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-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

We create Memories

I came to the  realisation that we are memory makers recently while working on a business planner called Dream|Plan|Do by the design trust http://www.thedesigntrust.co.uk/ and this fab planner was recommended by my jewllery making friend http://www.kathrynpartington.com/ (check out her work it’s stunning)


So within the March segment of the planner it ask us to define 

“What do you do” ?? 

For example if your a jeweler who makes wedding and engagement rings you sell love, if your a photographer you capture memories and how someone wants to be seen,you get the idea.

So for me and when I asked myself the question “what do I do” my first thought was “I make and decorate cakes”

But when I really thought about what I do like thousands of Cake makers/ cake designers/ cake decorators I realised we not only create great cakes we also create lovely memories.

Who doesn’t remember their birthday cake or there babies christening cake.

Many clients order cakes to make an impact for a special event or occasion and along with this they want to create a memory that the recipient won’t forget.

I have made Birthday cakes for children and when I go to deliver there  cake they always recall the last cake they had or the cake before that. 

Wedding cakes are immortalised and play a pivotal part of a wedding day and the memory is captured forever with the cutting of the cake, we as cake professionals have helped create this memory.

Mother’s Day and mums across the land will be receiving cards, flowers, jewelry and of course cakes of which they will love and remember.

With this is in Mind for this Mother’s Day I created a selection of cupcakes and macarons which instead of presenting in my lovely kraft brown boxes I decided to go with something a bit more special and present in a keepsake box to help create a Mother’s Day memory, maybe a box to store Mother’s Day cards in.


I love packaging and thought these boxes were perfect for a special day like Mother’s Day.

So next time your asked “what do you do” just say you help create memories.

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 .

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 http://www.popbakery.co.uk

Tasty cakes – large and life size cakes https://www.facebook.com/Cakes.Tasty

Yipsy macarons – Macarons http://www.yipsymacarons.com/

Crumbs and doilies – Cupcakes http://www.crumbsanddoilies.co.uk 

Cakes by cliff – Drip cakes http://www.cakesbycliff.com

Queen of hearts couture cakes -Buttercream artist http://www.queenofheartscouturecakes.com

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.

***Update***

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 you..so make the most of it 🙂

Hope we make sense! Haha 

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

Valeri & Christina xxx”

Getting it Just right

  
Happy new year, it’s 2016 and another year beckons of more Adventures in Kakeland.

So what are your goals for you and your business/hobby this year? 

I personally like to set myself goals to keep me focused and I find there are 2 times in a year which I give the most focus. The obvious one is the 1st January where I like to focus on business goals, I don’t have them all set out by the 1st but I like to give myself time to think about them. The second is on my birthday in February which is usually for more personal goals (another year older and all that) so inbetween writing this blog post I’m in the process of putting pen to paper and thinking about what I would like to acheive this year both personally and in my business.

For me last year was super busy with cake orders and a coffee shop contract which was good as it helped increase my sales which for any business is fab as it shows growth and is a tangible measure of how I’m doing so it seems I must be getting something right.

  
One of the goals I set myself for 2015 was a spot of rebranding and to redo my website when I had rebranded . I know the rebranding bit sounds very corporate but with cake making/decorating we rely more on reputation than a brand presence but I suppose I’m thinking a bit more long term. 

The market is flooded with fellow cake makers and I believe their is room for all but at the same time we have to think about how we can make ourselves stand out, find our niche and be instantly recognisable.

So with this in mind I began to think about a logo redesign. 

You see in the beginning I didn’t have one, (logo that is) and here is a pic of my first ever business card to prove it, a generic printed card when I was known as just Kake focusing on Celebration cakes and not much else.

  
And If you have been following my business you will have seen a few logos since this and most recently seen 2 different logos  that represent my burgeoning little brand that is Kake and Cupkakery.

So after a while I gave Kake a little update with a basic logo, it was ok and did the job

  
But then cupcakes went huge and i decided that cupcakes had to be part of my business so I got a separate logo done for that side of the business and called it Cupkakery

  

I loved my Cupkakery logo and the simplicity of it and with this I decided to keep them (the businesses)separate to see which part performed the best. 

The thinking behind it was that if one failed I would get rid and focus on the more sucsessful part,but luckily they both did well so I decided to combine both sides of the businessess together and formed Kake and Cupkakery. So with that yet another logo was needed which I loved (at the time) a bit swirly but I liked it  until I saw the little cupcake image been used on another businesses logo which then made me take an instant dislike to mine.

  
it no longer felt like it represented me or the business anymore as I like to think my cakes are unique with unusual flavours, (Cupcakes) I appeal to both men and women of ages from about 29-45 as well as busy mums so I always like to think I create something a little special for my customers with cakes that look and taste great.so I needed a logo that showed that I was serious about my business but still individual and current. 

So It was while I was at a business expo and sat in on a seminar by a Birmingham based company called Orb http://www.thisisorb.com about branding, that got me really thinking it is definatley time for another change?

So while there I approached a stand from a company called Nettl http://www.nettl.com/uk/ and briefly discussed  my ideas as this time I wanted to take the time to properly explore what me and the business is all about. 

I had a consultation with the lovely Paula from Nettl who also took charge of this project, I think I must have got on her nerves by the end but I really enjoyed the process and after many redesigns and tweaks I now have a logo that I feel represents Kake and cupkakery, not overly fussy, simple, individual and unique to me.

  
I love the simplicity of it and really like black and white logos (if you didn’t guess that already)

 I’m still working on the branding side and thinking about colour matching and colour palettes that best represents Kake and Cupkakery so very much still a work in progress.

Paula even managed to duplicate a cupcake I made as part of the logo so adds even more uniqueness .

  
I also redesigned my website http://www.kakeandcupkakery.co.uk which is still getting a few tweaks but overall I’m pleased with the look of it and glad I was able to tick these off my list.

So I hope you like it, I certainly do as l feel it is a look that will grow with me and the business for when I get a little bakery and hopefully no more changes but you can never say never. So now it’s back to the goal setting and business planning so here is too a fabulous 2016.