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Norval bakery owner enjoying the sweet taste of success

Woman behind Aty-Jimil Cakes has been honing her craft since she was 15
Atonye "Aty" Mildred Jim-Akaya at her bakery in Norval.

Norval is sweeter for having Aty-Jimil Cakes in its midst. 

The local bakery is the passion project of owner Atonye Mildred Jim-Akaya - better known as Aty - who learned to bake by being her mother’s kitchen helper in her native Nigeria. 

By high school, she was baking elaborate cakes for her friends. This is the level of experience she brings to her Norval shop, which opened in the fall of 2022. 

Cakes are available by the slice or whole. Mansoor Tanweer/HaltonHillsToday

She's serving up cakes, cookies, doughnuts, cake pops and pies - both savoury and sweet - whole or by the slice. Customers can also special order mini-doughnuts. Walking into Jim-Akaya's shop, clients will first see a display containing some of her more elaborate creations - giant tiered wedding cakes. 

Necessity translated to skill when growing up in Nigeria. Jim-Akaya recalls teaching herself how to make complicated decorations like icing roses by hand. 

As a teenager, she honed her skills by spending most of her spare time baking.

This work ethic doesn’t just come from passion for making cakes. Her father, who worked in the registrar’s office of a university, was murdered in Nigeria for refusing to take a bribe, paying the ultimate price for his honesty.

Not only did Jim-Akaya lose her taste tester, but there was one less parent taking care of her siblings. The then-23-year-old had to step up.

“It wasn’t an easy journey because I had to work day and night. I do interior work also. So I made duvets, quilts, pillowcases and anything I could design. I love working with my hands.”

She attributes this period in her life as the reason for her hard-working nature. In Nigeria, she opened her own bakery and a bridal studio at the age of 27.

She moved to Canada in 2010 and left the culinary field behind for a few years. Beset by the entrepreneurial equivalent of itchy feet, she decided she would revive her passion for baking.

After a few more years of scouting out a location, an opportunity came when the Norval Plumbing Centre closed up shop. The Brampton resident combined Aty and Mildred with her husband's name, Jim, to come up with the Aty-Jimil Cakes. 

But she's not done yet.

“[My dream] is to own a banquet hall, have my bakery there," she said. "I want to bring back everything I miss."

Interested clientele, or cake lovers looking for culinary eye candy, can follow Aty-Jimil Cakes on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.