InsideOut #01: Q&A with Oli Coysh, co-founder of Exploding Bakery
Exploding Bakery in Exeter have been smashing out epic cakes since 2011, supplying cafes, delis and customers at home all over the UK. They’re also one of our much-loved trade partners. Taking an ethical approach to cake-making, all their ingredients are carefully sourced from trusted suppliers. It’s real cake made by people who care – and it’s stupidly delicious.
We spoke to co-founder Oliver Coysh about cakes, Covid and …condoms:
How would you describe Exploding Bakery in 100 words or less?
We’re a team of bakers and cake makers starting a cake revolution to blow up the world of flabby margarine and sugar laden cakes
We make real cakes with real ingredients from suppliers who care about quality. This is all done through our wholesale bakery and our online shop which sells letterbox brownies and other fun goodies.
We also run a cafe which acts as a showcase for our cakes, speciality tea and coffee.
Your letterbox brownies have been a huge hit with the press and public. How did you come up with the idea?The idea came from a course I attended at Oxford’s Saïd Business School. We were looking at the pains and gains of getting things through the post. When you’re excited about a delivery and you come home to find a ‘Sorry we missed you’ slip on the mat, it can really spoil your experience or a surprise.
Nobody wants to queue up at the Post Office or rearrange delivery. So we created something you can receive without having to be at home. We did for brownies what Blossom and Wild have done for fresh flowers.
We’ve had a lot of fun with it. Alongside the brownies we’ve sent essentials like Canton tea and Roundhill coffee, plus wildflower seeds and love rocks.
We even did ‘cakes and condoms’ for Valentine’s Day.
Canton English Breakfast and Exploding Bakery brownies in their letterbox parcels.
What’s coming through our letterboxes next?
Later this year we have the Exploding Bakery recipe book coming out. People can order the book and we’ll be expanding our letterbox range to include cakes from the book.
How has the business changed as a result of the pandemic?
It’s certainly more stressful. We’ve pivoted so many times that we’ve constantly had to reset our learning curve. That has brought a new found enthusiasm for the business but everyone on the team is exhausted.
It has brought home the importance of investing in the health and wellbeing of our staff. We now have healthcare plans, a profit-share scheme and can offer financial support to our team when they need it. We want our staff to feel like they can build a career with us.
If you were going to start Exploding Bakery tomorrow, what would you do differently?
I'd do a basic plumbing course! I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve needed to fix a leaky sink, a blocked toilet or a broken washing machine.
Business-wise, I’d nail down our core values and purpose before anything else. We did it retrospectively and I wish we’d done it from the start. Knowing your values and purpose helps us to know where we’re headed and why.
Whats's your favourite Canton tea?
Iron Buddha Oolong. I enjoy the ceremony of making it and the spectrum of flavours from each infusion. Every tea we serve is weighed out individually and brewed at the right temperature for the right time. I want our customers to fully enjoy the depth of flavours of our teas.
Tea and cake at the Exploding Bakery cafe in Exeter.
Whats's your favourite cake to go with it?
I actually don’t like to eat anything when I drink tea as I like to appreciate it fully.
That said, if I’m hungry I’ll brew an extra strong Canton English Breakfast, add a good splash of milk and have it with a slice of banana bread.
Need cake? Visit Exploding Bakery online.