There’s much ado in “the little white house with the blue roof” in Tyler, Texas. Blending with the sweet fragrance of the town’s renowned roses is the heavenly aroma of cakes baking.
On any given morning, you’ll find Janie Clapp tending to the vast menagerie of horses, cows, goats, pigs, dogs, and chickens that call her Texas cattle ranch home. One of her first tasks of the day is to gather eggs destined for use in the scrumptious pound cakes she has built a business around.
Janie began baking as a young girl with her great-grandmother, known affectionately as Papu. “I spent much of every summer with her, and she instilled in me the chemistry of baking- especially baking pound cakes,” she explains. “We had fun cooking and creating our own recipes.” Janie took this early love of baking to the Culinary Institute of America in White Plains, New York, where she honed the skills she’d picked up in Papu’s kitchen.
Armed with culinary expertise and cheerful enthusiasm, Janie opened Tyler-based Janie’s Cakes in 1987. After years of tackling elaborate wedding and birthday cakes, this self-confessed “pound-cake perfectionist” shifted her focus to the Southern favorite that has earned her a following not only in Texas, but nationwide.
Janie’s Cakes occupies a charming house built for a nursery that sold the city’s world-famous roses. Here the owner is fulfilling her ambition to create the world’s best pound cake- and her customers agree she’s done just that. Whether it’s the chocolatey “Saucy Jane,” the pecan-and-cream-sauce crowned “Italian Jane,” or the simply classic “Plain Jane,” one bite is all it takes to back up Janie’s claim. She uses only the finest all-natural and organic ingredients – like Texas cane sugar and pure Madagascare vanilla extract- for her products. “It really makes a difference,” she says. Janie’s Cakes, are also shipped nationwide in the bakery’s signature yellow-and-white-striped box with a periwinkle ribbon: each pound cake looks just as good as it tastes.
Even with her success, Janie never forgets the family connections that ignited her passion for baking. She continues the tradition by working alongside daughter Katherine; son Travis pitches in, too. The family also runs a summer camp at their Rockin’ C Ranch that builds character in a Christ-centered environment. The camp is a labor of love she and husband Matt have enjoyed for the past 10 years and counting. “We do stay busy,” laughs Janie.
For those Southerners who see pound cake as the ultimate comfort food, Janie’s energy and perfectionism have created pure confectionary bliss. “I think if you’re going to consume those calories,” says Janie with a smile, “the cake better be delicious.”
For information, contact Janie’s Cakes at 903-592-6150 or visit janiescakes.com
The Clapp’s strive to reach as many children as possible at their summer camp. Says Janie, “I feel strongly about charitable giving on a personal level, but I also believe that small businesses and corporations have a responsibility to support the communities that make them successful.”