Chris Ormrod, managing director of Ministry of Cake, reflects on how his business literally "sells happiness".
I've been scratching my head over what I should write for this Halloween edition. If your childhood was spent in Australia, chances are you too grew up desperately wanting to celebrate Halloween but it wasn't the done thing and so never have.
Well, as we zoom rapidly away from 2014 and into 2015, I really have a sense of new beginnings. Last year we were moving from back from Australia, and I guess that seemed more like an ending, but this New Year means a new house for me (which allows me to have a cake studio! OH JOY!), and I have set a business plan laid out for my cake business and the classes I hope to run. It's important to keep ahead of the game as far as trends for weddings and what other cake makers want to learn for their own businesses.
Christmas, it's on its way! Cakes, puddings, pies if you're mad about sweet things it's a wonderful time of year. But, there is nothing worse than baking in the 30c+ degree Australian summertime. That's why you need a plan or perhaps a better explanation is a calendar. Because when it comes to December you want to be footloose and fancy free.
A Backpackers Guide to Easter Easter is a popular time of year for foodies like me who relish in eating mountains of glorious chocolate almost guilt-free. However this year, Easter will pass by unnoticed as I write this whilst backpacking in South East Asia, with the majority of countries being Buddhist and therefore not celebrating Easter. It's celebrations like this which lead me to think about home and miss the family. Not to mention the food, with that eaten at Easter being some of the most delicious.
There will be more ‘gravity defying' cakes eg: animals standing on one leg, it's a trend from across the pond. Decorators should be careful that whatever they use as an aperture to support the cake is food- grade material.
If you want to make a Christmas cake, make it a showstopper centrepiece for the table- no-one really wants to buy the traditional Christmas cake any more.
I'm so excited about Christmas this year! The past 3 have been somewhat " different" with moving to Australia in 2011, having a hot Christmas in Sydney in 2012 and then moving home again in 2013! So 2014 is going to be full on!
I'm afraid Halloween is not one of my favourite times of the year. In fact, I can admit that I get a little "Bah Humbug" about it! So I am never very inspired to give you cakey ideas and recipes around this ‘season'.
I am not one to voice my opinion loudly on cake drama. I have a small group of cake friends that I chat with but I am generally not the one to get on the defensive on cake forums and cake debates.
Whilst the Victoria Sponge will always be a classic I like to add a twist to most of my cakes so that they are unique and different to everybody else's. Although I have never tried to sell a Victoria Sponge to my customers on the stall I would probably end up decorating it with whole fresh strawberries on the top.
So this edition of Cake Wire is all about British Classics! As my new business, Victoria Sponge, finally gets underway (yes I finally managed to convince my landlord, yippee!), you would think that it would be obvious which classic I would be discussing today! However, I have decided to share a recipe for different cake with you instead!
This edition we are looking at British cakes. Hmmmm, what cakes are traditionally British? Fruit cake, sponge, it seems that the cakes that spring to mind are the traditional basics.
We had a discussion in class re what is a wedding cake? And we realised in today's fast moving market- anything goes! So from the traditional to the wacky it is basically what the couple fancy. Tips:
Easter inspiration With Easter just around the corner it's time to look at the cake bucket list to find inspiration for this Easters cakes.
I've run into a slight hiccup with re-starting my business, but worth while noting for anyone else who may be thinking about getting in to this game; my landlord refuses to let me run a business from the house we are renting whilst we try to buy. He is well within his rights and has seemingly valid concerns; disturbing neighbours, issues of insurance...
Greetings from the Windy City, fellow Cakers! As it starts to cool down and the wind picks up, that special, spooky time of year falls upon us again: Halloween! There will be ghouls and goblins, witches and werewolves, perhaps even a couple of Miley Cyruses, too.
There's nothing like an Australian Summer to make you question why you bake and decorate.
Since my first blog I now have a stall at my local farmers market every month as well as supplying a local coffee shop. Looking at renting a pop up shop for the day in surrounding towns to showcase my cupcakes and cakes.
So here is my story of judging this year's National Cupcake Championships rather then winning it. The insiders view!
Successful Exhibitions: How to avoid the dreaded "damaged in transit" sticker
I have been watching the events at Cake International, from Australia, with great interest.Obviously, being a past winner of one of the categories at the National Cupcake Championship, I look back on the competition with great nostalgia.
Victoria Forward has just returned to the UK after two years in Australia, and is setting up cake business "Victoria Sponge", in Buckinghamshire. She previously ran Let Them Eat Cake in the UK for six years providing celebration cakes / cupcakes, cake decorating courses and workshops. In 2012 she won the award for Best Presented Cupcake at the British Baker National Cupcake Championships. Victoria is married with 2 children.
There is no doubt that the calibre of modelling in cake decoration has grown in leaps and bounds over the past three years or so. One of the first cake decorators I came across when moving out to Sydney was Verusca Walker. I contacted her, to ask her if I could include her work in my blog, and am astounded that she has only been working in cake decorating for four years!
For a great deal of cake-makers, myself included, the birthday cake is the reason they are now in this industry.
I have a friend whose mother always made pudding, based on the theory that at least the children were getting some calcium and vitamins even if they hadn't eaten the savoury stuff.
If there is one day that is highly anticipated in a person's life, it has to be the coveted birthday. It is a time for joy and celebration - or woe and despair, depending on your perspective. It typically involves coming together to commemorate another year of being alive and well. However, no birthday would be complete without the centrepiece of all centrepieces, the cherry on top, the pièce de resistance: a birthday cake.
If you need to use black sugar paste it is better to buy it readymade than make it yourself.
You may well have heard of the latest baking trend to hit the UK; the combining of two or more recipes to create a never-been-eaten hybrid treat.
Chocolate cakes are fun, taste lovely, but chocolate is definitely a medium to be respected and handled carefully.
As we transition from the hot and steamy days of Summer into the more tranquil, breezy days of Fall, our taste buds are slowly beginning to prep themselves for a transition of their own. Come the new season we will trade in our lazy days filled with strawberry jams and lemon curds for more soothing and nostalgic aromas of pumpkin spice, almond and hazelnut, all reminiscent of a childhood spent in an autumn kitchen.
Ok all you home based cake bakers: imagine your ideal house. You wake up in the morning, get dressed and drift downstairs to the lower level of the house which opens with a welcoming sofa and one wall made up entirely of large picture windows with an amazing view of a beautiful river, boats gently drifting past. Turn around and look at the rest of the room.
Greetings, all the way from the City of Wind! Or, as I like to call it, "The City of Sin..." - sinfully delicious desserts, that is. While Chicago has been known for many things, from our beautiful architecture and unpredictable weather to the longstanding Sox versus Cubs rivalry, in a string of years we've managed to make a name for ourselves in the world of sweets, as well.
The wedding cake market, although competitive, is undeniably a profitable market to get into. For most people their wedding cake will be the most elaborate, expensive and pondered-over cake purchase they will make in their lives, so they are great orders to get, with lots of scope for profit.
Following my success in making it to the semi-finals of This Morning's Super Sweet competition, I got the bug of wanting to do something with my desserts and other sweet treats.
So is it worth going to all the extra time and expense to offer seasonal ranges of products?
Through a few years of triumphs and failures on the subject, I have come to the conclusion it definitely is. Here are some of the pros and cons on the subject:
I baked my first sponge cake today. This may sound strange, seeing as I have had a cake business for six years. However, very shortly after moving to Australia a year ago, I was having a discussion with my neighbour about the perfect sponge cake, and how her family compete with each other to get the lightest and fluffiest.
It is almost a year to the day since we accepted the offer given to us by my husband's employer, for us to move to Sydney and for my Husband to run the operations in their Sydney cake factory. (Yes, we are both in the cake industry, only he is a manufacturing guru, and I concentrate on the small throughput, prettier side of things!) A daunting task of moving and settling kids, but it also meant I would have to close my cake business in Portsmouth.
While I felt I had solid experience in the service industry and was used to talking to customers (difficult, drunk ones at times while I managed a nightclub) when it came to taking cake orders in my own business I had a bit of a learning curve. So here are some of the things I have learnt along the way on this undeniably important process.
Cakes Get Real
I've dusted off the crystal ball and I'm looking to 2015 for inspiration and trend predictions. And I have a bold prediction. We're coming to the end of 'trendy trends'. Let me explain.Over the past five years we've seen cake decorating explode in Australia and across the world.
The lowdown on Easter cakes In the past Simnel cake was popular, a fruit cake with a marzipan layer baked in the centre (although it was also a traditional Mothering Sunday Cake). This is decorated with marzipan, melted fondant and Royal Icing, the marzipan balls around the top edge represent the apostles present at the Last Supper.
Points to consider:
Children's cakes can be great fun to do.....but while not wanting to sound negative a large, carved novelty can take the same amount of time, ingredients and effort as a wedding cake! And the party budget may not stretch to this.