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Tyler Morning Telegraph
By KIMBERLY ALLEN, Food Editor
As a child, Janie Clapp disliked the term "Plain Jane." So much so, she said, that her mother practically banned the use of the term in their home.
Well, Ms. Clapp, all grown up now, doesn't seem have a problem with the term anymore in fact, she's hoping to capitalize on it.
Inside her homey little business, at 308 E. Front St. in Tyler, Ms. Clapp, along with business partner Day Shelmire, is baking and selling "Plain Jane" pound cakes.
Don't, however, be fooled by the name.
Ms. Clapp's pound cakes are anything but ordinary and certainly not plain unless, that is, you ask for them that way.
"She has always made the best pound cake in the whole world," Shelmire said.
Unlike ordinary pound cakes drizzled with a layer of heavy icing, Ms. Clapp fills the center of her cakes with scrumptious fillings such as Italian cream, chocolate sauce or lemon curd.
"We fill the hole. That's something I haven't seen before," Shelmire said.
Each cake is packaged in Ms. Clapp's signature yellow and white stripped box and tied with a periwinkle blue ribbon.
A part of the proceeds from sales are donated to the Rockin' C Ranch, a Christian camp, retreat center and outdoor education center located on a working ranch. The ranch provides scholarships to disadvantaged kids who can't afford to attend camp, Shelmire said.
Janie's Cakes may be ringing a bell for some. The artist, turned baker, has made and decorated birthday and wedding cakes for about 22 years.
"I'm excited about the change. I'll miss doing birthdays and wedding for my friends but I'm ready to sell just pound cakes," she said.
Ms. Clapp began cooking as a child under the watchful eye of her mother. But baking with her great grandmother turned out to be icing on the cake.
"She really instilled the love of baking in me," she said. "She was my inspiration."
She uses the top-secret recipe they created years ago in her business today.
Ms. Clapp said she uses only the freshest ingredients for her cakes, including fresh eggs, real dairy products and imported Madagascar vanilla, which sells for $200 a gallon.
"People today don't know what a real homemade pound cake tastes like. They get these processed cakes that are full of artificial goop and heated and dried out in these new fangled hot-air ovens. They're so dry and bland. Our goal is make a cake that is as close as you can get to homemade," she said.
"If we have to limit production to maintain quality we will," Shelmire said. "We're going to use the best ingredients and take as much time as it takes to produce the very best pound cake."
Janie's Cakes is open for business from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. Be sure to ask for a free sample.