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Jane Asher's love of cake making began when she started baking as a child, helping her mother, Margaret, in the kitchen. Then, when a young mum herself, she spent hours making novelty cakes in the shape of animals and fairytale characters for her three children. They were so unusual and good that a friend suggested she try to get a book of her designs published. This did not prove to be an easy task, but eventually Pelham Books signed her up. The book was a surprise best seller, and this led Jane to take things another step further by opening her own shop. She found an old art gallery to lease in Chelsea, London, and persuaded her bank manager to give her a loan in order that she could refit the shop and the basement kitchen. Jane Asher Party Cakes opened its doors for business for the first time in 1990, and has since grown to become one of the country's foremost bespoke cake makers. Jane has built up the business to sell a selection of mail order cakes within the UK as well as a large range of sugarcraft items for worldwide sale. Jane's manager, David Trumper, has been with her since the beginning, and the shop employs a small, highly skilled team of cake decorators.
Jane Asher is well known in the UK for her acting, business ventures and writing.
She has been working professionally in film, theatre and radio since she was 5 years old – her first appearance was in the film Mandy. Her other film roles include the original film of Alfie, Dream Child, Paris By Night, and the comedy, Death At A Funeral directed by Frank Oz . Her many television appearances include Brideshead Revisited, Wish Me Luck, The Mistress, The Choir, Closing Numbers, Crossroads, New Tricks, Poirot, Miss Marple, The Palace and two series of the successful BBC 1 comedy, The Old Guys. She was also a semi-regular character in the BBCTV drama, Holby City, playing Lady Byrne. Jane has twice been nominated for BAFTA awards and has received the Sony Award for her work on radio. Jane has worked extensively in the theatre, appearing many times at London’s National Theatre and in the West End - most recently in the West End transfer of of Festen; The World's Biggest Diamond at the Royal Court Theatre in London, and Bedroom Farce at the Rose Theatre Kingston, directed by Sir Peter Hall. She finished a UK tour of the classic play, The Reluctant Debutante in the Spring of 2011, and in the autumn was back working at the Rose Theatre, Kingston in two plays - playing Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest, and in a rarely performed play, A Farewell To The Theatre, both directed by Stephen Unwin. Jane has recently finished filming a new six part TV series for the BBC written and directed by Steven Poliakof, Dancing on the Edge, and a feature film called I Give It A Year.
Jane is a successful writer, having written three best-selling novels – The Longing, The Question and Losing It. She has also had more than a dozen ‘lifestyle’ and cake decorating books published. Jane's last cake decorating book, Cakes For Fun was published in 2005, and her most recent book, Beautiful Baking is now available.
Jane has also developed the Jane Asher range of cake mixes, which has become a best selling brand.
Her charity work in the UK is well respected. Jane is President of the National Autistic Society, Parkinson's UK, Arthritis Care and the West London Family Service Unit. She is Vice-President of Autistica and the Child Accident Prevention Trust. Jane is also a Patron of Bowel Cancer UK, The Scoliosis Association and the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Unit at UCH in London.
In 2001 Jane received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Bristol.