Arlene comes from a family of bakers and cake makers.
Her mother was a great West Indian cake baker.
In the 60s, each weekend was taken up with the resourcefulness of her mother, who used to bake cakes for most West Indian celebrations. In particular Weddings, Christenings and Easter. West Indian migrants would come from wide and far to buy the cakes she made from her little kitchen in Hackney.
Arlene is therapist, yoga teacher, birth-worker, doula and beekeeper. She now also sells her very different cakes to farmers markets in London.
Around 3 years ago The Hornbeam Collective put an advertisement out for local bakers. They had strict guidelines to work with, organic flour and hopefully not use any animal products in the bread making. Arlene had been working with spelt and rye from home and developed her own particular recipe using sourdough (mother of rye) and ingredients, which only used spelt or rye flour and mixed seeds, herbs and essential oils.
Always willing to meet a challenge, Arlene started this new venture of bread baking and honey production. They combined well, but when supply of honey ran out very quickly, she felt that this was another opportunity to develop the business. The production of good healthy wholesome cakes made without wheat. Clean Gluten Free cakes, that everyone could enjoy, whether they were gluten intolerant, coeliac or not.
Through altering and experiment with flours and seeds, Arlene tries to produce something for everyone. When you visit her stall, most, if not all of the cakes are diary free (substitute traditional white flour with more wholesome combination of healthful ingredients; like quinoa, buckwheat flour, rice flour, coconut flour, spelt, almonds, coconut sugar, sorghum flour, amaranth, maple syrup, agave, coconut oil).
The sugar content used is substituted with low natural GI sweeteners like maple syrup, agave, stevia and coconut sugar, and unrefined sugar when needed. Some cakes, breads and muffins, and pastries use spelt.
Arlene does not use honey in her cakes. Although she is a beekeeper, but she does sell her local honey on the stall when in stock.
She will not sell any honey other than what she has produced from her bees.