Generating smiles through sweet treats in Woy Woy
With 32 flavours of fudge, plus gluten-free cakes, brownies and cookies, Fudge Monkey is gaining a reputation as the go-to sweets shop on the Central Coast and beyond. People are visiting the Woy Woy store and café from as far as Mudgee – a sure sign that this is just the beginning for owners Ganesh Crumlin and Angie O’Sullivan.
The duo started Fudge Monkey in 2015 after deciding it was time to escape the corporate world. They chose the confectionary industry for a simple reason: to make people happy. “We wanted to generate smiles and that’s how it came up,” says Ganesh.
First was the fudge, hence the name, but the company soon moved into cakes and other treats. Now, 100 percent of Fudge Monkey products are gluten-free, while 80 percent are vegan. There are even sugar-free options, and Ganesh and Angie pride themselves on crafting baked goods for people with allergies and dietary preferences. The couple considers the business “a boutique dietary requirement specialist” and their range includes soy-, nut-, dairy- and egg-free products. They also make vegan meringue and marshmallow, as well as cakes covered in vegan butter cream. In their egg-free items, the replacer is aquafaba (the water in which legumes have been cooked) and this is such a big part of the company that Ganesh and Angie are starting a side business making hummus, the key ingredient of which is chickpeas.
But back to the fudge. The couple first started selling it at markets in the Blue Mountains, and then ventured further afield and into food and wine shows. By 2016, Fudge Monkey had become so popular that it had outgrown the commercial at-home kitchen.
“We were making hundreds of cupcakes and fudges a week in a modified dining room that we had tiled and installed stainless benches,” says Ganesh.
“When we purchased the bigger oven and needed extra bench and fridge space, we decided to make the move.”
That’s when production shifted to Woy Woy and Ganesh and Angie took the leap into running a café. Business is steady, says Ganesh, and they’re name is certainly on the rise.
“We’re the only 100 percent gluten-free cakery within 150 kilometres from here,” he says.
“Because we chose to stay gluten-free for everything, we’ve got people coming from Wollongong, Mudgee, Newcastle, and some people turning up on the weekend and on Fridays from Sydney with Eskys,” he laughs.
We’ll be doing these cake boxes and essentially you’ll be able to make our cakes that you see online at home
Along with the impressive range of fudge, you can also buy 32 flavours of milkshake, thickshake, vegan milkshake, and hot fudge drink.
“Because I make the fudge, we’re able to transpose those 32 flavours into a lot of other things,” explains Ganesh.
Two of the most popular choices are salted caramel and cookies and cream, and traditionalists will also be able to get their vanilla, caramel and hazelnut fudge fixes. There is also a large selection of quirky creations, such as bubblegum, fairy floss, musk, toffee apple and even jam donut. The latter involves a bottom layer of cinnamon fudge, sugar-free raspberry jam in the middle and vanilla fudge on top. It’s delicious, as are other alternative flavours like watermelon, green chai tea, and raspberry cheesecake.
There are also 20 flavours of gelato and a well-stocked cake cabinet. The signature product is the “cuppa cake”, which is a gateau, complete with sponge, buttercream, sauces and ganache, in a cup. It’s so popular that other Central Coast cafes are stocking it, along with the brownies, cookies and full-size gateaux. Fudge Monkey also specialises in celebration cakes for birthdays, weddings and important events, and Angie has about 450 styles in her repertoire. The cake business is proving so successful that they’re currently working on a line of cake, brownie and cookie mixes that people can whip up themselves.
“We’ll be doing these cake boxes and essentially you’ll be able to make our cakes that you see online at home, and all you’ll need to do is just add oil or water or milk,” says Ganesh.
Despite pumping out close to 200 cuppa cakes at the beginning of every week, plus creating all the other delicious Fudge Monkey products, Ganesh and Angie have big plans for the future.
“Our goal is to have a line of products that you can pick up off the shelf at any kind of supermarket or deli,” says Ganesh.
They’d also like to expand more into the wholesale industry with bulk butter cream and sauces for professional (and home) bakers. This is so other commercial “cakers” can make vegan and gluten-free cakes without worrying about staple ingredients. This side of the business will go hand in hand with the cake mixes and is likely to be in production by the beginning of 2019. When asked what motivates the duo the answer was simple: “We love what we do.”
Find out more about Fudge Monkey.