With the help of pastry chefs in recipe development, Jane Mackey’s torte mixes hit grocery store shelves in November.
With a swirl of fresh fruit and layers of raspberry and citrus, Jane Lane tortes are not the typical boxed cake mix. Woodside’s Jane Mackey, the woman behind the torte mix, is setting out to shake up the baking aisle.
Launched in early November, Mackey said she has always been passionate about flavorful desserts. Cranberry coconut, chocolate orange and raspberry lemon are her three boxed offerings currently found at local grocers and on her website.
“I wanted to inspire people to bake again,” said Mackey, who moved to the Midpeninsula in 2006 before settling in Woodside this spring. “They don’t feel like they can do it because the mixes out there are pretty homogeneous. I wanted to create a bakery-quality dessert that anyone could make, that’s beautiful in a simple way.”
The recipes, which she crafted with pastry chefs while developing the company, take only 15 minutes of preparation time before they can be popped in the oven. She wanted “fail proof,” bakery-quality desserts. For example, her raspberry torte mix uses freeze-dried berries in the raspberry cake layer.
Mackey, who has a background in finance, got her start baking with her grandmothers, Mary and Linnis, who she says were amazing bakers.
“I always baked my whole life; it’s the thing I always bring (to parties),” she said. “The rest of the food feels a little irrelevant.”
She sold her accounting business a couple of years ago and dove into the food industry to take a “whole new direction” in her working life.
Mackey used to make chocolates and said she enjoys creating flavor combinations.
“It was challenging to have tasters because of COVID,” she said, noting that she started the company in 2020 and had some setbacks because of supply chain issues associated with the pandemic. “I knew a couple of people who still had to go into the office, so they brought them to their office.”
Friends and family also acted as guinea pigs.
She mixes and packages the boxes at KitchenTown in San Mateo, the Peninsula’s food industry incubator.
She understands that at $15 a box, the mixes seem expensive, but said they are still more affordable than picking up a high-quality dessert at a bakery. Plus there’s the added benefit of having a kitchen that smells great after baking it.
Buyers at specialty grocers, like Draeger’s and Bianchini’s, were receptive to the idea of a higher end cake mix, Mackey said.
“Honestly, almost everyone without even trying the sample said: ‘Yes, let’s try it,'” she said. “It’s something new and different on the market and they want to shake it up because it’s kind of (a) boring (space).”
Down the line, Mackey said she’d like to expand into other areas — like chocolates, baking equipment and carrying boxes for tortes. She also plans to produce new torte flavors in the new year and said she’d like to see her line nationwide at specialty stores.
The torte mixes are on shelves at 10 Bay Area stores, including Draeger’s Menlo Park and Los Altos locations; Bianchini’s in Portola Valley; Delucchi’s Market in Redwood City; The Market at Edgewood in Palo Alto; and The Willows Market in Menlo Park. It’ll be in more stores in January, Mackey said.
They’re also for sale online at janelane.co.