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‘Life’s too short for what ifs’: Ditching 9-5 let 28-year-old Fraserburgh baker open cake studio

The passing of Alanna Sinclair Nugent's granda played a huge part in the baker starting her entrepreneurial journey, too.

Alanna Sinclair Nugent. All images: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson
Alanna Sinclair Nugent. All images: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

Does anyone remember the Tom & Jerry cupcake kit that was once available in most supermarkets?

The cake mix that was ready to be bunged into a tin after adding an egg or two. The sickeningly sweet (and highly addictive) sugar icing. The edible toppers that had the two iconic characters’ faces on them.

You’ll find tray bakes galore at Lana-Lou’s Cake Studio in Fraserburgh.

They were a huge part of my childhood as they took no time at all to prepare and tasted delicious – and it seems that 28-year-old Alanna Sinclair Nugent adored them just as much.

“I used to be terrible at baking when I was younger,” says the Fraserburgh local, who now runs Lana-Lou’s Cake Studio.

Inside the studio.

“A Tom & Jerry’s cupcake mix was a stretch for me, or adding melted chocolate to my grandma Rita’s fairy cakes.

“[Then] my sister had taken a liking for baking. Being the little sister, I copied her.

“I soon realised that maybe I wasn’t so terrible after all…”

Leaving 9-5 was kneaded for budding baker Alanna to purse a new career

Alanna was introduced to the world of hospitality whilst working at a local café as a teen. She served customers, made drinks and helped in the kitchen.

Leaving school at 17 after completing her Highers, Alanna started (and completed) a four-year-long apprenticeship at Gray & Adams. She stayed on for an additional five years before leaving the company.

Alanna worked at Gray & Adams for nine years before launching her business.

She said: “I was definitely part of the furniture so it was a bittersweet departure, but I knew I had to do it.

“In 2019, we experienced the sudden passing of my granda, Fred, so this was part of the reason I decided to leave my 9-5 and step into the self-employed life.

“That, along with the pandemic, made me realise that life’s too short for what ifs, so I decided it was time to take the leap [and leave my job] in 2021.”

Lana-Lou’s Cake Studio: how it went from a dream to reality

Alanna continued to bake in her free time over the years at Gray & Adams for friends and family.

Lana-Lou’s Cake Studio was registered as a business prior to her departure from the company in December 2018.

The baker and her close-knit team make celebration cakes, blondies, brownies and more.

“I had lots of help from my family – shout out to my auntie Moira for her connections to the right folks,” added the talented baker.

Based in Fraserburgh, Lana-Lou’s Cake Studio originally started in Alanna’s kitchen.

She quickly outgrew the space – which she admitted her husband Ian (who goes by Nuge) would agree with – and moved into a shop front. It is located on the High Street.

You’ll spot the venue on Fraserburgh’s High Street.

Now, the entrepreneur is assisted by mum Gill, part-time baker Ava and “Saturday helps” Murray and Jorja.

“They are always ready to muck in, run the shop when I have to make my wedding cake deliveries and I always come back to a spotless space,” Alanna went on to say.

The cakes and bakes to expect from Alanna, who spends ‘anything from 30 to 60 hours a week working’

Lana-Lou’s Cake Studio offers wedding and occasion cakes – where Alanna’s “passion truly lies” – as well as seasonal specials, treat boxes, cookie kits and cupcakes.

It opens as a café on Fridays and Saturdays, too. Customers can expect brownies, blondies, cakes, traybakes, coffee, iced drinks and hot chocolates.

Alanna said: “I love being apart of so many occasions, whether big or small.

A Christmas celebration cake.

“The salted caramel brownies are always a fast-seller on the weekends, but any of the brownies are.

“The most popular cake flavour is definitely white chocolate and raspberry, followed closely by orange and passionfruit.

“[My favourite would be] any of the brownies. I’m a big chocolate fan.

Alanna is a big chocolate fan.

“Depending on the time of year and what orders I have that week, I can spend anything from 30 to 60 hours working.”

Her ingredients are sourced from local shops and businesses, including Rennie’s Eggs, and online wholesalers and retailers.

What’s in store for Lana-Lou’s Cake Studio in 2024?

Since starting her business, the entrepreneur has loved being her own boss.

“Decorating cakes lets me be as creative as I want, especially when I have such fantastic customers who trust me to do my own thing,” she said.

“I’m also a textbook people pleaser so being able to bring joy to friends and families with cake is really what it’s all about.”

Lana-Lou’s Cake Studio also opens as a café. 

Alanna will be spending the winter months planning for the year ahead.

She went on to say: “There will be lots of new plans and ideas being hatched very soon.

“One big event I have coming up is Your Wedding Exhibition.

“After five years and many, many wedding cakes, I’ve decided to take the plunge and showcase my skills and creative flare to all the future brides and grooms in the north-east. I cannot wait!”

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