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?


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


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.


And it you wish to be featured in the meet the baker interviews please email


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


  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.


  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.


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


  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


And if you wish to be featured in meet the baker please email

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) 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.

Refresh and Rebrand-Mood board

When I started Kake and Cupkakery or rather when they merged I was very much inspired by two programmes DC cupcakes which focused on a cupcake bakery called Georgetown cupcake the owners are sisters Katherine and Sophie who gave up their jobs and opened a cupcake shop, and have since gone on to open another 5 bakeries. 

My other inspiration was Unique Sweets which I love and  and has been featured in one of my earlier blog post. 

This programme focused on American baking,unique sweet treats and bake shops across an episode here

When I started my focus and goal was to one day open my own bakery with the feel of an American bake shop with shops in the midlands, up north and down south, where I create all my celebration cakes as well as being open to sell coffee and cake. Think Cake boss, bakery downstairs workshop upstairs

Well if your going to dream dream big I say.

So when I think of my business I’m always thinking how this would translate into a bakery, even though currently my biz is primarily operating online which has great advantages and is working well I always imagined what it (a bakery) would look and feel like and me rebranding I very much have this in mind as that’s my ultimate dream/goal.

Yes I make cakes but I overall I just love to bake so even though I have a core focus of Cupcakes-celebration cakes-wedding cakes in my business I feel like I’m an all rounder as I do have a bit of a patisserie background so I’m always open to trying new ideas and exploring flavours that I feel are authentic and natural.

Every aspect before I started Kake and cupkakery was carefully considered just like any business and with the rebranding and how the business is operating my logo or rather brand has to represent everything I now do. I thought about my packaging and how it needed to be generic so that a man would feel comfortable carrying a box of cupcakes as well as a woman and in this I mean escaping anything to pink, swirly or overtly feminine, I’m not saying men can’t do pink but when thinking about what I wanted to do I had to break it down and be really clear who I wanted to cater for even though females are my primary market I just didn’t want to be too feminine so that’s why I opted for a generic plain kraft style box with no window but also have packaging I could dress up. I love the boxes and they’ll be staying how I can improve on presentation remains to be seen.

What I offer:

 My flavours for my cupcakes I would describe as gutsy and unusual and I like to think a little unique I like to let the cake do the talking  so for my current logo I stayed neutral and minimal because in the early stages I didn’t know where the business would lead, but now I know what I do and my customer base it needs to reflect that.

I create celebration cakes for all occasions catering for busy mums who want a special cake as well as those special birthdays and christening etc this is the fun element and a core part of my business.

Weddings is a market I need to get further established in but offering something a little different as there are many wonderful wedding cake designers whose cakes are beautifully executed so I have to think what I can offer that is different that I can bring to an already crowded market place.

And if you know me personally I’m a people person also a chatterbox and a little extroverted with a quirky sense of humor, I’m very expressive with my hands when I talk (true story)

So my brand has to represent all or most of the elements above  as well as some of my personality.

So first meeting was a brand discovery meeting back in April which dug deeper into me and my business and elements of what I’ve discussed above, Nancy wants to bring into my branding and get it to represent  the different things I do as well as my personality.

 I was already working and focusing on certain aspects of the business because I had been working on a business planner Ive spoken about in previous post  called Dream|Plan|Do by the Design trust and is one of the reason for the brand refresh as it really makes me think about what I’m doing.

So back to the brand discovery meeting,some of the questions Nancy wanted to know were:

  • Who my customers are- I used analytics from my social media to determine who interacts and responds to my pages especially with boosted post and adverts plus who I sell too.
  • What do I do? – artisan cupcakes, celebration cakes  a few wedding cakes, and recently a macaron or two.
  • Words I use to describe my business- authentic, quirky, unique, approachable  etc…
  • Who I want to attract- More customers who like artisan products
  • Business I admire and why- kute cake,crumbs and doilies, Lilly vanilli, Apple, Georgetown cupcake, 
  • Design styles I like- I used Pinterest to help me 
  • What my packaging is like- kraft brown boxes which me and my customers love and I will be keeping.

So Nancy went away and looked at all the information I gave and sent to her and she in turn sent me a mood board which is based on some visuals I sent to her as well as our conversations.

She is so collaborative and really wants to know what I like and dont like and unlike previous times where I’ve had a logo design there are loads of questions and suggestions been made that I’ve never thought of, and I really appreciate her expertise and creativity of thinking outside the box.

The images below are a combination of looks and colours sent to me to get my response. Its been a mixture of feeling overwhelmed, excited and wow. 

We also went through a  Pinterest board I created (feel free to have nose, the board is called Brand refresh) and went through aspects of design I liked and didn’t like so I can see she is building up a picture about me and Kake and Cupkakery 

This is not the final look but was just to judge my reaction to colour which is a huge leap from my muted monochrome look.

There is still work to be done on:

  • Colour palette
  • Logo
  • Typography
  • Pattern

So the next stage will be to see some colour palettes as well as a logo design.
I’m absolutely loving this process and while this is happening I’ll be tweaking everything else such as website,looking at my price point and product offering. 

It’s all very exciting and that’s why I want to share this process with you through my blog post.

Next update coming soon

Meet the baker


Us Cakey peeps we have a lot in common, we love buying cake kit,get dazzled with glitter, in awe of a drip cake, oh yes we certainly share our love of all things baked and cake, but yet every business is so unique. 

The Cake community is a large one that can be super supportive, critical, fun,innovative. We love sharing techniques, hints and tips but we don’t always get a chance to shout about what we do or just share what makes us tick.

So with this in mind 1-2 times a month I will feature a cake business on my blog.

 You’ll get a set of questions to answer, all based on you and your Cakey biz.

Your replies will then be shared with thousands of Cakey peeps and beyond.

Feel free to add your website and any social media links to your feature which will also be shared within the meet the baker blog.

If your interested in this feature please email with Meet the baker in the subject line I’ll then send you your questions and let you know when your business is featured.

You can then share with your followers on your cake pages and social media which will give a little insight into what us bakers do.

If your on Twitter be sure to keep an eye out for the #MeetTheBaker and be sure to share the #MeetTheBaker on fb too to connect the Cakey love.

I hope you enjoy this series


Kake and Cupkakery 

What’s your Niche?

They always say the reason to start a business is to solve a problem or identify a need and once you have identified what the problem or the need is you will quite likely have a concept/idea for a business.

If you have a business baking and decorating cakes like myself you will have either started your business from being a hobbyist or just made the decision to start a cake business.

Either way we have identified that the problem that we solve as cakers is creating speciality cakes handmade for various celebrations and occasions, small or large, budget or more expensive we are certainly in the business of bringing a little joy into people’s lives with cake, in fact I would say we are memory makers as most people can remember receiving an extra special birthday cake. 

Now starting the business that’s the easy part,the next is to identify your niche or in other words what your good at or where your passion is.

Do you need to have a niche? Maybe not but think of any business and you will see that their is at least one thing that they excel at or they are known for. 

In the Cakey world it is just so diverse we have businesses who specialise in life size cakes, gravity defying cakes, sugar paste flowers, decorating with buttercream, royal icing, Wedding cakes, Cupcakes, brownies, bundt cakes, too many to list all but I can guarantee every single person who bakes and decorates cakes has a niche.

For me my business focuses on celebration cakes and dessert style cupcakes with the occasional wedding cake.

 The wedding cake market is an area that I haven’t really targeted much but I have some ideas around this that will suit my niche so will look into more marketing in this area over the next few months ready for the 2017 wedding season.

With celebration cakes I mainly make birthday cakes, and this has happened quite organically as that is where the majority of my orders come from and I would say compared to wedding cakes the percentage of birthday cakes I make in comparison to wedding cakes is 90% so I feel pretty comfortable knowing that this is enjoyably a big part of my business because that’s what my customers mainly order and then thankfully  go on to recommend me to family and friends who then in turn order  a birthday cake themselves.

 Now what I consider to be my niche is dessert style cupcakes, basically put I love cupcakes and wanted my customers to not necessarily order a cake for a special occasion but order some cupcakes just because they fancy a treat in different flavor combinations or they want to gift a box to friends and family. My customers are always keen to see what flavor combinations I will come up with next and if you can get the word out about what you do in your local area or beyond it really helps you to stand out from what others do in a similar market.

So over the years I have concentrated in coming up with a whole concept around my cupcakes and I recognize this is to be my niche.

Early on I made the mistake of trying to be all things to all people and this is easily done because we want to try everything and in my opinion doing this usually brings you to a conclusion of what you like to do and what sells well with your customers but being all things to all people has the danger that you end up not really appealing to anyone or spreading yourself too thin.

I tried cake pops and macarons, haven’t ventured into iced cookies (yet) but might have a dabble.

 I do bake other items such as brownies, doughnuts etc… but I quickly realised cake pops and macarons didn’t come to me as easily as cakes plus there wasn’t much of a demand with my customers for cake pops or macarons. So putting this to one side I leave it to businesses that do this so much better than me and I decided cake pops and macarons wouldn’t be part of my product offering on a permanent basis just very limited occasions or special request.

The advantages of what finding your niche brings is that your customers will know what you do, you can then target and market more effectively depending on your niche.

There are many  baking related business who I believe have captured their niche perfectly and it is very clear what they do.

Pop bakery- cake pops

Tasty cakes – large and life size cakes

Yipsy macarons – Macarons

Crumbs and doilies – Cupcakes 

Cakes by cliff – Drip cakes

Queen of hearts couture cakes -Buttercream artist

The businesses mentioned above have clearly identified what they enjoy doing and what their customers want and through social media has allowed the customer to buy into what they do and what they specialise in.

So if you ever find yourself feeling stuck on the direction of your business go back to basics and focus on what you do best, where your passion lies or where the majority of your orders come from. Before you know it you have your niche.

I would love to hear what your niche is so please feel free to comment and share.


So the lovely Valeri and Christina from Queen of hearts couture cakes have sent me this brilliant message regarding finding your Niche:

Aaawwww! Thank you so much for thinking about us. 

Well, what we can say is, it is indeed important to find your niche. Although, market is very competitive so you have to up your game. You can or not necessarily have your niche..or maybe you’ll eventually discover it. But what’s important is, every cake photo you post, HAS TO BE: neat, professional looking, and with your style in it. This is your portfolio..and this is what people see and will remember you for. So every post you will do is a chance to get people interested and remember make the most of it 🙂

Hope we make sense! Haha 

Much love to all of you from 2 crazy buttercream girls,

Valeri & Christina xxx”

Thanks Sir Alan

In My last blog post I shared how I have been working on my branding and some logo changes as the business has developed and has slowly grown organically. 

So with me in this reflective mood I thought I would share some business advice I received. In the very very early stages of my business (Kake days) I sought out business advice from Sir Alan Sugar.

At the time Sir Alan had a business column in the Daily Mirror and the paper was looking for readers to Send in business themed questions for Sir Alan.

The apprentice tv show was in to its Second season and I thought to myself wouldn’t it be fab to get some advice from Sir Alan really “how scary can he be” ? so I took an opportunity to contact him via the newspaper column regarding some business advice for getting my rum cake into retail.

On reflection at this current time it’s not something I would even entertain but at the time I was green around the gills so I sent him an email and didn’t think anything more of it, I certainly  didnt expect him to reply but he did and they used my question as a feature. 


The original email question and reply from Sir Alan is below and I must say he gave some very good advice of which I did Infact follow.

  • I did supply a coffee shop, two Infact but now I’m concentrating on selling to the end user.
  • I worked on pricing as suggested (which we as cakers struggle with) but I’m glad I took the time to get to grips with it. 
  • I researched and understood the problem of scaling up so didn’t pursue the retail side of supplying a retail store.
  • I didn’t undercut competitors but aimed to be of similar pricing for my market and area and competed on quality and value rather than aiming to being the “cheap cake lady” I wanted customers to come to me out of choice and not cheap prices.

The advice given really set a benchmark with me and was the mainstay of how i pursued my business.

So please have a read and thanks Sir Alan for the business advice. The business is turning a profit and doing just fine.

Ps, my web page mentioned below no longer exists it’s now
Dear Sir Alan, 

LAST year I decided to turn my hobby of bespoke cakes for all occasions into a small part-time business, which has proved to be quite successful. I have received orders for cakes from friends and colleagues and have received quite a few recommendations. 

I have a web page – 

I’d now like to sell my cakes, in particular a Caribbean-style rum cake, in a department store and I’d like to aim for the Christmas market. Could you give me advice on the best way to approach the stores 
Yvonne Donald by email 
Sir Alan says, 

“I get lots of letters from people who want to turn their hobby into a business. In your case, it’s not an impossible dream. 

But realistically I am sure every reader has a friend or someone in their family who is good at baking cakes and does, from time to time, bake you the odd cake for a party or a special occasion. 

It is not uncommon and it is also not uncommon for your friends and family to be highly complimentary. As I have said many times in this column, don’t expect a frank and honest opinion from family and friends – they will always tell you what you want to hear. 

The only suggestion I have for you is to try to sell your cakes in your local delicatessens or privately-owned cafes, restaurants, coffee shops etc. These people have to buy cakes from wholesalers – they may as well buy them from you. 

However, there is a tremendous problem setting up the mass production of cakes and it’s not something you can do from a normal kitchen. 

You can appreciate that if you received an order for, say, 100 cakes to be delivered in two or three days, you would not be able to handle it without an industrial kitchen. 

Try my first idea, step by step. And make sure you get your calculations right. 

First ,work out the cost of the materials to you, the cost of gas or electricity that is being used, your time, effort and labour and any packaging materials. 

Once you have calculated that, be sure to add a whopping profit on top. 

The margins on food are tremendously high, so don’t be afraid to charge. 

Compare the cost of other cakes in the shop and try to undercut them to get yourself started”