Young baking prodigy who has made more than 1,300 cakes in a year on her own to open first Leeds shop
An entrepreneurial Leeds woman who went from being a ballerina to a full-time baker is about to set up her first shop in Stanningley - after producing more than 1,300 cakes on her own in just 12 months.
Sophie O'Connell, 25, trained as a professional dancer after leaving education.
However, after initially starting her cake business - Soph’s Cakes Leeds - from her parent's kitchen in her Pudsey home, the demand for her incredible creations was raised so high that she pursued her dream full time.
Sophie produces up to 35 intricate creations a week by hand for her loyal customers all over Leeds.
In March last year, she acquired a bakery unit in Swinnow Grange Mills, Stanningley but her plans to open to the public were scuppered by the Covid pandemic.
Now, Sophie is all set to open her shop and bakery on Sunday (May 23) - with hundreds of her customers excited to visit.
The new cafe will supply "sweet treats, coffees" and Sophie's favourite savoury pastries.
She also makes cupcakes - which have proved very popular with her supporters.
Speaking to the YEP ahead of the opening, Sophie said: "I used to bake around five cakes a week from home so it is amazing to now have a separate dedicated space to create from.
"I can't wait to open to the public.
"It is an industrial mill unit so has a rustic feel with an open kitchen where people can see things I do.
"I love chatting to people and getting to know my local community through the means of cake!"
Sophie produces an unbelievable quantity of full size cakes, cupcakes and treats for customers on a weekly basis.
Cakes range from dragons to globes and everything in between.
She told the YEP she can now make up to 35 cakes per week by hand.
Sophie added: "I’ve baked around 1,300 cakes since I’ve been in the bakery in March 2020.
"I had probably done around 300 before then.
"I do think I am mad!"
During the pandemic, Sophie was also lauded by the Pudsey community after switching her time to making bread and essential items for those who were shielding or isolating.
Sophie said: "In the pandemic I switched to making bread and other essential foodstuff which I ran on a delivery basis.
"It was a little pick me up for people and a replacement for food that wasn’t available in the shops."
Soph's Cakes Leeds opens in the Mills this Sunday.