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Janet’s Cakery bakes dreams come true in Corpus Christi

Joy Richards and Patrick Limerick show just a few of the sweet treats cooked up on a daily basis at Janet’s Cakery in the Everhart Shopping Center on Corpus Christi’s Southside. Photo by Jane Kathleen Gregorio

The warm aroma of freshly baked cookies and cakes awakens the senses when stepping through the doors of Janet’s Cakery in Corpus Christi. Every morning, owner and head baker Patrick Limerick begins his daily routine of mixing batter, setting the ovens to the right temperatures, and baking his customers’ wishes into a tasty reality.

Janet Limerick, Patrick’s wife, founded the cakery more than 30 years ago, at first making cakes out of her home kitchen. She has since retired, while Patrick keeps the business, now in a commercial building, running with his crew of about 13 decorators and helpers, including his three grown children.

When you know his history, the move to head baker at Janet’s makes perfect sense: Working for the family business is baked into Patrick’s DNA.

“My grandfather opened three grocery stores in town called Limerick’s Food Store,” Patrick Limerick said. “My uncle bought a furniture store when he came down here from Illinois. Growing up, my sister and I had fun helping my father stock the stores and going to market to select produce. She and I, including my cousins, all helped out.”

Everyone but Patrick stayed in the grocery business. His cousins eventually went to work for H-E-B in San Antonio.

When he grew up, Limerick entered the workforce, while Janet began baking and decorating cakes from her home. She took courses at Del Mar College and began to bake cakes for family and friends. Soon, orders for cakes started rolling in on a regular basis.

“With my job at the time, after running around all day, I would come home and want to go to sleep, but then the doorbell and the phone would keep ringing,” Patrick said with a laugh. “There were cake boxes everywhere. Our house was looking less like a home.”

He contacted a friend who worked for the Health Department to seek advice.

“I told him I desperately needed help,” Patrick said. “He was also ordering cakes from us and was eyewitness to the situation at home.”

The friend recommended a commercial space at The Market on Everhart Shopping Center in the Southside of town.

“Thanks to his help, we opened Janet’s Cakery on April 1, 1986,” Patrick said. “And we have been in business ever since.”

Patrick came on board within three years of the cakery opening its new shop. He soon realized they needed to double the volume of cakes sold. When that effort proved successful, they began to feel the need for a bigger space. They found a larger location in the same shopping center about 14 years ago.

Although Janet’s Cakery has a staff of about 13 (they are looking to hire a few more!), it remains a family affair. Though daughter Bonnie is studying in San Antonio to become a teacher, Patrick’s three sons work with him. Cody helps with baking, while Clayton assists with cakes, icing, and deliveries. Shannon, who has cerebral palsy, helps with public relations by greeting customers, handing out flyers, and appearing on TV.

The bakery specializes in more than cakes: It also serves dessert items such as pies, pastries, cookies, eclairs, petit-fours, and more. November is a popular month for pies, and Janet’s Cakery has more than 22 flavors with apple, pumpkin, pecan, and mince meat being the top holiday sellers. They are also currently taking orders for fruit cake. Pumpkin bread, banana nut bread, strawberry bread, and cranberry bread loaves are also available.

“Even if we have to pay a slightly higher price, we make sure to select high-quality ingredients for all the desserts and cakes we create,” Patrick said. That results in superior-tasting products.

Janet’s cakes are also known for their creative, visual presentation. If a customer can imagine it, Patrick can create it. Although he no longer decorate cakes, he helps in the planning and implementation of them with staff.

Joy Richards, a family friend, has been with the cakery for 11 years.

“I’ve known Janet before either of us were married,” Richards said. “I knew her before Patrick knew her. We’ve been friends for awhile.”

Richards came on board after working for a church for 25 years. She decided she wanted to do something different and joined the Janet’s Cakery team.

“I specialize in customer relations, balancing the register and accounts receivable, while Patrick takes care of the majority of bookkeeping,” she said. “I love working here.”

Over the years, both Limerick and Richards have seen some changes in the cake industry.

“We mostly see changes in the type of characters kids like when it comes to birthday cake designs,” Richards said. “It’s fun to see how favorite cartoon characters change from one generation to the next.”

Another trend developing over the past two years is the “naked” cake. Icing is spread as a thin layer on the outside but is often used as a filling on the inside.

“Though the decor and the style may change, the process of baking and creating stays the same,” said Richards, meaning that while the cakes might look different, they will always taste delicious.

For Richards, the secret to the bakery’s success is having the owner present and involved.

“Patrick is here seven days a week and is aware of everything that’s happening,” Richards said. “I also grew up in a family business, and my dad was there seven days a week as well. It’s a sacrifice, but businesses seem to do better when the owner is present.”

Though life might not always be a piece of cake elsewhere, it is at Janet’s Cakery, which offers a variety of desserts and cakes to commemorate life’s special moments.

Janet’s Cakery is located in The Market On Everhart shopping center at 5880 Everhart Road. For more information, call (361) 991-6212.

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