Chris Ormrod, managing director of Ministry of Cake, reflects on how his business literally "sells happiness".
It strikes me sometimes that I don’t just sell cake – I sell a little piece of happiness that is wedge-shaped and, more often than not, chocolate.
Of all the cakes we sell at Ministry of Cake – and we sell almost 3 million slices a week – nine out of 10 slices are chocolate fudge cake, and the other one is inevitably a chocolate cheesecake of some description.
I suspect this would come as no surprise to the Aztec shaman who first figured out how to make the heavenly flavour in the first place. I’m sure he’d be a big fan of my Alabama fudge cake with brownies on top – even if the concept of adding cream, ice cream or custard alongside might confuse him a tad.
How to keep chocolate fresh
So, the interesting challenge for us is how to keep evolving the chocolate fudge cake – how to keep it interesting, exciting and appealing to people as they decide which treat to have with so many other options abound.
The chocolate cake used to be so simple. A sponge, split and iced, masked with icing and decoratively swirled on top – if an exotic touch were needed it probably came with a few chocolate drops sprinkled on top. Not any more; now we add layers of caramel, top with brownies, melt in some Belgian chocolate chips and then, in case that’s not chocolatey enough, we dust with cocoa powder to give the final product an intense chocolate aroma.
That’s why, when I see people eating our cakes, I often see them smile and share spoonfuls with their fellow diners – and I know that, if nothing else, I’ve just made the world a slightly happier place…