Pastry chef Kara Payne grew up in Northam, Western Australia, and spent years baking sweets and pastries in restaurants and cake shops in Perth.
Up until the end of 2016, Kara was in a cycle many busy people would be familiar with, of using sugar and carbs for energy.
“My diet was incredibly poor,” Kara says.
“I was tired all the time and was on a cycle of sugar addiction where I would use sugar and carbs to keep me going throughout the day. I was constantly getting sick and I would sleep away my days off work.”
Knowing she had to make a change, Kara decided to clean up her diet, cutting out sugar—a difficult thing in her line of work—and focussing on her health. This major lifestyle change led to the creation of a line of healthy cake mixes, designed to help people who want or need sugar-free and gluten-free foods to still enjoy dessert.
“In early 2017 I really missed baking sweets so I decided to create a sugar-free, gluten-free chocolate cake recipe that wouldn’t have negative impacts on my health but most importantly would taste as good as the real thing,” she says.
“It took me seven months of experimentation to create my chocolate cake mix because I refused to compromise on taste and quality.”
Other people loved it too, and 180 Cakes was born when a nine-year-old living with Type 1 Diabetes had a slice of Kara’s chocolate cake and it didn’t spike her blood sugar levels.
“Her mother told me how rare it was for her to not only eat cake that didn’t affect her blood sugar levels, but for her to enjoy the taste and want to eat it again,” Kara says.
Kara spent the rest of the year creating recipes including biscuits and brownies, then turned them into dry baking mixes.
“I found feedback from children living with diabetes to be particularly relevant because kids are by far the harshest critics and they are brutally honest which makes for fantastic consumer feedback,” Kara says.
“Since changing my diet I had realised that the sweet, sugary rush that traditional baked goods offered really wasn’t worth the poor health that it inevitably led to.
In February 2018, 180 Cakes packet mixes were born. The range is loved by keto, low carb, diabetic and healthy consumers as they taste delicious even though they are sugar-free and gluten-free.
Kara has since added new baking mixes including caramel cake and cinnamon donuts to the range and expanded the business internationally.