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.

meet the bake 9

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

Cake Decorating Basics

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Hello everyone, its been a while since my last blog, have had a little play with the look of the blog but i can be fickle so be prepared if it changes again.

Soll have been so busy and have lots to share regarding my adventures in kakeland but  going to commit that by hook or by crook  l will stick to a fortnightly blog post  so watch this space.

So today i thought l would go back to basics and share a number of post around tutorials, help and advice to do with Cake decorating and cupcake making as well as all my kakey goings on on my kake adventure.

So as the title says its back to cake decorating basics

I started my hobby (which is now a business) back in my 20s (and no not 1920)and  have basically been honing my craft since then, l can safely say l am also still learning as there are so many new techniques and i want to try them all, but l am really quite amazed at both the popularity of baking/cake decorating, (i believe the great British bake off  has a lot to answer for) and as for cupcakes they have just exploded but convinced they are well and truly here to stay.

You only have to venture to the various cake shows and  look at the numerous amount of workshops, cake clubs etc to see the continued popularity as well as the various levels of skill that are out there.

But with any art or skill there is always the basics you have to master and today l am  going to share some of the equipment you are going to need to get yourself started.

So you need to cover a cake and get that smooth flawless finish but how?? well you will need a bit of kit to get started. This is what i started with

  • Plastic Rolling pin – Available in a variety of sizes for a variety of task
  • Smoother – To create that smooth flawless finish, you can get smoother’s for round  cakes and square, the round smoother has a rounded edge and the square has a straight sharper edge
  • Palette knife/Cranked Palette knife – Use to apply buttercream to cake layers and to crumb coat a cake
  • Pizza wheel or sharp knife – I use either to trim edges around a cake

  • gel colours – Available in many colours to produce different hues and shades and is concentrated so a little goes a long way

cocktail sticks – Use to add colour to sugarpaste in small amounts (remember you can add but you cant take away so be easy on the colour)

  • ruler – I use to measure diameter of rolled paste and double check depth of cake to achieve a good coverage
  • Side Cake scraper – Use to smooth buttercream added for a crumb coat

As well as a cake turntable,cake drums, sugarpaste, buttercream, (will cover in another post)  this is a good place to start. I would also get yourself off to a DIY store and buy a tool box as i find this is handy way to store your starter kit, but in time you will need so much more storage for all the bits of equipment you will now start to collect for your new hobby/business.

please feel free to comment or ask any questions as i will be happy to answer, or you can subscribe to the blog, but keep an eye out for future post

Happy Baking

Yvonne