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New chapter for Cake Stories

A POPULAR Newcastle coffee house and cakery has opened a new kitchen to cope with growing demand.

Family-run Cake Stories has been in Jesmond since 2015, and has just launched a new kitchen in Gateshead so they can keep up with a huge increase in orders and expand their offering.

Co-owner Hannah Evans explained: “The coffee shop is doing really well, and we’re also supplying an increasing number of other places with cakes. Among the cafes and bistros we’re supplying are Butterfly Cabinet in Heaton; the Cycle Hub on Newcastle Quayside; Newcastle Tea House, and the Estate Tea Company in Gateshead.

“The kitchen at our Brentford Avenue coffee house was just too small to cope with the increase in orders, so we’ve been looking for the right space where we could create a kitchen.”

Hannah looked at various light industrial units across Tyneside, but when she found Hypoint – the old Gear House – on Saltmeadows Road, she knew she’d found the right place: “It’s just the right size for us and we loved the ethos and vibe at Hypoint.”

The increase in orders has also led to an increase in staff, with Cake Stories now employing 32 people.

“We have two teams - a hospitality team and a baking team, and it’s a seven-day a week operation so it’s a busy business” explained Hannah.

She founded the company with her mum, Liz Ward, her husband Ben and her dad Jon.

“Mam and I have always baked together. We wanted to host a space for the community to gather, so Cake Stories began. I love café culture and, particularly opening late into the evening and we wanted to offer something great to the scene,” Hannah added.

Born and brought up in Gateshead, Hannah went to university in Huddersfield, where she met Ben. She completed a music degree and stayed in West Yorkshire where she worked as a music tutor, a nanny, a freelance musician and a graphic designer.

“Whatever I was doing, though, I was always baking. I would come home in the run-up to family occasions and bake with mam and then we started selling what we were baking. That grew and I was spending more time up here baking. It had become a part-time job and I was spending longer and longer in the North East,” said Hannah.

“After a while we decided to open our own place. We chose Jesmond because there is such a great food scene round here,” she added.

“We’re open until 9.30pm which is still unusual for a coffee shop, and it’s interesting to see how the atmosphere changes throughout the day. It’s bustling during the daytime, and while we often have the same number of people here on an evening, it feels very relaxed.

“I think it’s great to offer people somewhere less noisy than a pub, where they can come and chat and chill and have a bite to eat without having a three-course dinner. We have a huge range of teas, coffees, beers and wines, and serve various savoury dishes and afternoon tea – and of course lots of cakes!”

The long-term plan is for further expansion: “Our reputation seems to be growing and we’re getting people approach us, asking us to supply them. Our new kitchen gives us the capacity to do so. We currently produce around 300 pieces of cake a day – half of which we supply to others,” said Hannah.

“A lot of our cakes are vegan or gluten-free, but our philosophy is that whether there are any special dietary requirements, or none, that what we produce should be the best cake you’ve ever had,” she added.

Hypoint is part of the Hyhubs stable of business centres that also includes Hoults Yard and Haylofts, the old Deuchar Brewery stables on St Thomas Street, near Haymarket.

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