A Galaxy cookie crumble cookie and a Ferrero Rocher bun? Yes, please!
After discovering Halima at the Headington market a few months ago, I had the pleasure of speaking to her one on one to find out more about the business and her passion for baking. Halima set up the business in 2017 and began baking around 2014. She bakes all sorts of delicious sweet treats including brownies, cookies, and buns.
Halima the Baker can be found at the Headington Market every other Saturday (be sure to follow on Instagram to get the exact dates @halimathebaker) and the Summertown Market every single Sunday.
After (shamelessly) trying the majority of these mouth-watering treats myself, I can assure you that they are worth every bite! Not only were they affordable but I could just tell how freshly baked everything was! I absolutely love the Biscoff brownies (I am a sucker for anything with Biscoff), the Galaxy cookie crumble cookie, and the Kinder billionaires bar!
How did you start the business?
It was quite unexpected. I started baking as a hobby when all my friends went to university on the side whilst I was working full time. I was not very good at the beginning, but I just started practicing and began to get better over time. My family and friends then encouraged me to set up an Instagram page to showcase my work- I did not have the intention to sell anything. It snowballed from that as people started messaging me to order cakes, cupcakes, and brownies and it just grew from there!
Why cookies and brownies? What was your inspiration?
When I started I solely did cakes mainly but I found that cookies and brownies (besides being my personal favourite) were easier for people to eat at a market and more ideal to sell in a market environment. Cookies, brownies, and buns sold better and people preferred the flavours.
How did you grow the business in Oxford?
Firstly, it was through friends and family, and then when I started the Instagram page, it got me a bit more out there. Moving to the markets helped me meet a lot of people.
What is your favourite part of what you do?
It is either the actual making of things or trying to make new things, or it is meeting people at the markets. I am quite a people person and I like getting to know people better- building strong relationships with my regular customers. There are people who I have known for a long time whereby I have been baking cakes for their kids since their first birthday which is really lovely. This is definitely why I love doing what I do.
What is your favourite item from your menu?
The new Ferrero Rocher bun or the Kinder brownie.
Any challenges you have faced with the business? How did Covid affect you?
The pandemic actually helped to boost the business as I was able to do this more full time which was helpful.
The main struggle right now is the cost-of-living crisis. It is trying to find that balance of being affordable, maintaining the good quality, and trying to appeal to everyone.
Where is your go-to place to eat in Oxford?
It is Mowgli’s at the Westgate Rooftop for a good Indian. My friends and I love it.
Do you have a celebrity chef that you look up to or a role model?
My favourite celebrity chef is Cupcake Jemma. She started off very similarly to how I did- she began on market stalls and grew from there.
My role models are definitely my parents. They have helped me out so much and they have worked so hard throughout their whole life, and I always look up to them.
What are your future plans for the business?
I would like to start doing postal bakes, hopefully from next year as I have had quite a few requests for this- I just need to figure out the logistics!
“The best things in life are sweet” – Halima the Baker