeaway to hand, once it’s opened…