A WOMAN who learned to bake aged six with the guidance of her nan’s recipes, which always included vanilla, has whisked her dream of opening a bakery into reality.

Joanna Davies, 35, still uses the ‘old school’ methods she learned from her nan, Dorothy, while keeping updated on new fashions, teaching herself to mould and sculpt fondant and sugar paste.

But the mum-of-three wanted to make her lifelong “love of all things cake” a full-time occupation, and has now opened the café and bakery Vanilla Bean on the sloping Vale Street in Denbigh.

Ms Davies said: “From a very early age my nan taught me how to bake; she would spend most weekends at our house and, when leaving, she would write recipes on pieces of card for me and I would attempt to perfect each one.

“While I have always enjoyed keeping up with the latest fashion trends in cake decoration, seeing times change from intricate piped royal icing to gravity-defying cakes, my techniques have remained the way she taught me.

“I love all things cake and, with the growth in demand for custom made cakes, the opportunity for Vanilla Bean opened up and I grabbed it with both hands.”

The bakery offers a range of cupcakes, large decorative cakes and cookies, as well as light lunches such as toasties and paninis which can be enjoyed in its in-house café or among its tea garden views across the Vale of Clwyd.

There are also a variety of teas, including green and oolong, and coffees which can be flavoured with different syrups or honey sourced from a beekeeper in Caerwys.

Ms Davies said: “My hope is that the bakery will be somewhere relaxing and serene for customers to enjoy. Life can get so hectic and we want everyone who visits to experience a little bit of calmness and a sweet treat to recharge their batteries.

“Vegan options are at the forefront of our mind, along with gluten, wheat and dairy-free cakes. Meanwhile our takeaway packaging is made from plants, not plastics, which is extremely important to us.

“We are very passionate about the environment and enjoy meeting people from all walks of life. We want to create something for everyone to enjoy.”

Vanilla Bean (31, Vale Street) will hold an open and taster day on May 18, starting at 9.30am.

For more information call Vanilla Bean on 07957446141.