Career plumber opens cafe in Margaret River

Plumber turned cake maker Geoff Cox. Picture: Martin Kennealey d428042
Plumber turned cake maker Geoff Cox. Picture: Martin Kennealey d428042

HIS grandma taught him most of what he knows about baking and her cookbook is among his most treasured possessions, but there is something that makes WA's best sponge cake maker a bit different to most pastry chefs.

Geoff Cox is a career plumber with a knack for turning out a very special sponge; so good, in fact, that he picked up first place in the sponge cake category at this year’s Perth Royal Show. It was his first entry into the show, where Geoff also received Highly Commended in the cornflour sponge category.

Cakes entered into the show must have no icing and no filling and can not be decorated, but judged on the sponge itself.

Growing up in the Victorian wheatbelt, Geoff’s grandmother Thelma and mother Margaret taught him the joys of baking desserts.

‘Sunday night, there was always desserts ” cakes, chocolate eclairs, apple pies, pavlova,’ he said.

Geoff’s dream has always been to own an old-fashioned coffee shop where customers are welcomed with a smile and a friendly face. And it’s about to become a reality, with Geoff hanging up his wrench and plunger to open a cafe in Margaret River in the next few weeks.

‘I want to bring back good old-fashioned country cooking and good service,’ he said.

‘It doesn’t cost anything for a smile.’

As for his secrets to a perfect sponge, Geoff says he always bangs the tin on the bench five times to remove any air bubbles before he puts it in the oven.

‘And I always line the tin with my Aunty Phyllis’s secret mixture,’ he said.