Jill’s cakes are moments with her mom

Jill Abels in her element.

Until her death in 2018, Colleen Abels baked all the cakes for her family’s birthdays – her passion for baking lives on in her daughter, Jill.

This 19-year-old from Durbanville is using the lessons she learnt from her mother to kindle a small business in between her second-year social-work studies at UWC.

“I was a 6-year-old who just wanted to help my mother while she was baking,” says Jill, describing how her mother’s skills were passed down to her until she could make a better chocolate cake than her mother – that’s according to her father, says Jill.

Bubu’s Bakes, which she promotes by word of mouth and on social media, took off during her university holidays in December with a R400 start-up loan from her father, whom she has since paid back.

Jill says that other than her fears, there was nothing holding her back.

“I knew this was what I had to do,” she says.

Now back at varsity, she is having to find ways to fit making cakes in between her studies.That has meant dropping from five to two orders a week and declining a lot of the bigger orders, but she is determined to keep going.

Her father, George, and older brother, David, double up as her personal assistants and delivery men, she says.

“We always deliver before curfew, and we make sure to maintain a distance between clients when we deliver, so we meet the clients outside of their homes, ensuring that we stick to the strict social distancing.”

Jill says that when she is baking she feels close to her mother.

“When I feel sad or wish that my mother was still here, I would just start baking and everything would suddenly feel okay again.”

A TikTok cake baked by Jill Abels.
Jill with her mother, Colleen.
Another one of Jill’s creations.