Jared Porter’s passion for baking was transformed in 2018 when he opened Burly Cakes in Christchurch. “There is something therapeutic about baking,” said Porter. “Whether I am happy or sad—you will find me in the kitchen ‘til 3 am cooking up a storm.” Porter dedicates his cakes to and draws influence and motivation from his late mother. Following her passing, he decided to pursue something that gave him a sense of comfort and joy. With that spurring him on, Burly Cakes was born.
“Burly Cakes for me needed to be honest to itself and also to its consumer. What you see is what you get with no apologies.” Porter has created Burly Cakes in defiance of floral tiers and fussy decorations. “Let cakes just be cakes—in all their gluten-filled, sugary, buttery glory.”
In a tough market, Porter and Burly Cakes have faced their fair share of challenges. “I would lie if I said being the new kid on the block isn’t tough—especially in a female-dominated industry in a city like Christchurch that is very close knit when it comes to the food and hospo industry. Initially, it was very tough to break into the market. In saying that, the support that I’ve received from my competitors has been really encouraging and has helped me push me to keep going and embrace my different approach to cakes, rather than back away from it.” Porter expressed how his unique approach has helped him to stand apart from the existing market. “Burly is so different to what is currently on the market, so I am happy to let other cake makers and decorators out there keep doing their thing, and I’ll stick to figuring out how to deconstruct my favourite desserts and making them into moist cakes. People are loving my approach.”
“A good cake needs to be moist. I can’t stress that enough—dry cake is just not cake. It also needs to intrigue the senses with every single bite. Burly Cakes have a crunch and gooey component to every cake. A cake that challenges your thought of cake is a bloody good cake.” Porter’s personal favourite that Burly Cakes offers is the Peanut Butter and Jelly cake—a moist vanilla cake with peanut butter cream, strawberry jam jelly, peanut brittle, and Whittaker’s white chocolate crumb.
Porter runs a one-person show at Burly Cakes and explains that there are difficulties in juggling the baking and the advertising/business side of things. “Social media can be hard. I will send out an order and be like, ‘Damn, I forgot to take a picture of that cake’. For me, however, it doesn’t matter how many likes or followers you have—what’s more important is how many people on the streets are talking about Burly Cakes and getting to their nearest supplier to try one.”
With Porter’s new angle of tackling the cake industry, he has been able to attract a following outside of the typical cake customers. “Being rustic and having no frills has definitely appealed to a male market as well—we eat with our stomach, not our eyes, so Burly Cakes has done extremely well with the lads.”
Porter looks towards the future with hope and aims to make his cakes more mainstream. He also hopes to be able to branch out into festivals, attracting a broader market. “A cake food truck is not too far in the future, as well as branching out to products other than cakes.” One thing is for sure—Porter maintained that “Burly Cakes will always challenge the norm.”