People and Ideas

Home baker finds sweet success during the pandemic

By: - November 24, 2021

Jay Castillo worked as a professional makeup artist for 12 years.  But his business was stalled during the pandemic.

Left with not much to do, Castillo decided to give his passion for baking a chance. This led to the December 2020 opening of Nancy’s Cake Hauz which he named after his mother.

“Sadly, the pandemic hit me badly. But a gift that I received during this pandemic is how I’m able to venture into baking. I can finally tell people that I bake for a living,” says Castillo.

The COVID-19 pandemic affected a lot of people, including Castillo, and led to the closure of several businesses and the loss of hundreds of jobs. But Castillo said he did not want to just sit in a corner and feel depressed.

“I love cooking, it’s my therapy. I switched to baking because my mom used to bake when we were young and ran a small bakeshop,” Castillo recalled.

And what he did for therapy became a good business opportunity.

Jay Castillo crafted a meaningful future through his culinary pursuit with Nancy’s Cake Hauz during the pandemic. | Find out more about Nancy’s Cake Hauz here.

Taking a lot of risks

However, his decision to shift to baking was never easy. And he took a lot of risks.

Castillo said he had to use his savings from being a professional makeup artist to purchase baking equipment and ingredients.

“I had to invest. I needed to do research and try it out. Sure, I failed a couple of times but [eventually], I was able to create a recipe that I am proud of,” Castillo said.

Then, he was faced with the challenge of finding good packaging and how to sell his products.

He tried online selling and was rejected several times, but he never gave up.  He told himself to try even harder and that there was nothing to be ashamed of with what he was doing.

“It’s [still] food. The only difference is it [the sweets that I bake] can’t be eaten three times a day and some people refuse to buy it because they are on a diet,” he said.

Almost a year since he started his business, Castillo is now proud to say that he already earned the trust and patronage of some Cebuanos.

Nancy’s Cake Hauz is now known for its yummy dream cake or their cake in a can.

Still, he continues to innovate. Every time that he would run out of supply of tin cans, Castillo said, he would use microwavable containers for his dream cake.

Customizable cakes by Nancy’s Cake Hauz start from P1,500. | Photo: Jay Castillo | Order a sweet delight now.

Creating Masterpieces

He has also started to expand their menu by adding more cake selections.

Nancy’s Cake Hauz is now offering carrot, banana, mango, and ube cakes that are made using fresh ingredients.  They also accept customized orders.

And very soon, Castillo will also be launching his rum-infused cake, the latest addition to his masterpieces.

“It’s heartwarming to hear positive reviews about my products because I started everything from scratch. I do all the shopping, baking, cleaning, boxing, marketing, selling, and sometimes the delivery,” Castillo said.

With the threats caused by the pandemic, Castillo said, he plans to continue with his cake business to ensure his safety.

“I’m always at home. I just go out when I need to buy something. When I’m doing makeup, I face a lot of people and you can’t practice social distancing. There’s a big possibility that you can get infected by the COVID-19 virus,” he said.

Nancy’s Cake Hauz continues to expand their menu, offering customers a savory treat. | Photo: Jay Castillo | Treat yourself to various cake selections.

Newfound purpose

Castillo said Nancy’s Cake Hauz is more than just a business.  It is a newfound purpose and a fulfillment of something that he has been wanting to do but deferred for a long time.

“There’s always a [right] time and place for everything. I’m still in the stage of learning and coping when it comes to baking. [Just] don’t stop learning because there’s no limit to learning,” says Castillo.

For your orders, reservations, and inquiries, contact Nancy’s Cake Hauz’ Facebook page.


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