With a swirl of fresh fruit and layers of raspberry and citrus, Jane Lane pies aren’t your typical boxed cake mix. Jane Mackey of Woodside, the woman behind the torte mixture, sets out to shake up the baking aisle.
Launched in early November, Mackey said she had always been passionate about tasty desserts. Cranberry Coconut, Chocolate Orange, and Raspberry Lemon are her three boxed offerings that can be found at local grocers and on her website right now.
“I wanted to inspire people to cook again,” said Mackey, who moved to the Midpeninsula in 2006 before moving to Woodside this spring. “They don’t feel like they can do it because the mixes are pretty seamless. I wanted to create a bakery quality dessert that anyone could make, it’s beautiful in a simple way.”
The recipes, which she developed with pastry chefs while growing the business, only take 15 minutes of preparation time, before they can be sautéed in the oven. She wanted bakery-quality “trouble-proof” desserts. For example, her Raspberry Torte Mix uses freeze-dried berries in the raspberry cake layer.
Mackey, who has a background in finance, began cooking with her grandmothers, Mary and Linnis, who she said were amazing bakers.
“I’ve always cooked my whole life; it’s the thing I always bring (to parties),” she said. “The rest of the food seems a bit out of place.”
She sold her accounting business a few years ago and entered the food industry to take a “whole new direction” in her professional life.
Mackey used to make chocolates and says she likes to create flavor combinations.
“It was difficult to have tasters because of COVID,” she said, noting that she started the business in 2020 and had experienced some setbacks due to supply chain issues associated with the pandemic. “I knew a few people who still had to come to the office, so they brought them to their office.”
Friends and family also acted like guinea pigs.
She mixes and packages the cans 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 always more affordable than buying a high-quality dessert from a bakery. Plus, there is the added bonus of having a kitchen that smells great after cooking.
Buyers of specialty grocery stores, like Draeger’s and Bianchini’s, were receptive to the idea of a premium cake mix, Mackey said.
“Honestly, almost everyone without even trying the sample said, ‘Yeah, let’s try it,'” she said. “It’s something new and different in the market and they want to shake it up because it’s a little (a) boring (space).”
Ultimately, Mackey said she would like to expand into other areas – like chocolates, baking equipment, and transport boxes for pies. She also plans to produce new pie flavors in the New Year and said she would like to see her line nationwide in specialty stores.
Torte Blends are on the shelves at 10 Bay Area stores including: Draeger’s Menlo Park and Los Altos stores; Bianchini in the Portola Valley; the Delucchi Market in Redwood City; Edgewood Market in Palo Alto; The willow market in Menlo Park. It will be in more stores in January, Mackey said.
They are for sale online at janelane.co.