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Jake's Bakes feeds Barrie area's appetite for pastries

Barrie native Jake Johnson launched his business during lockdown, but now hopes to open bricks-and-mortar location sometime in 2023

What started as a pastime during the pandemic has become a prosperous online baking business for Jacob Johnson, a Minesing resident who now has more than seven years of experience in the food industry.

“I started baking for family and friends, and after a couple of months I realized that people really responded to what I was doing,” says Johnson, the owner of the home bakery Jake’s Bakes.

As encouragement continued to roll in about his homemade, handcrafted baked goods, Johnson says he felt it was the moment to take the next step and start his own business.

Jake's Bakes started in April 2021 and has been growing ever since, to the point where Johnson says he has already started contemplating moving to a bricks-and-mortar location.

“I'm hoping that I will be able to grow to a storefront location sometime in 2023," he says. 

On the bakery’s website, customers can shop for products made from scratch and baked fresh every morning, such as butter tarts, chocolate toffee cookies, pies, and more.

“My personal favourite right now is our pumpkin spice butter tart, which has homemade pumpkin pie filling underneath a gooey butter tart, and topped with cinnamon sugar,” Johnson describes.

Johnson noted that popular orders may vary according to the season as the menu is periodically updated. For example, he says, s'mores cookies and strawberry rhubarb pies are huge favourites during the summer.

“We are very excited for the Christmas season as more items will be added," he adds.

The Jake’s Bakes menu features most Johnson’s signature recipes, which in part carry memories of a family of talented bakers, who he said sparked most of his passion for baking.

“Butter tarts and pie have always been staples in my family, which is why the majority of my menu revolves around pastries," he says. 

The recipes are also inspired by insights from Johnson’s past cooking experiences at places such as patisseries in Toronto, fine dining restaurants in Victoria, B.C., and tree-planting camps in Alberta.

“These experiences have all provided the skills and confidence necessary for me to build a business of my own," he says. 

Born and raised in Barrie, Johnson moved with his family to Minesing seven years ago. He started learning how to cook in high school, at Innisdale Secondary through its hospitality program, as well as cooking at many restaurants in the Barrie area.

After high school, Johnson honed his culinary skills at George Brown College and continued to cook in different restaurants across Ontario and British Columbia.

Johnson refers to the community support in Barrie as a large factor in growing the business, in particular during the lockdown, and a reason to move on with the business.

“Clearly, the people of Barrie love to support local businesses and I feel great knowing I can continue to provide quality products in a market with so many other passionate entrepreneurs," he says. 

Jake's Bakes operates through online pre-orders only for pick up at its Minesing location. Its products are also available every Saturday at the Barrie Farmers' Market at city hall, and at other holiday markets in the Barrie and Springwater Township area.

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