From stollen to lebkuchen, Germans have long had a love of festive bakery treats, but it seems they have now developed a taste for British Christmas cake, thanks to one Hertfordshire bakery. 

In its first-ever export contract, Sawbridgeworth-based craft bakery Dorringtons has supplied 2,000 handmade festive fruit cakes to an upmarket online retailer in Germany called Hagen Grote.

The deal came about when Hagen Grote, which sells directly to consumers in Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria, spotted the new Dorringtons’ website and got in touch.

After tweaking its Christmas cake recipe for the German market (the icing has been replaced by assorted dried fruit stuck to the marzipan topping), Dorringtons supplied an initial order of 700 cakes, which proved so popular that the German company kept re-ordering.

“We’ve never exported before, but this experience has really got us thinking,” said managing director Caroline Sharples. “We are normally completely focused on supplying our 15 shops, but production is finished by lunchtime, so there is capacity to do more of this kind of thing.”

An adviser from UK Trade & Investment is due to visit the company in the New Year to help it grow exports and Sharples is looking to include an online purchasing function on its website to boost sales directly to the public in the UK.

“Our shops will always be the core of the business, but you have to move with the times and look for new opportunities,” she added.

Established in 1919, Dorringtons has 15 shops in Hertfordshire, Essex and Cambridgeshire.