Her interest in food and cooking began at a young age, learning basic cookery skills from her mother. After leaving school at 15 to continue her acting career, she also took evening classes in classic French cooking at her local adult education institute, and baking became a special interest. Soon she began making celebration cakes at home, from her sister’s wedding cake to the family Christmas cakes, and later her own children’s birthday cakes, bringing her showbiz side into making them look beautiful, personal and often funny.
An actor friend, seeing some of Jane’s unique creations, suggested that she write a cookery book explaining how to make them, and after approaching several publishers (it was hard in those days to get any of them to take an actress seriously!) her first book, Jane Asher’s Party Cakes, was published in 1982, becoming an instant best-seller. This led on to many other successful non-fiction books, from cookery to entertaining to baby care, and she launched her shop selling beautiful hand-made celebration cakes and sugar-craft items in 1990, closing it in 2015 after 25 successful years.
Jane was the first celebration cake designer for Sainsbury’s. She has collaborated with Debenhams and Matalan, designing bespoke ranges of tableware and cookware under her brand and she designed a range of baking equipment and edibles for Poundland which proved to be one of the most successful product launches the company has ever had. More recently Jane was delighted to be approached by Home Bargains and jumped at the chance to work exclusively with them on a range of beautiful tableware and textiles alongside the kitchenware, edible decorations and fabulous cake mixes for which she is well known.
Jane’s work in the charity sector, for which she has received two honorary doctorates, is well respected. She is President of Parkinson’s UK, of the National Autistic Society and of Arthritis Care; Vice President of Autistica; Ambassador for the Prince’s Trust; Friend for Life, Terrence Higgins Trust and a Patron of many other organizations. She sits on the advisory panel for the US Association for Science in Autism Treatment.
Jane is a judge each year in the pastry section of the Annual Awards of Excellence for the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and is a patron of the National Restauranteurs Association.