Cakeageddon 2016

It has been agessssssss since my last post and it’s purely down to being a busy little bee over the past few months so I thought I would take the opportunity to reignite my blog ready for the new year.


So we are in the middle of crimbo limbo, that period in between xmas and new year where the days just merge into one, we are finishing off the mince pies, the unwanted celebrations chocolates and vowing to start a mini detox until new year celebrations begin,in other words still in the festive eating mindset but vowing to hit the gym.

So how was your festive period?? 

Did you have a nice one?

It seemed to go by in a blur for me, I managed to get all my Christmas present shopping done in November so thankfully I didn’t have to brave the crowds or hover around waiting for Amazon to deliver, yep this year i was seriously  organised as I knew the run up to Christmas was going to be a tough one due to cakeageddon.

Cakeageddon is the name I have been giving to my Christmas promotions for the past couple years or so and for me it describes it perfectly.

This years Cakeageddon offering was a combination of cupcakes, a festive drip cake, character cupcakes,and chocolate log cabin cakes,and not forgetting the rum cake.


 On reflection  for this year I should have reduced Cakeageddon slightly as I usually manage to take some annual leave from the day job but this year I didn’t so I was coming home and dealing with preparing  the many orders booked in ready for Christmas.

In between the baking I was having to find time to get into the festive spirit by attending Christmas nights out etc…..it was a test of stamina that’s for sure but everyone got there cakes, cupcakes and even mince pies.


The consequence for me though was a house in chaos, chocolate, icing sugar was everywhere and with the last of deliveries on Christmas Eve the last thing you want to be doing is a kitchen deep clean on Christmas Eve but it had to be done as I was still in semi baking mode for my family, two raspberry and lemon roulades for Christmas Day dessert and family mince pies to make so I didn’t  really stop till Christmas Day.

So while I’m in crimbo limbo I always like to reflect back at cakeageddon and think about how I could have done things differently or what I would change.

  1. Continue to get my personal shopping and tax return completed as early as possible as I’m always left rushing to get it completed, my accountant must be constantly eye rolling me
  2. Be mindful of my workload/ orders in December 
  3. Get a little admin help, especially for website enquiries in December actually in general 
  4. Stick to my cut off date for orders ( I’ve been especially strict with myself this year)
  5. Continue to close the business after Christmas just to get my breath back and reflect 
  6. I sometimes think I will have  a break the following year from cakeageddon but I never do so keep em peeled for cakeageddon 2017 🙂

So now it’s time to think about 2017 and what I want to achieve in the business. I’ve already got ideas in my head ready for valentines, Mother’s Day etc as well as more long term plans that I’m waiting to put onto paper.

I’ve even ordered myself a new business planner  to get things moving, this was recommended to me by a friend, it’s for creatives/craft type business  and if your interested you can check it out here https://www.dream-plan-do.com/shop/monthly-planner-bright-red 

I’ll write more about my planning process and how I get on with this planner in a future post.


Personally Ive decided it’s going to be the year of me, I’m going to get a holiday booked in and focus on having a little more playtime and relax a little so my life isn’t all work and cake as I am often described as a workaholic. 

I’m ever focused on my business but taking heed of my mums recent advice

“life is for living” 

so aiming for some balance in 2017

So if you run a business how was the busy festive period for you? And what would you do differently?? I would love to hear about it.

Anyway more post Christmas chilling to  continue but see you with another post in 2 weeks.

Yvonne 🙂 

Aka The Kake lady 

Meet the baker- Kake and Cupkakery

So how are you?? It’s been ages since I have written a post, in fact I’ve missed my blogging but I took sometime out as it felt like I needed to have sometime for myself and enjoy the summer for a change.

I used my downtime to reconnect with myself as life is so hectic and I wanted to focus on life in general as it’s easy to get lost in the day to day hectic activity of life/cake/business.

So it was back to Reading, listening to music, days out, meals out, prosecco, podcast, spa days catching up with friends and family and spending time with my baby nephew who is (10 weeks today)  

I took 2 complete weeks with absolutely no baking to simply be and it was fabulous, the break was definitely needed but now it’s back to work and blogging

So just before September I tweaked the font on my logo for something a little softer, I always love my logo designs but every so often my intuition always tells me when it’s time for a tweak, so I decided to get my tweak done by Jade from the Cupcake Company http://www.thecupcakeco.co.uk/ I have seen her lovely work popping up on social media mainly on facebook so I decided to commission jade to work her magic with a revised font.

https://www.facebook.com/TheCupcakeCompany1/


She also makes some seriously pretty merchandise alongside logo design and brand design which is aimed at the small business owner. So if you ever receive a parcel from jade you will see that she sends her merchandise out in some of the prettiest packaging I have seen.
Also in September I went to the food exchange event organized by Enterprise  nation  https://www.enterprisenation.com/ and if you ever get chance to go to one I would throughly recommend it. It is a highly inspirational day with some fantastic speakers and i came away with great advice and ideas. It’s not specific to the cake industry as it’s aimed at food producers in general but you can learn a lot by looking at other industries and an added bonus this year was that it was in my home town Birmingham at the Millenium point so no traveling to London on this occasion.


September was also the month for National Cupcake week. I didn’t  enter this year but that didn’t stop me celebrating with a flash giveaway on my facebook page. 

Something that made my year was to be featured in the Birmingham evening mail as one of the best places to buy cupcakes in Birmingham. Within 1 week this had helped boost my business, my google ranking (I moved up to page 2/3) and more importantly increased orders and Brand awareness  

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/whats-on/food-drink-news/best-places-buy-cupcakes-birmingham-10035521  

I’m very proud of myself and my business in making this list as I’m in great company and also Birmingham is my home town so was very special.

I also made a couple wedding cakes too, which if you have read my previous blogs making wedding cakes is an area I need to actively begin promoting in as my core market is celebration cakes and cupcakes.

I loved these commissions as they were quirky and followed very specific themes.

The cake below was for two of my friends so making there wedding cake was very special.

So summer is well and truly over,Orders are coming in but now all roads lead to Christmas so need to get creating this years collection.

Also bringing back the #MeetTheBakerFeature so if your interested in taking part get in touch by emailing hello@kakeandcupkakery.co.uk

Meet the baker-Honey bee bakes

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

My name is Lauren Smy, I run Honey Bee Bakes from my home in Epping, Essex. I’m a mum of 2.5yo twins and a part time teacher so I only manage a couple of cakes a week at most.

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

Self taught

meet the baker honey bee bakes 1

How long have you been baking?

I have been baking for around ten years but decorated my first fondant covered cake three years ago.

How long have you been running your cake business?

I was registered in August 2015 so around 9 months. Before that i had been making for friends and family for a year or so to build my portfolio.

How do you attract customers to your business?

Mostly through word of mouth, repeat business, recommendations. I also advertise on a few local mums facebook groups which has generated some business.

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


The late nights – I work on cakes when the boys are in bed so often means up into the small hours, on friday nights especially!

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


Working with people to create their bespoke cake, discussing their preferences and requirements and designing their dream cake!

Do you have a niche?


I have really got into painting on cakes lately! I love the effect. I would describe my favourite style as elegant and pretty.

meet the baker honey bee bakes 3

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


I love the really sharp, neat yet beautiful designs of Caking It Up, Fancie Buns and The Pretty Sugar Cake Company all of whom I love to follow on Instagram!

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


My kenwood mixer! And the Mat. The Mat changed my life, literally!

What was the last bit of cake equipment you purchased?


A new turntable as the old one was squeaking and driving me crazy!

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


Oh there’s lots of moulds and cutters that haven’t been used
!

What is your favourite brand of sugarpaste?


Tom Anderson own brand never lets me down and has got me some lovely compliments for its taste.

Is there a new skill you would love to learn?


Wired flower arrangements and how to create perfect stripes on cakes!

meet the baker honey bee bakes 2

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


To develop the wedding cake side of my business – to offer more consultations, do some wedding fairs and get onto the list of preferred suppliers for local venues. This summer I plan to improve my marketing to attract brides to be.

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


Slice of cake – with a cup of tea every time!

Thanks Lauren for giving readers an insight into your business. And if you would like to contact Lauren you can do so here http://www.facebook.com/HoneyBeeBakesEpping 

 If you would like to feature please email hello@kakeandcupkakery.co.uk 

Product review: Foodie flavours

When I’m baking and flavouring a cake or buttercream I always tend to add a teaspoon or two of Vanilla extract which is usually the Delish Nielsen Massey brand and then if making a flavoured cake I tend to keep it natural, lemon cake is lemon rind and lemon juice, strawberry buttercream is fresh strawberry purée, blueberry cake I use fresh or frozen blueberries, avocado (yes avocado) buttercream yep you guessed it real avocado. 


But sometimes you get a flavour request where it’s either not that easy to obtain the natural product or your unsure how to properly incorporate that ingredient and so you need a little help and that’s where the Foodie flavour brand came to the rescue.

 I came across this particular brand on Twitter via a friends Twitter feed and looking on the website I realised that they have a dizzying array of flavours, I counted 51 which is very impressive and very quirky bubblegum, lychee, cream soda anyone???

Me finding Foodie flavours was perfect timing because i needed to find some Rose and Lavender flavouring for some wedding cake samples.

I ordered via the website and delivery was quite quick which is always a bonus, and after opening the box I realised I had also received a complimentary Almond flavouring which was a pleasant surprise and I’m  already thinking about how Im going to use it.

One of the cakes I was making was a Rose and Pistachio cake which just speaks romance to me so is perfect for a wedding cake tier.

I used the flavouring in both the  cake batter and buttercream. There is guidance on the box for usage as it does state it’s “super strength” so I used sparingly as you can always add but you cannot take away. 

The flavour seemed to work really well in both the cake and buttercream and the feedback reinforced this as my clients really enjoyed it.

So my verdict? I’m still going to be using fruits, vegetables and chocolate in my cakes (it’s my thing) but the foodie flavours  range will definatley have a place in my Cakey cupboard and will be perfect for when i am looking for some quirkier flavours and I must admit the bubblegum flavour does intrigue me .

Meet the baker- Mamgi Cakes

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Its time to introduce another cake business in the Meet the baker feature, Hope you enjoy another fab read and seeing pics of some great cakes.

So firstly please introduce yourself and your business, and where in the UK/World are you based?
My name is Sally and I own Mamgi Cakes based in St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan in South Wales.

mamgi cakes

Are you a self-taught cake decorator/baker or are you trained?
Mostly self taught though I did learn a lot from my grandma as I was growing up. She was very into her cakes and baking. I have done a few taught courses now over the last few years but no qualified training.

How long have you been baking?
Since I was a child. My grandma used to live with us when I was growing up and she would make the most amazing cakes for our birthdays and I would help her sometimes to make them for my brothers. She also used to make a proper Sunday tea with all the homemade cakes and scones etc on a Sunday and she would show me how to bake things so have been doing it ever since. I came back to the cake decorating side of things when I had my boys, I was making cakes for them, other family members and friends and it sort of grew from there.

mamgi cakes 2

How long have you been running your cake business?
Just over three years now. I was making cakes for family when one of them recommended me to a friend of theirs that needed someone to make a large number of cupcakes and cakes for a wedding anniversary. My husband encouraged me to do it and I then registered so I could take the order and Mamgi Cakes was born. My first ever paid for order consisted of 150 cupcakes and 4 cutting cakes which looking back was a little bit mad.

What was the last cake you made? 
The most recent cake I made was the Harry Potter Knight bus which I gave to my friends little boy for his birthday.

mamgi cakes 3

How do you attract customers to your business?
Mostly through word of mouth and a facebook page (www.facebook.com/mamgicakesstathan). When I was first running my business I was going to some local event days and did some wedding fayres which I think got a few people to know I was here and baking but I would say nearly all my work is through recommendation more than anything else. I also have a few cakey friends who will recommend me if they are full and vice versa.

What do you find the hardest aspect of running your cake business?
The late nights. I work mostly at night once my boys have gone to bed which means I usually can’t start working on anything till after 8pm. This of course then means I tend to have a lot of very late nights to get things finished.

What do you love or find the easiest aspect of running your cake business?
Even though I find the late nights the hardest thing about running a cake business it’s strangely also the thing I love about it. Being able to choose when I complete my work means I can work it around looking after my family and it still allows me to spend time with them, and attend all the things they are taking part in, without having to worry about getting time off work and things like that.

What is your specialty? Wedding cakes, novelty cakes, cupcakes etc…..
I don’t know if I have a speciality yet but I think my favourite type of cake to make is the 3d/carved cakes. I also really like making wedding cakes and flowers.

MAMGI CAKES 5

Who is your favourite cake artist, cake business or you tube channel
I like Ceri Griffiths of Ceri Dz for his Royal Icing work, Hannah Edwards from The Cake Illusionist makes amazing carved cakes and Jacqui Kelly from Totally Sugar does brilliant models.

What one piece of cake decorating/baking equipment could you not do without?
Oh not sure I have so many bits I use all the time but probably my Kenwood mixer.

What was the last bit of cake equipment you purchased?
An Iwata HPC+ airbrush gun.

What is the one piece of cake equipment you regret purchasing
The mat. I kept hearing how it would make covering large cakes so much easier so thought I’d give it a go but was a total waste of money and just didn’t work for me.

What is your favourite brand of sugarpaste
I use Couture/Sugarpaste direct a lot at the moment and like Culpitt as well.

Is there a new skill you would love to learn?
I would love to learn to work with pulled sugar. I attempted it once with isomalt and just ended up burning my fingers and making a mess so would like to learn to do it properly.

What are the goals and ambitions for your business over the next 12 months?
I would like to do more carved cakes as that is something I am enjoying making and move into doing more wedding cakes.

What advice would you give a new cake business just starting out?
Most of the time things take a lot longer to do than you expect/plan them too.

 And lastly what do you prefer a slice of cake or a cupcake?
Cupcake I think.

For contact details

Sally Merrick

 www.facebook.com/mamgicakesstathan

And if you would like to shout about your business or give your customers a sneak peek behind the scenes email hello@kakeandcupkakery.co.uk to have your business featured in a future meet the baker post.

 

What have I been upto?


If you have been following this blog you have also been following my actual adventures in Kakeland so time for a mini update and to catch up to with what I have been upto?

Business has been busy, barely a week goes by without cake orders and I’m also now receiving corporate orders which I enjoy,I do need however to sort out my wedding cake side of the business  as this time of year I could be busier with regards to wedding bookings but have celebration cake orders booked so it’s all good.

I’ve ventured onto another social media platform and have become a SnapChatter, it’s a tricky platform to use as its an old school approach as gathering followers involves getting yourself out there and promoting your business as it doesn’t have a suggested user list like Twitter or Instagram (im on both) so I’m using it for behind the scenes videos, pics and tips, still getting to grips with it but it’s fun and will add another connection to customers and other businesses. So if you are on snapchat say hello.


In May I had one of my recipes printed in Cupcake heaven magazine, it was my Blackberry Mojito cupcake that I also submitted to the cupcake championships a few years ago, so as you can imagine I was over the moon about that.

So my business has been operating for just over 4 years alongside my full time job in my registered kitchen and I couldn’t be more pleased with the progress I have made, the cakes I have produced and the customers I serve.

I am confident in that I know my niche and my place in the market, my branding is sorted and represents the business perfectly.


So with everything going reasonably well I have been thinking about moving into premises as operating from a home based kitchen is tricky, work space and storage is the challenging bit so a dedicated space to work/shop would be amazing ,so as if by chance I saw a shop to let on my way home from work so I followed my intuition got the details and made that call.

The premises is close to my ideal location, has complementary businesses next to it, parking, and on a busy road. Simply put it was perfect so I arranged a viewing and loved it, in my head I created the layout, what I would sell etc etc……. but then reality hit, how will this work, I need funding/ financial as the business is making money and running itself but at the moment not enough income to live off and like everyone else I have responsibility’s so there is a lot to think about regarding taking the leap from my home based business with no overheads to premises with overheads, staff cost etc…… and also leaving the security of a regular income.


I sometimes wish I was totally fearless and could just make the leap but the fear of will it work, what if the location isn’t right, will customers visit arghhhhh it holds me back and I’m sure I’m not the only one.


How do I overcome it?? I have faith in myself and my abilities so you could say I’m working on it.
Before I viewed the shop I had actually been in contact with some small business organisations who after discussing my plans with them genuinely believe I have a viable business, especially taking into account my past experience and knowledge and I think others have done it so why not me.

So what’s next?

Seeing the shop has made me think about the business even more and where I want to be sometime in the future so I have decided to give the business an internal audit (corporate speak I know) to assess my offering, look at my systems, pricing (This doesn’t mean a price increase) do I feel I am offering a good service and do I add value as well as looking into different markets such as weddings as I currently don’t actively market in this area I suppose it would be a bit of a SWOT analysis looking at my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. So lots to think about. 

After this I will attempt a business plan make some smart objectives and take it from there.

I think its good as a small business owner to step away and look with  a critical eye over what I do well and not so well as like many others who run small business we are so busy working in the business we don’t get enough time to work on it and strategise 

So during the summer this is what I will be doing looking at all aspects of the business to try and make it more effective, increase sales, create a strategy to tap into other markets as well as continue to offer good customer service.

The Shop will have to wait a little bit longer im afraid and in the words of Gary Vaynerchuck (I follow him on Facebook so check him out)

Hope you enjoyed my update, and in the next couple weeks my next post will be another #MeetTheBaker feature which I’m absolutely loving and hope you do to. 

Meet the baker-The Cake Days

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Its time to introduce another cake business in the Meet the baker feature and hope you enjoy this read as much as i did.

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

My name is Naomi and am the owner-operator of The Cake Days, http://www.thecakedays.co.uk a home run 5* cake making and decorating business. I am based in Eastham, Wirral and cover the surrounding areas.

Are you a self-taught cake decorator/baker or are you trained?
I am self taught but have since taken a part time cake decorating course which helped to push my skills to that next level.

How long have you been baking?
I have been baking since high school. But properly since my late teens. This got more frequent in university and more so afterwards.

How long have you been running your cake business?
I registered as a business in April 2015 after realising I wanted to make the move from hobby baker, providing for family and friends, to the role of professional baker, providing for customers.

What was the last cake you made? 
I had a busy weekend where I made 2 really awesome orders in one day. One was a personalised 16 cupcake order from a daughter with different toppers representing all the places her mother had traveled to. Another was a dragon themed cake for a 7 year old girl who was ecstatic with the topper.


How do you attract customers to your business?
Most of the business comes through the Facebook page and I love interacting with my customers. I attend fayres and events which keeps the name out there and allows me to get out there and meet customers, promote the business and display products with samples.

What do you find the hardest aspect of running your cake business?
Finding new leads and keeping business flowing throughout the year. During quiet lulls in seasonal periods especially January it can be hard to keep the business going. I’ve started to use those times to promote and network as well as work on items to photograph to use in my portfolio.


What do you love or find the easiest aspect of running your cake business?
I love cake. And so I love making cake. And this makes it really easy to prepare cakes for customers, making their day as special as possible.

 What is your specialty? Wedding cakes, novelty cakes, cupcakes etc…..
It’s changed slightly! I started with cupcakes…and they are my true love! But I’ve since taken on traditional sponges, celebration cakes and wedding cakes. At first I hated modelling and decorating. But now I love watching a full cake come together.

Who is your favourite cake artist, cake business or you tube channel
I love she who bakes. She keeps it real and makes the rest of us feel okay for still learning every day. She’s relatively new to the industry and provides fabulous pieces on starting a cake business.

What one piece of cake decorating/baking equipment could you not do without?
My cake release spray! I spent a long time cutting out greaseproof paper to line tins. Or greasing with butter and flour to prevent sticking. And lost so many cake bottoms in the process! Got some cake release spray and never looked back!!

What was the last bit of cake equipment you purchased?
A second stand mixer! Oops. I now have 2 stand mixers and my mums trusty old kenwood chefette from the 70s.

What is the one piece of cake equipment you regret purchasing?
I bought some cupcake cases from a certain brand at one point in a large bulk amount. (If I’m allowed to say who…it’s culpitt) And they peel like crazy. Now I’m stuck with about 200 of the things that I won’t use and instead have gone back to my Aldi cases which are value for money and bigger than most so more cupcake for my customers!

What is your favourite brand of sugarpaste?
It used to be renshaw but that cracks like crazy now. I am getting serious elephant skin on my cakes! So I’ve got new favourites for different things.
Karen davies for modelling. Wilton for toppers. Sugarpaste direct for celebration cakes,Massa ticino for wedding cakes.

Is there a new skill you would love to learn?
I’d love to learn more flowers. I know roses and a few blossoms. But I would love to do more floral work for my cakes.

What are the goals and ambitions for your business over the next 12 months?
The goal is to take on more weddings as that is what I’ve started to do this year. And retain our regular customers. I now have several returning cake families and repeat events that use me very often.

What advice would you give a new cake business just starting out?
Do your research first. Don’t just make a decision to start a cake business from nowhere. Learn how to bake a really good cake first as there is no point decorating a bad cake. Give away freebies to build a customer base…samples go a long way! And always keep learning…never think that you’re done with learning.

And lastly what do you prefer a slice of cake or a cupcake?
Either… or both! Haha. I love cake. I know most cake makers and decorators get sick of it. But hand me the cake slice and get out of my way!
Contact details:
Naomi Glendinning
Facebook: The Cake Days
Twitter: @thecakedays
Instagram: The_Cake_Days
Website: http://www.thecakedays.co.uk
Email: thecakedays@gmail.com
Address: 1186c New Chester Road, Eastham, Wirral, CH62 9AE
Phone number: 07920464911

If you would like to shout about your business and give your customers a sneak peek behind your business email hello@kakeandcupkakery.co.uk to have your business featured in a future post.