Meet the Baker- Bake to the future

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. What was the last cake you made?

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

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6. How do you attract customers to your business?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A new air brush gun with a larger paint holder.

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

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

14. What is your favourite brand of sugarpaste

Massa! Nothing else comes even close!

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

Sculpting and painting on cakes.

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

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

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

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

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

Slice of cake! With a coffee, yummy

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

You can find Lou on Instagram and Facebook.

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

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

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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.

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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-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.