Harrison & Griffiths Ltd is a small family business located in Nottingham.
After meeting in 2013, owners, Paulette Griffiths and Colin Harrison, discovered their shared passion for baking and in 2015 Harrison Caribbean Bakery became Harrison & Griffiths Caribbean Cakes. This is their incredible tasty success story.
Who are Colin Harrison and Paulette Griffiths?
I suppose I always wanted to bake. My Jamaican and Trinidadian parents taught me from the early age of 4 years old how to bake. My fondest memories are sitting in front of the coal fire, beating butter and sugar until it was snow white with a wooden spoon, making my Granma’s Jamaican Ginger cake.
I can remember trying to bake a birthday cake for my dolls by mixing eggs, flour and water. At school my home economics teacher said “Paulette you are natural.” I received top grades for my baking and culinary skills.
My dream was to travel the world on a cruise ship, working as a patisserie chef.
All my life I have been baking for friends and family then I met Colin and my passion for baking was transformed into a business.
I came to Nottingham, England in 1963 at the age of 9 from Jamaica. Growing up, I watched my mother bake her fruit and Rum cakes using a family recipe. I can remember it being very moist, the flavour of the spices being delicious, but the texture dense and heavy.
In 1984 I decided that I wanted to bake a cake that when you have a slice you just had to have another slice. Friends and family were happy to be honest critics. I am known as, THE CAKE MAN!
People travel to the Caribbean islands more these days, and tried the Jamaican rum cake (Black cake) they always say, “It is moist very dense and dark in appearance not the best.” My mission was to make a lighter textured cake that is full of spice and the distinctive taste of Jamaican white rum. It took me three years to perfect and it’s now paying off.
In 1990 my Caribbean fruit cake was on sale in Harrods of London!
During May 2015 we paid £25.00 for a stall at the Matlock Parish church market for our newly formed company Harrison & Griffiths Ltd, the response was INCREDIBLE! Every weekend we would sell out. This was the boost we needed. The feedback/advice from traders was inspiring and it gave us the confidence to explore bigger venues.
June 2015 we took a gamble and paid £336 to trade at Clumber Park Food and Drink Festival. Here Trudi Waldram a Food and Drink Adviser from Feast Food Forum tasted our cakes. This was the turning point for our business. We received funding and business training from European Union Feast Project and Nottingham Feast Food Forum.
Running your business means you have to learn new skills very quickly. For example we had to learn how to pitch to buyers, source ingredients, and maintain quality and quantity control accounts, which were all very stressful at the beginning. Feast Food Forum gave us support in which they did an assessment to identify our weaknesses and then provided us with the necessary training.
August 2018 we rebranded and launched the new website the same year our Caribbean Fruit cake and Jamaican Ginger Cake was credited with the Great Taste Award from the Welbeck Estate award winning farm and Deli Shop, 2017. We have had a very successful 3 years selling our products at Food and Drink Festivals, travelling as far as Scotland and Wales.
In September 2018, we had the opportunity to meet Emmerdale actress, Gaynor Faye, who took time to visit our stand and taste our cakes. Gaynor said “delicious” before leaving with one of our Great Taste Award winning Jamaican Ginger cake.
Chefs such as Rosemary Shrager and most recently, Paul Rankin, were amongst those who have tasted and purchased our cakes. Famous French chef, Jean-Christophe Novelli, said, “Well done some of the best cakes I have tasted, moist delicious full of flavour. You have nothing to worry about you will do well.”
Celebrity chef and musician, Levi Roots, and crew remarked, “Jamaican Rum Cake delicious. Ginger and Fruit cakes are so moist could have eaten another piece.”
Even at the start of 2019 on January 21st Harrison & Griffiths Ltd was selected by the BBC to appear on their television program, The Farmers Country Showdown, series 3 episode 11. It was memorable day filming at the Great British Food Festival.
Tip for Making Your Own Cake At Home
When making an Jamaican rum cake, mince your dried mix fruit then transfer them into a large glass jar. Add the spice rum and ruby wine, stir, and finally leave for as long as possible in a dark place.
We plan to take Caribbean cake baking to a new dimension, continue reinventing traditional handed down recipes and creating our own modern-day classics to suit the modern day consumer. For 2020 we are already adapting to make Gluten Free and Vegan recipes.
Our hope is to also increase business to business sales to high end delis and farm shops and to supply to companies for corporate gifts, wedding fairs, and corporate events.
The overall mission is to establish Harrison & Griffiths UK shops where we can bring a taste of the Caribbean to the UK and fill the gap in the market for quality Caribbean cakes and desserts.
Our emphasis is quality and our ethos is ‘Love & Care make the Finest Cakes’.
To get a taste of the Caribbean visit Harrison & Griffiths Ltd website: https://www.harrisonandgriffiths.co.uk/