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The Fat Sparrow Bakery is whipping up bakes galore

The Fat Sparrow Bakery, run by Graeme Mackay, offers a wide range of cakes and bakes that can all be delivered to your door.
The Fat Sparrow Bakery, run by Graeme Mackay, offers a wide range of cakes and bakes that can all be delivered to your door.

It was a cold, wintry night in Sutherland.

The snow pounded, the wind thrashed, but inside the house the baker baked, and baked, and baked…

This scene is not the setting of a fairytale, it’s actually the beginning of a long-held family story of Graeme Mackay at The Fat Sparrow Bakery.

Graeme Mackay, The Fat Sparrow Bakery.

With a long line of bakers in his bloodline stretching back to his great-great-grandmother, it’s easy to see why The Fat Sparrow has taken flight in Aberdeen.

Cupcakes, celebration cakes and luscious cinnamon rolls are the port of call at the bakery which delivers to customers’ doors throughout the city.

It began as a lockdown project last summer, but its popularity has allowed Graeme to go full-time with the business, which he’s loving every minute of.

And with plans to open a premises within the next year, The Fat Sparrow is set to become even plumper.

We talked to Graeme to find out more about the business:


Graeme torching his signature cupcakes.

Q. You grew up in Lairg, Sutherland. Apparently, your family has a long history with baking?

Cooking has always been in the family; it’s been a wholesome upbringing.

While most others my age growing up were out playing football, I was in watching Ready, Steady, Cook. There was one rule in the house: ‘you can make what you want, as long as you clean up after yourself’.

There’s a family story that goes way back to my great-great-grandmother.

Pictured are chocolate and salted caramel, lemon meringue, raspberry and vanilla and spiced ginger cupcakes.

She was living in a small place just between Lairg and Tongue and it was a windy, snowy night – you could set the scene.

She was baking non-stop and her husband and her boys were out on the hill. It started getting worse with the snow and she couldn’t stop baking.

She made scones, pancakes and everything else. When they came back home around midnight, there was all this food that they could never get through.

But later that night, around 3am, there was a knock on the door.

A funeral party had gotten stuck in the snow between Lairg and Tongue and they were seeking shelter from the weather outside.

And there it was, all the food was ready and waiting for them. It was meant to be.

The Fat Sparrow’s moreish iced cinnamon rolls.

Q. How did The Fat Sparrow Bakery begin?

I’ve always had a passion for baking. I’d bring cakes and stuff into offices or make birthday cakes for friends and family.

They always encouraged me to start selling them, and having that earworm makes you start to think it can work.

“I’ve always had a passion for baking,” Graeme Mackay.

But being on furlough with my job at Visit Aberdeenshire during Covid definitely gave me the platform for it.

I just knew I’d get bored during furlough, and I’d always wanted to try baking out and see if people would buy it and enjoy it.

So, I set up the Fat Sparrow Bakery.

The Fat Sparrow’s elegantly designed packaging.

I was doing that part-time in June 2020 and taken back to work in August, which I managed to juggle for a few months until March of this year when I went full-time with Fat Sparrow.

For keeping my confidence and enthusiasm levels up during lockdown, the bakery has been really great. I’ve met such lovely people and made friends with people around Aberdeen.

Q. Why the unusual name for the bakery?

It was probably around 10 years ago when I was at my sister’s house in Aberdeen. Her name’s Rachel, and I was just sitting having a cup of coffee in the backroom and this bird landed on the wall.

We both thought, ‘gosh, this is quite a fat bird, what is that?’ (laughs).

Eventually, we realised it was a sparrow but it had lost its features because it was so big. Then we thought what a great name for a business that would be, so The Fat Sparrow Bakery was born.

Q. What’s the ethos of The Fat Sparrow Bakery?

It’s very much what I would describe as a small batch bakery.

I am cooking from home and I want the business to grow into a place where I do have that front-facing aspect with people coming into the shop.

“I deliver orders myself around the Aberdeen area and it’s a lovely thing to do,” Graeme Mackay.

At the moment, everything is online, which keeps things clean and tidy from my side. I deliver orders myself around the Aberdeen area and it’s a lovely thing to do.

You can almost guarantee when you drop off the cakes at somebody’s door, you’ll get a message in an hour or two thanking you for them.

Q. What’s some of your most popular offerings?

At the moment, it’s centred around three main things: cinnamon rolls, cupcakes and celebration cakes.

I’d say the most popular would be the cinnamon rolls. They’re very American style; they have fluffy bread with the cinnamon swirled through it then this fluffy cream with cream cheese icing on top.

They’re absolutely divine when they’re warmed up alongside a cup of coffee. At the moment I’ve got an apple cinnamon one right now which is proving very popular.

“I think what sets me out from others is the range of flavours I offer,” Graeme Mackay.

Other than that, the cupcakes are also going down really well. We have a signature range including lemon meringue, raspberry and vanilla, spiced ginger and chocolate with salted caramel.

Q. What makes The Fat Sparrow Bakery special?

I think what sets me out from others is the range of flavours I offer.

But also, the aesthetics of the cakes I’m putting out look a bit different.

As one person described it, ‘it’s like cupcakes for adults’.

“I hope that next year I’d have my own premises for sure,” Graeme Mackay.

They are pleasurable to look at, really tasty with flavour combinations that you wouldn’t normally get, so I put a lot of time into making them absolutely correct and the way that I want them to be.

I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to it – if something’s not right I’ll start again. But also, I think the fact that I’m delivering to people’s doors is different. You can put in an order at 10am and have your order by 2pm that same day.

Q. Future plans?

I hope that next year I’d have my own premises for sure.

I’d like to see the business go into a unit somewhere here in the city where you can grab a coffee and a cake and things.

You can order from The Fat Sparrow Bakery online via its website: </p> <p>https://www.thefatsparrowbakery.com/[/caption</p> <p>]</p> <p>There are a few other projects on my mind too. One of them is looking towards a preserves and pickles range, that’s something I’ve always had an interest in.</p> <p>I’d like to look at that, but that’s probably going to be a few years out yet. Until I have my premises and staff able to help me out, then I can start to look at other proj</p> <p>

There are a few other projects on my mind too. One of them is looking towards a preserves and pickles range, that’s something I’ve always had an interest in.

I’d like to look at that, but that’s probably going to be a few years out yet. Until I have my premises and staff able to help me out, then I can start to look at other projects.


To find out more or to place an order visit The Fat Sparrow Bakery online

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