From cookie pies to loaded cheesecakes, Perth baker Lee Steele is showcasing his stylish creations at his new shop, Rabbit Hole Cakes.
Father-of-one Lee, 32, began his cake-baking business during lockdown last year when he started making cheesecakes to ease his boredom.
Now he’s taken on the former Goodfellow and Steven bakery on Perth’s High Street, which closed in May 2019.
Lee had been looking for a premises for about seven months and never envisioned he’d be able to afford the £20K rent per year. However with a bit of luck, he managed to bag a deal he couldn’t refuse.
He explained: “Every time we walked past this one, we never thought we could afford it.
“We emailed them off the cuff and asked if they would accept half of £20K – and they came back and said yes. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
“I think they realised the high street is dying out and it’s hospitality that’s going to feed into these places.”
From military to bakery
Lee joined the Army aged 16 and served with the Black Watch until 2012. During this time he was posted to Northern Ireland, The Falklands and Afghanistan.
He is a trained pastry chef with a decade of experience and was introduced to the hospitality industry through a friend.
He spent seven years with renowned Perth restaurant 63 Tay Street. Lee left his post in May to concentrate on growing his business.
The name Rabbit Hole Cakes was quite literally pulled out of a hat, and Lee loves that it has a magical and intriguing ring to it.
He went on: “I was at a crossroads and I took the decision to focus on it full-time. We are looking to get into the wedding market and do a real focus on celebration cakes. We also want to do London cakery styles, like cookie pies.
“Everything is on Instagram now and it has to look good and taste good. People want to be wowed.”
Lee has managed to stay below his £20k budget for setting up the shop and has taken on two members of staff. All the baking will be done on the premises.
To begin with, there won’t be a set menu. Instead, Lee will be experimenting with different flavours and combinations so he can see what is popular with customers.
He’s also looking forward to having some fun with festive bakes. In the New Year he is planning to create packages like movie night boxes.
What can you buy?
For his opening day, Lee was offering Kinder cookie pies. These are huge cookies that usually feature indulgent fillings, or are packed with candy and chocolates.
Lee’s contain Kinder white chocolate spread as well as a variety of different Kinder products mixed through. He sums them up as “Kinder overload”.
Among the other treats on offer this weekend will be a selection of 15 cupcakes with fillings from Oreo to caramel. And “double D” cookies, stuffed with different fillings including caramel, Milky Way and marshmallow.
Lee’s cakes range in price from £2.20 to £3.95. Celebration cakes are priced individually.
Rabbit Hole Cakes is open from Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and on Sundays 11am to 4pm. The opening hours may be extended closer to Christmas and Lee will keep his business pages updated.