Did you see the cake?

I’ve had a little blog hiatus, and it’s been a while since I’ve written a post apart from meet the baker (which will be back next week)

So this time last week we were all coming down from the high that was the royal wedding of Harry and Megan and like everyone their were two things I wanted to see, the dress and the cake.

The dress and Megan were stunning, obvious comparisons were made to Kate’s wedding dress, Megan’s was simple classic and elegant, Kate’s was lacy and elegant and more form fitting. I liked both dresses equally but if I had to choose one over the other Megan’s would’ve been the one for me.

The service was beautiful and it was clear to see that Megan influenced elements of the wedding day from the beautiful gospel choir to the wonderful preacher but that wasn’t the only influence she introduced. It became clear once the cake was revealed that Megan Harry and Claire Ptak from Violets bakery have introduced us all to the deckled edge cake which seems to be a trend in the states.

It certainly wasn’t what we were expecting for a royal wedding cake which was clear to see from the reaction of many.

I knew no matter what it looked like it would be both loved and hated because that’s life, and that’s the cake community (we like to have an opinion) but what really tickled me was the strong and I mean strong emotion the cake evoked within the cake community.

And it got me wondering why did so many react so negatively towards the cake? after all it was the choice of the bride and groom and would have had a consultation if not a few, and it wasn’t like the cake just rocked up on the day, it would have been a well thought out design

So why the reaction?

My theory is because we are used to expected and wanted perfection.

We like cakes that are flawless, razor sharp edges, the realest looking sugar flowers just everything perfect.

We spend hours perfecting our cakes, watching videos, going to workshops, sharing advice so we can create a perfect cake.

So the expectations for the the royal wedding cake was huge but you only had to check out the baker and her style of cake design that this was going to be very different and very rustic in style.

And oh was it different, from the choice of baker, the flavour (no traditional fruit cake)right through to the decoration, the uneven rough finish and the presentation it didn’t look perfect and we were shook.

I’ve read various blogs and threads about how we should encourage and support each after all the vitriol started especially when it was revealed how much the cake supposedly cost.

Personally for me I was in the love it camp but many were not and that’s fine as it’s down to what you like and everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Not everyone wants a perfect sharp edge, not everyone has to have a tiered cake up to the ceiling and not every baker wants to embrace sharp edge perfection, but we are (as a community) obsessed with perfection and that’s why we create beautiful works of Edible art.

But not every baker strives for that.

I watched an episode of chefs kitchen -pastry a few weeks ago and was intrigued by a baker who hates covering cakes in frosting/fondant and I kinda get what Christina Tosi was saying

“From being in culinary school around all these insane masters of beauty and perfection when it comes to finishing a cake, they had tired me out completely to the point where I was like, ‘I don’t think cake should be frosted,I’ve seen how obsessed you can get with frosting a cake, and that time should be spent elsewhere … we’re not in pottery class.”

You can watch a clip here

We are in the business of cake so I don’t wholly agree but we can all admit to spending hours perfecting a cake covered in ganache to create the sharpest of edges because that’s what we do, and that’s what our customers want, right?

Some customers do want perfection, they do want a sharp edge cake they do want a cake that towers above us, they do want a cake adorned with beautifully realistic sugar flowers, but also their are customers who don’t want that, and bakers who don’t want it either and that is fine.

Customers commission us to create cakes because they want a cake that is perfect for them no matter what it looks like.

So I think for me with all the cake commotion that went on we forgot that the bride and groom Harry and Megan wanted that cake, Claire delivered it beautifully and to them it was perfect even if to us it wasn’t.

So no matter what cake we produce, no matter what it looks like our customers come to us because they like the style of cakes we produce wether that be a sky scraping sharp edge beauty or a buttercream deckled edge cake, as long as they are happy then it is absolutely perfect to them.

So it looks like the deckled edge cake might be the next cake trend but are we ready for a little less perfection?

Meet the baker- Rosa Cakes

It’s been a few weeks since the last meet the baker interview and I’m thrilled that so many of you are taking part, I’m really loving the insights but enough of my waffling it’s now time to introduce another fab business:

1. So firstly please introduce yourself and your business, and where in the UK/World are you based?

Hi, my name is Hannah Rodmell and my cake business is Rosa Cakes, based in South West London.  

2. Are you a self-taught cake decorator/baker or are you trained?

A bit of both really. I am mainly self taught but did a few baking and cake decorating courses when I was first starting out to gain some confidence and learn a few more skills. I am always learning new techniques and it definitely takes time to get your cakes to a high standard. It requires lots of research, practice, patience and creativity. 

3. Who inspired you to bake/ decorate and how long have you been baking for?

I’ve always been a very keen cook and learnt a lot from my mum over the years but it was my dad who suggested I took cake decorating up as a business. I worked as an art tutor when I left university after studying Fine Art and baked cakes part time which worked well for a while until deciding to start a family. I needed something where I could ideally work from home and not be working the evenings I was doing as a tutor. That’s when it decided to go full time as a cake maker. It worked out well as I was able to gradually build up my business, so that by the time I was working on the cakes full time I felt confident to move forward and had gathered lots of local custom.

4. How long have you been running your cake business?

I registered as a business in 2013, so it’s been almost five years now. I feel like I’ve always done it though, I couldn’t imagine doing anything different! It allows me to fulfil my creativity as well as my love of baking. I love that (almost) every cake is different which presents new challenges and therefore keeps it exciting! 

5. What was the last cake you made?

The last cake I made was a pretty Mermaid   cake for a little girl named Isabel. I was lucky enough to be asked to make her birthday cake for the second year in a row. It’s lovely when you get people coming back year after year. 

I loved making this cake with all the pretty little details and the lovely colour combination. 

6. How do you attract customers to your business?

In the beginning I heavily relied on local selling pages on Facebook but now I get most of my custom through word of mouth and lots of repeat customers. I try to keep my Facebook and Instagram pages updated with regular posts and lots of cake pics! 

7. What do you find the hardest aspect of running your cake business?

Time. I wish I had more of it!! I currently make three cakes a week maximum as I like to take my time over my cakes and not rush them. I’m looking forward to being able to take on a bit more once my little boy is in full time education. 

8. What do you love or find the easiest aspect of running your cake business?

I love how creative I can be with my cakes and find that very fulfilling.

9. What is your speciality/niche? (Wedding cakes, novelty cakes, cupcakes etc…..)

I specialise in novelty cakes mainly. I especially enjoy making pretty, detailed cakes for occasions such as birthdays and christenings. 

10. Who is your favourite cake artist, cake business, cake crush or you tube channel.

Natasha Collins of Nevie Pie Cakes, Emily Hankins, The Rose on the Cake, Don’t Tell Charles, Little Cherry Cake Company, Cotton and Crumbs, The Clever Little Cupcake Company…I could go on and on! So many amazing and inspirational Cake artists out there! 

11. What one piece of cake decorating/baking equipment could you simply not do without?

My trusty Kitchen-Aid without a doubt!

12. What was the last bit of cake equipment you purchased?

I purchased a new turntable as my old one was starting to wobble! I recently received a ‘King Pin’ rolling pin for Christmas which I’m looking forward to testing out! I’m hoping it will aid me in rolling out large amounts of icing as it’s nice and heavy!! 

13. What is the one piece of cake equipment you absolutely regret purchasing?

I think I’ve been quite lucky as I don’t think I regret purchasing any of my cake equipment….and there’s a LOT of it!! 

14. What is your favourite brand of sugarpaste

I like using ‘The Sugarpaste’ mainly as I can get lovely sharp edges from it and I find it very reliable but use ‘Beau’ for stronger colours like red and black which are harder to colour. 

15. Is there a new skill you would love to learn?

I absolutely love the look of hand-painted cakes. I studied Fine Art at university so have some experience and skill when it comes to painting….but just not on cakes! I would like to try and put some time aside this year to practice painting on sugarpaste and developing this further. I think it will be something that takes a bit of practice! 

16. What are the goals and ambitions for your business over the next 12 months and beyond?

I started teaching a few cake decorating classes at the end of last year which I would like to pursue further this year. I would also like to broaden my skill set by taking time to practice techniques such as painting on cakes and making more sugar and wafer flowers. 

17. What advice would you give a new cake business just starting out?

Practice, practice, practice before taking the plunge. I think a lot of people think they can start up a cake business without taking the time to develop the skill fully first. It’s harder than it looks! Also, make sure you look into what’s required of you as a professional cake business such as the rules and regulations you’ll need to follow to legally work from home.  

18. And lastly what do you prefer a slice of cake or a cupcake?

A slice of cake with a cup of tea every time!! …lemon cake being my fave! 

You can find me on Facebook

https://m.facebook.com/rosacakesbyhannah/

And Instagram…

www.instagram.com/rosacakes.hannah

I am loving reading about all these businesses and if you would like to shout about your business and would like to take part just email hello@kakeandcupkakery.co.uk

Meet the Baker- Bake to the future

Morning everyone, i have been a little busy lately (you know how it goes) so i am a little behind with my blogging but time to introduce you to another Fabulous business so with no further ado……..

  1. So firstly, please introduce yourself and your business, and where in the UK/World are you based?

Hi! I’m Lou, I run Bake To The Future and I’m based in Ashford, Kent in the South East of England.

2.Are you a self-taught cake decorator/baker or are you trained?

I am self-taught but have done a few skill specific courses on things like sugar roses, model making and sculpting. I am also a qualified chef although it was a generic food qualification rather than a specialist baking one.

3.Who inspired you to bake/ decorate and how long have you been baking for?

I remember my Mum baking a lot when I was growing up, some of my best memories are of running in and out of the house during the Summer and hearing music playing loudly while my Mum was making cakes or bread. As I got older I developed a love of watching shows like Baking Mad, MasterChef and Cake Boss, I was also obsessed with Eric Lanlard so when I was off work with an injury for a long time I started baking. When my son was nearing his 1st birthday in 2012 I wanted to do the stereotypical Mum thing and make his birthday cake only I was terrified of messing it up, so I made cupcakes and cake pops instead and had someone else make his cake. By June that year I had read enough magazines and felt confident enough to try it for myself, so I made my husband a Father’s Day cake. I was so pleased with myself at the time, it took me the whole day and it was wonky and far too big, but I really enjoyed it and caught the cake making bug! I spent 4 years making cakes for friends and family, it was an expensive hobby! It wasn’t until 2016 that I plucked up the courage to turn my passion in to a business. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet Eric Lanlard twice over the last 6 years and he is still a huge inspiration to me. There are cake decorators who I admire and look up to also, Ben Cullen (The BakeKing) is one, I love his style!

4. How long have you been running your cake business?

I opened in March 2016 so very nearly two years now!

5. What was the last cake you made?

I did a 16 birthday cake two days ago and I’m currently making one for a guy who competes as part of an amateur race team. The last big cake I made was a Mermaid inspired buttercream design for a little girl who had Princess Ariel at her party.

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6. How do you attract customers to your business?

For celebration cakes I am entirely social media based. I advertise on Facebook and Instagram, I am also a member of a county-based wedding suppliers network, so I regularly receive recommendations via the other members and I attend wedding fairs. There are two local cake makers Facebook groups too, so we pass referrals to one another if we are booked up. A lot of it is word of mouth though, previous customers recommending me on Facebook posts or sharing my page. I run competitions a few times a year for free cupcakes or a discount on wedding orders which has always been successful for me. I also have a space at a local comic con every year which is great for me because of my style, I try to be different, my business name 100% helps with that, people never forget it!

7. What do you find the hardest aspect of running your cake business?

The admin! You need to be so organised! Between taking orders, keeping track of stock levels, prepping for consultations and wedding fairs, advertising and compiling quotes…all of that time and work before I have even thought about turning my oven on! I also still battle with my self confidence, there are times when I tell myself the client is going to hate it and scream at me when they collect their cake! I panic during and after every wedding cake delivery too! Oh, and taking photos and editing them!

8. What do you love or find the easiest aspect of running your cake business

Wedding fairs and consultations! I love meeting my clients and getting to know them. I come away from consultations feeling confident and proud of myself. I’m good at being me and I use it as a selling point because it is the most unique asset that my business has! I also love the baking, that’s where it all started for me and there’s nothing better than hiding myself away in the kitchen with the stereo blasting!

9. What is your speciality/niche? (Wedding cakes, novelty cakes, cupcakes etc….)

I specialise in geeky and alternative designs. I’m a total nerd and have a good knowledge base about most fandoms which puts me in a great position to design and create cakes in that genre. I think clients will always feel happier and more at ease if they know they’re entrusting a design to someone who loves the characters and subject matter as much as they do. I pride myself on creating cakes with personality which perfectly represent my client’s hobbies, passions, loves and obsessions. The majority of professional cake companies can create a stunning masterpiece featuring sugar flowers and lace detailing and they will enjoy putting the whole design together in all its prettiness. Most cake designers however, would have no interest in creating a Game Of Thrones or Batman inspired wedding cake full of dark colours and gritty textures. And that is why I exist!

10. Who is your favourite cake artist, cake business, cake crush or you tube channel

That’s an easy one as I have already mentioned his name! Ben Cullen aka The BakeKing. He is the very definition of an artist in every way. He has a very strong social media presence as well as a you tube channel and he’s currently featuring in the second series of Extreme Cake Makers. I started following Ben about a year ago after a cake friend shared one of his posts, he is literally my cake GOD! Not only is he a super talented artist but he’s a very clever business man too, the way he markets himself and styles his business is just incredible. I was lucky enough to meet him at Cake International last November and he’s also a very grounded, down to earth and funny guy. My admiration for him is so well known that my husband had Ben make my birthday cake last year! That definitely set the bar for future birthday presents ha-ha!

11. What one piece of cake decorating/baking equipment could you simply not do without?

I can’t choose just one! My first year in business I dedicated to investing in the business and buying equipment to make life easier and orders faster. I have two (four for some sizes) of every cake tin to make baking faster, I have a domestic oven as well as two counter top convection ovens, two Kitchen Aid mixers, a dedicated cake fridge and I have no clue how I went so many years without an Agbay and Profroster! They are total game changers!

12. What was the last bit of cake equipment you purchased?

A new air brush gun with a larger paint holder.

13. What is the one piece of cake equipment you absolutely regret purchasing

Loose bottom tins! They’re pointless! I also have a lot of cutters and moulds I’ll never, ever use.

14. What is your favourite brand of sugarpaste

Massa! Nothing else comes even close!

15. Is there a new skill you would love to learn?

Sculpting and painting on cakes.

16. What are the goals and ambitions for your business over the next 12 months and beyond?

17. I want the business to be my full-time income instead of it being a full time job with a part time income, I want multiple orders every week and I’m aiming to increase my year on year wedding bookings too.

18. What advice would you give a new cake business just starting out?

Be you! The best thing about your business is you, no other business has what you have so use it to your advantage. Find your own style and what you enjoy doing and market it to the relevant people. You may make a lot of mistakes at first but learn from them and push on. And always enjoy what you do, even when you’re pulling another all nighter or telling yourself you’re stupid for taking too much on or you start thinking about giving up because you don’t have any orders, ask yourself if you are still having fun and if you are then never give up.

19. And lastly what do you prefer a slice of cake or a cupcake?

Slice of cake! With a coffee, yummy

Great Scott (my back to the future reference sorry couldn’t help) another Fab read with great advice.

You can find Lou on Instagram and Facebook.

And it you wish to take part in meet the baker please email hello@kakenadcupkakery.co.uk

GDPR- what you need to know.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you cannot fail to have seen on your feed, on the net about GDPR and you might be thinking this is nothing to do with me, well you’d be wrong.

From the 25th May 2018 strict new rules will come into effect regarding protecting customers data.

GDPR is

General Data Protection Regulation

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. It addresses the export of personal data outside the EU.

Now before I go any further I’m not an expert but I am aware that I have to take steps to ensure I’m complying with the new requirements.

Facebook and it’s ignorance at how third party apps are capturing all aspects of our data is an example of the increasing importance of keeping data safe.

We as cake makers capture certain aspects of personal data, we collect,store information so whether that be a via a blog, the information required for a cake order,information given via your website or a mailing list, all these aspects will come under GDPR

Some of the information is confusing as I’ve read many articles and I need to commit some time to make the changes but there are a couple links below that might help you understand what is required.

  • Basically it’s keep data safe
  • Breaches of GDPR can lead to hefty fines
  • Applies to sole traders (majority of us cake makers are registered as sole traders)
  • Obviously there are elements regarding how you store and use data and informing customers of how you are managing their data
  • applies to paper documents as well as digitally stored information.

Below are specific links regarding small/micro businesses

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/making-data-protection-your-business/

https://ico.org.uk/media/1624219/preparing-for-the-gdpr-12-steps.pdf

Also below more in-depth information from the ICO

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/resources-and-support/data-protection-self-assessment/getting-ready-for-the-gdpr/

I’m sure your now thinking WHAT do I do? Well try not to panic there’s still time to get your head around it,I’m just like you and wasn’t really taking much notice until it was discussed at an event i went to in feb.

I do already try to be careful with data as in not sharing and the recording of information but now I need to look at updating my website with some information, resend out blog subscription info, how I use data from any competitions I run etc etc.

So this blog post is simply for you to be made aware it’s coming so consider this a heads up.

Meet the baker-A cake occasion

phonto-1Time to introduce another fab business

1. So firstly please introduce yourself and your business, and where in the UK/World are you based?

          I’m Jo owner of A Cake Occasion based in Accrington Lancashire

meet the baker 8

2.Are you a self-taught cake decorator/baker or are you trained?

         Self-taught

3.Who inspired you to bake/ decorate and how long have you been baking for?

    I’ve been baking for around 7 years. It all started with Christmas cakes, I baked our       family cake every year. Then along came my children and my passion for baking and     cake decorating really started. My children inspired me to create beautiful cakes. I’ve    been fully decorating cakes including making my own models for 4 years.

4.How long have you been running your cake business?

A Cake Occasion has been running 4 years this coming July.

5.What was the last cake you made?

The last cake I made was a 4 tier semi naked wedding cake which was delivered and set up on New Year’s Eve.

meet the baker 66.  How do you attract customers to your business?

Word of mouth mainly and facebook.

7.  What do you find the hardest aspect of running your cake business?

My kitchen and house is full of cake stuff its hard detaching from work sometimes. I can’t wait to finally get my cake room so my house becomes my home again.

meet the baker7

8.  What do you love or find the easiest aspect of running your cake business

I love the fact that I’m my own boss. I can work when I choose and get to spend more time with my kids working from home. Caking is my passion its my happy place.

9.  What is your speciality/niche? (Wedding cakes, novelty cakes, cupcakes etc…..)

Ooooh hmmm I would say wedding cakes but I do love novelty. I’d never give them up completely.

10.  Who is your favourite cake artist, cake business, cake crush or you tube channel

The Bakeking!! His air- brushing skills are insane!!!

11.  What one piece of cake decorating/baking equipment could you simply not do without?

Oh I have a few but my ultimate has to be my K-mix followed by Agbay then Kingpin ha ha

12.What was the last bit of cake equipment you purchased?

The Profroster – what a great piece of kit

13. What is the one piece of cake equipment you absolutely regret purchasing

I don’t know the name of it but it’s a pen type tool that picks up edible balls and other tiny items Making it easier and quicker to add to cakes. It doesn’t work ha ha

14.What is your favourite brand of sugarpaste

Massa

15.Is there a new skill you would love to learn?

Figures and faces

16.What are the goals and ambitions for your business over the next 12 months and beyond?

Cake room is top of my list for 2018. I need my own space that I can shut off from my home and also keep cakes safe from the prying hands of my 14 month old son. Maybe one day opening a shop.

I’ve been nominated for Entrepreneur of the year at the Mumboss UK awards this March.. to get into the finalists would be amazing.

17  .What advice would you give a new cake business just starting out?

Make lots of cake friends.. it really does help having like minded people to talk to.

18.  And lastly what do you prefer a slice of cake or a cupcake?

Slice of cake always

I hope you enjoyed reading about Jo and her business A cake occasion and you can contact Jo via her social media links below.

http://www.acakeoccasion.co.uk

Instagram@acakeoccasion 

And it you wish to be featured in the meet the baker interviews please email hello@kakeandcupkakery.co.uk

 

Meet the baker- Cake your day

Its been a while but its back for 2018, a new series of Meet the baker interviews where fellow cakers give us an insight into there biz. So without further ado let me introduce you to…

Cake your day

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  1. So firstly please introduce yourself and your business, and where in the UK/World are you based?

My name is Cathryn Howard and I run Cake Your Day from my home in Bolton, Greater Manchester. I’m a mum of 2 young boys and a part time management accountant.

  1. Are you a self-taught cake decorator/baker or are you trained?

Self taught with some help from online tutorials.

  1. Who inspired you to bake/ decorate and how long have you been baking for?

My mum. She always made our birthday cakes growing up so I wanted to carry on that tradition for my children. My first fondant covered cake was George pig for my sons 1st Birthday two years ago. Until then I had only made the occasional fairy cakes, shortbread and rock buns.

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  1. How long have you been running your cake business?

Since September 2016, so a little over a year.

5.What was the last cake you made?

Some Christmas themed cupcake bouquets as a thank you to the staff at my local hospital NICU and SCBU.

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6. How do you attract customers to your business?

Through advertising on local selling pages on facebook, running competitions on my page,  instagram, leaving leaflets and displays at local businesses and word of mouth.

7.What do you find the hardest aspect of running your cake business?

The late nights. I do as much as I can whilst my eldest is at nursery but anything else has to wait until they are asleep.

  1. What do you love or find the easiest aspect of running your cake business

I love the flexibility of being able to work when I want, to fit around my family. Seeing customers reactions or reading their reviews is very rewarding.

  1. What is your speciality/niche? (Wedding cakes, novelty cakes, cupcakes etc…..)

Cupcake bouquets followed by novelty cakes

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  1. Who is your favourite cake artist, cake business, cake crush or you tube channel

Zoes Fancy Cakes, Paul Bradford, She Who Bakes and Little Cherry Cake Company

  1. What one piece of cake decorating/baking equipment could you simply not do without?

My Kenwood K-Mix. I broke several mixers when initially making cakes for family and friends. I decided it was best to invest if I was going to turn my hobby into a business.

  1. What was the last bit of cake equipment you purchased?

Scales. My old one finally gave up on me

  1. What is the one piece of cake equipment you absolutely regret purchasing

Zee Chik cake scraper. I can’t get straight edges with it

  1. What is your favourite brand of sugarpaste

I love modelling with Cake Dutchess Modelling Paste. I cover my cakes with Renshaw. However I am looking at trying new brands as I find the darker colours quite tacky and can tear.

  1. Is there a new skill you would love to learn?

Sharp edges using ganache. Also carved cakes with internal structures.

  1. What are the goals and ambitions for your business over the next 12 months and beyond?

Aim for gold at Cake International! Take on more orders for Cupcake Bouquets as that is what I love making the most. Introduce more flavours

  1. What advice would you give a new cake business just starting out?

Don’t undersell yourself. Work out your costs for every ingredient and for each cake individually.

  1. And lastly what do you prefer a slice of cake or a cupcake?

I enjoy both but I prefer a slice of cake

I hope you enjoyed reading about Cake your day and you can contact Cathryn on her social media links below

Facebook: cakeyourdaybolton

Instagram: cakeyourdaybolton

Email: cakeyourday@mail.com

And if you wish to be featured in meet the baker please email hello@kakeandcupkakery.co.uk

Time to reflect-2017

My last blog post was way back in August which has been a while simply because the biz has been busy and sadly blogging just didn’t seem a priority, but I’m in the middle of a Christmas break so it’s a perfect time to reflect on how the year has panned out as well as get back into my blogging habit.

So how has this year been for you in general?

Well for me the answer has been pretty busy. And every year I like to think their are lessons to be learnt from either mistakes I’ve made or positive choices I’ve made that have had a big impact on me and my biz.

So on a positive note I’ve…

  • scheduled in down time and stuck to it- in one of my blog post I wrote about work life balance and how I was going to make an effort to get better at it. I’m still not perfect but this year has been the best so far. So much so I even managed to fit in a holiday which was on my own and a huge thing for me as this was also something I very much wanted to do (personal goal) and was the most liberating thing I’ve ever done. Holidaying alone I would highly recommend. Granted it fell in the middle of a very busy sept for wedding cakes but I did it and it was fabulous. And one of the things I’ll be doing in Jan is planning out my downtime’s as much as I can to help maintain a better work life balance.

  • Discovered ganache- ok ok I know you might be eye rolling right now but I gave it a try at the end aug/sept and I actually muttered the words “ganache is a game changer” you see I didn’t really get the ganache thing, I didn’t see the point and stuck to buttercream and one of the reasons I stuck to BC was the cost, could I honestly justify using it, were customers actually bothered? Well with the recent 100% rise in butter the cost of making and using ganache didn’t seem such a bad idea after all and cost literally matched the current cost of using BC. I don’t flip or even use ganache plates but the finish is more refined, it encases the cake like a protective shell, and also taste delish. It freezes well and can be made in advance, I’m still getting used to it and I’m still practicing.
  • Bought an Agbay – O.M.G for years I used my trusted 12″ serrated edge knife and was quite nifty with it but I had an order for a naked wedding cake and wanted to ensure the layers were perfect so decided to invest and I must say it’s one of the best investments I’ve made, so quick and perfect layers every time. Word of warning though ALWAYS replace the blade guard because that blade is sharpppppppppp.
  • Rebranded- I had spoken about it previously and went for it again. This time i invested a bit more and the result was a lovely rebrand that represents me and the biz as well as helping me remain consistent with the design concept, colour and font. Overall this has been great for my biz( See previous blog post) I also Reworked my website (myself) http://www.kakeandcupkakery.co.uk and managed to get myself onto page one of google for my keywords so yes this has had a positive impact on my business.
  • Fell in love with Instagram- it’s over taken twitter as my fave social media channel. I need to improve my use of hashtags but I truly do love it
  • Entered Cake international-2017 was the year I entered the most intimidating competition ever, wedding cake category (royal iced wedding cake)it was on the list of things I wanted to do. I didn’t place but that hasn’t put me off, in the words of the terminator ” I’ll be back” and note to self read, read and read again the competition schedule

Things that haven’t gone so well are..

  • My admin- arghhh we are on the run up to submitting our yearly accounts and let’s just say I need to organise my s**t. I have an accountant who does the last bits for me as well as submit but the weekly admin needs to improve, Monday’s are my admin day but that is sucked up with quotes etc.. but next year I’m recruiting some help from one of my sisters to give me a hand to see if this will improve things.
  • Workload- got a bit heavy at times which effects the speed I get back to customers with quotes . It’s my downfall along with admin, so even though the work life balance has improved there are still areas I need to get a lot better at.
  • Networking- very poor this year but making a vow to get out there more in 2018, Ive even thought about a face 2 face cakey meet up group but I don’t know how I would fit it in.
  • Increased prices- Wow butter prices, omg beginning of the year 89p per 250g by December £1.60 per 250g. The price hike has been ridiculous, the price was leaping almost daily. I read recently that it spiked in December due to demand (it’s all our Crimbo orders) but hopefully will stabilise in the new year.

So 2018, what’s happening and what do I want to achieve????

Throughout the year I like to jot down ideas and things I need to do so I will take a look at what I’ve noted down and aim to put into action if not done so already.

I love goal setting some new planners are on the way as I speak, but one thing I would say when setting goals don’t feel under pressure to have all your goals set out by Jan 1st, why not aim to write out by the end of Jan instead, that way you can really give yourself time to focus on what you want to achieve in 2018. I always have two dates, Jan I set biz goals, Feb I set personal goals.

So do you reflect on your year?, what have you learnt or discovered ?, are you making plans/goals for this year? If so I’d love to hear.

My blog will be back and likely in a monthly format rather than forthrightly. a blog by a caker for cakers. the focus will be everything to do with running our businesses and the cakey world so if there is a topic or area you’d like me to cover please let me know.

So time to get planning so have a Happy new year, hope your having a lovely break And here’s to another great year of baking and blogging in 2018.