The 'can't cook' dragon invests in cake making business

Deborah Meaden finds a recipe for success with ProperMaid in a Dragons’ Den Special for Christmas.

Deborah Meaden, the BBC Dragon who became popular when she admitted that she has not cooked a single meal for, and by, herself in 28 long years, put the cherry topping on the proverbial business cake for ProperMaid, an award-winning Yorkshire-based cake maker.

Meaden invested £50,000 in ProperMaid, in return for 25% stake on the business. This happened on the 23rd of December BBC2 broadcast of the Sunday Dragons’ Den Special for Christmas.

ProperMaid’s ‘traditional cakes with a twist’ so intrigued the TV Dragons that two of them ended up battling over the investment before business owner and former dinner lady Allison Whitmarsh chose to accept Deborah’s offer of investment. Star of the tense, televised pitch was ProperMaid’s delicious and highly unusual Christmas Dinner Cake, which contains all the trimmings (minus the turkey!) including carrots, parsnips, cranberries, Christmas spices, chestnuts – and even sprouts!

Speaking about the investment Deborah said: “this is the next stage in the massive revival of great British baking and Allison is a tremendous example of how entrepreneurs with great ideas, excellent products, a sound business model and the passion and drive to succeed can quickly make a difference in business, as well as in their local communities. Together we’ll achieve great things for ProperMaid and the team is already working on a slimming cake to help shed those post-Xmas pounds – I’d imagine everyone will want a slice of that!” she said.

Based in Huddersfield, ProperMaid was founded by former dinner lady Allison Whitmarsh, who built the business with the help of a local Business Mine initiative. Allison and her creative team have made a name for themselves with their out-of-the-ordinary home baked cakes and loaves. Flavours have included Courgette & Lime, Beetroot & Chocolate, Liquorice, Dandelion & Burdock (which won a Gold Star at the 2012 Great Taste Awards) and Chocolate Chilli & Fudge, made with real chillies.

Allison said, “I couldn’t have dreamt four years ago when I baked my first cake for a customer in my home kitchen that in 2012 I’d have two Dragons vying to invest in my business! I’m extremely proud of our brand and everyone in the ProperMaid team for helping to make this possible.” “ProperMaid has come a long way in a relatively short period of time and with Deborah on board who knows how high our cakes will rise!”

ProperMaid is the 33rd investment Deborah Meaden has made through Dragons’ Den during the seven series in which she has appeared to date, with her ‘Den’ investments totalling £2million.