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Cwmbran cake maker to close town centre shop due to rising electricity prices: But Karen will continue her business from home

man and woman in cake shop
Karen and her son, Jacob

The owner of Karen’s Cake Studio in Cwmbran town centre is closing her shop but will continue to make her cakes from home. Karen Ash said electricity price rises and uncertainty over its cost from April 2023 means she can’t continue as a high street shop.

Twelve years ago she ordered a cake for her husband’s 50th birthday party and felt she could make a better one. The following year was her eldest son’s 18th birthday so she baked a cake herself and the positive reaction from friends and family led to lots of requests and so her business was born.

Karen, 60, said: “It went from a hobby into something that was getting bigger and better. I decided I want a little outlet as people were saying ‘aw, they’re brilliant. You should be doing it professionally’. So I started saving and I put some money towards a little shop in Old Cwmbran. My son used to come in and give me a hand now and again.

“Then all of a sudden we were hit with lockdown.” She saw an increase in customers who wanted cakes and treats to be made and delivered to houses: “People were in tears when we used to deliver them.”

In 2021 she opened her studio in Cwmbran Centre to sell takeaway treats, drinks, snacks and take cake orders face-to-face from customers.

“It’s been hard. Neither of us has a day off. Because of this electricity situation and we are baking in-store when our fixed rate (for electricity) goes we are not going to be able to stay. There is no limit for business. They could turn around and say ‘well it’s going to be £5,000 a month’. I can’t afford that. We are all electric in here.

“We are leaving in February and the fixed-rate expires in April. If we don’t get out in February, because we have a break clause, we are stuck here for the next three and a half years. I’m not a limited company, I’m just a sole trader so I’m not going to put my house on the line for nobody.

“We are paying about £800 a quarter (for electricity), so it’s not too bad. If we knew what it was going to be perhaps we could budget for it. Everything has gone up

“I’ve got a good clientele, a nice following. We can still do deliveries. It’s just a shame. We’ve got nice customers who come in.”

Check out some of Karen’s cake creations

Price rises affecting her business

Karen told me about some of the price rises for ingredients during her time in the shop.

  • Two litres of milk was £1- Now £1.65
  • One egg was 7p- Now 15p and she uses six eggs in a cake
  • Butter was £1.25 ‘a block’- Now £2.15

“I’m trying not to put my prices up. I would like to stay here, but because we are working so hard as well. Back in January, I was diagnosed with cancer, which is fine, it’s all gone. I couldn’t have time off. I had to have an operation and was supposed to be off for two weeks. I was off for four days which in a way was a good thing as I had no time to dwell. I’ve been feeling how hard it’s getting. I’ve been thinking it’s time to slow down.

“At least we can continue. It will be nice. It’s been lovely. We’ve met some lovely customers.”

Her last cake will go out from the shop in late January before she starts baking from home.  She plans to hold an open day to sell the fridges, displays and shop items when the closing date is confirmed.

Contact Karen’s Cake Studio

She is continuing to take orders in her shop and ready for her new home-based business:


a sign about custom cakes
Karen’s sign shows what skills go into every cake she sells

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Cwmbran cake maker to close town centre shop due to rising electricity prices: But Karen will continue her business from home