How did you first venture into the world of cake decorating?
My background is in the arts. I trained as a sculptor and worked with artists for 10 years before taking a career break to have children. I have a strong baking tradition in my family and always knew I wanted to run my own creative business so these elements naturally came together in cake decorating – I began in the first year making wedding cakes for family and friends and it very quickly grew into my own little cake empire!
You’ve created a wide range of cakes and designs – how would you best describe your cake decorating style?
My designs can be varied but I still think I have a distinct style which draws strongly from my sculptural aesthetic. I like my cakes to be meticulously executed with great attention detail, often using detailed piping, stylised forms and bold colours. I also embrace all things quirky and love the challenge of an unusual commission. The sky really is the limit when it comes to my cakes – colour, height, sculptural forms – bring it on!
Who commissions you and can you tell us a bit about some of the statement cakes you’ve been asked to design?
I make cakes for many different occasions, including weddings and am often approached by creative couples who want a truly bespoke and unusual cake – artists, architects and performers. I also make cakes for events and more unique occasions. One of my most memorable projects was to create a life size bust of Queen Victoria’s head for a Christmas Mad Hatter’s tea party at the beautiful Holkham Hall in Norfolk. Holkham asked me back the following year to make a 5ft tall cake with a parrot perched on top for their Easter extravaganza and I am back there again this Christmas with an even bigger project!
Could you tell us about the design process for creating your cakes?
I like to work very closely with each client on the design of their cake. Some people have very fixed ideas about what they would like and some even like to leave it totally up to me for a complete surprise. I draw inspiration from the design of the event, the time of year, the colours and themes my clients are working with – and perhaps most importantly the space the cake will occupy and be seen in – architecture, light and space are all vital considerations.
How on earth do you get your cake’s to look so smooth?!
A LOT of elbow grease! I use smoothing tools & work on each cake for as long as it takes to get a perfect surface. Good quality ingredients & fondant are vital.
Your beaded cakes are eye popping. Where do you get the inspiration for your designs?
I draw inspiration from all different visual fields and am often influenced by the work of artists and designers. I made a cake inspired by the gilded dome of the Secession building in Vienna, another covered in William Morris’ iconic lemon and pomegranate wallpaper and another with an aboriginal art-inspired design. Plus the wonderful world of cakes is always coming up with new and amazing products – when I discovered I could get my hands on just about every size and colour of sugar pearl imaginable I couldn’t wait to create a cake covered head to toe in them!
What’s the most unusual cake design you’ve been asked to create for a client?
Well, Queen Victoria’s head is definitely up there. I was also asked by a choir to make a cake replica of the Globe Theatre to help them celebrate Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary – I made it all in white, complete with quill and parchment on top.
Do you have any plans for the future that you can share?
I have lots of very beautiful weddings to bake for this year as well as some exciting dessert-table collaborations coming up with another talented cake designer. I have also begun collaborating with some visual artists to work on some product ideas to launch in 2018 which will add a new dimension to my business that will really takes me back to my roots. And don’t forget to look out for Holkham Hall’s Christmas commission – the theme is top secret but it is going to be my biggest and most elaborate cake yet!
And finally do you have a sweet tooth yourself, or after spending a day baking are cakes off the menu for you!
I absolutely do have a sweet tooth! Self-control in the kitchen is paramount, but there is always a little box of off-cuts for my family and I to enjoy at the end of a busy day of baking and when you’re trialing new flavours it really would be rude not to sample them…..
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