Jennifer Asch was inspired by the community of Corpus Christi to start her own vegan baked goods business: Cake n' Bake. She hopes that Corpus will one day house more local vegan options; business and grocery wise.
Who or what has been your inspiration for this venture?
I truly love to bake more than anything else in the world. I moved from Corpus to Austin four years ago because I was feeling lost with no career path. I was hired as a baker in a commercial vegan kitchen within my first year of living there and the experience changed me. I grew passionate about my work and I knew baking was what I wanted to do forever. I feel a lot of happiness baking pastries and decorating cakes. The community of Corpus has inspired me to pursue this venture here. I grew up here and as the years pass, I see more people adding to this community and what it has to offer. I really want to contribute to that. It makes me proud to live here and see many people I know making an effort to make Corpus a more diverse place.
Who has helped you along that way?
My dad has been my number one fan and the biggest supporter since I told him I was quitting my office job to pursue baking. He’s been a local business owner here in Corpus for over 20 years, so his input matters to me. He has guided me throughout this journey to be realistic, plan accordingly, and always do my best; he keeps my feet on the ground honestly. He’s not a vegan kind of guy either, but he loves my pastries. I make him try everything I make! I wouldn’t be where I am without his guidance. I also have to say that my friends who have referred me to others or have supported me themselves have really helped me get to where I am now. I’m so very grateful for them.
Have you ever wanted to give up what you're doing? What keeps you doing it?
I have never wanted to give up on baking. It’s hard work for sure, but I put all my effort into it because it makes me genuinely happy doing it and proud to see the finished product. Also, I love the challenge of making something new or taking a non-vegan recipe and making it vegan. I can’t see myself doing anything else.
What's something you've learned you wish you would have known when you first started?
I am only one person who can handle so much. It’s really easy to try and please everyone, especially starting out, so just being able to take others opinions and expectations in stride and not letting it affect you too much. I want to fulfill every order I get and sometimes it’s just not possible. I’ve learned to be more patient with myself overall. It all comes down to knowing your limits and setting your boundaries.
What is success to you?
Success is being able to say that you tried even when you were afraid. Getting out of your comfort zone to pursue what you want is success at the end of the day. It takes guts and change and isn’t always easy! You can’t be a failure or a success if you don’t try. I feel successful right now just because I’m accepting changes in my life and putting myself out there.
What are your dreams?
My big dream is to see Corpus have more vegan options available to it. Many restaurants and stores have vegan selections, but I want to see more exclusively vegan businesses and see our current local vegan businesses grow too. The selection has gotten better over the years, but Corpus needs more local vegan options; business and grocery wise.