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.
As I started off selling cupcakes I tend to find that most of my cakes are covered in frosting. The best selling cake by the slice is definitely my Carrot Cake although the next favourite is a competition between Red Velvet and my Sticky Toffee Cake.
A lot of my customers see the Red Velvet Cake and don’t know what it is however after explaining what it is they take my word that it is delicious and try it. I find that once they taste it they definitely come back for more.
At my last market I decided to try an ombre cake which I had seen online. I baked my basic vanilla sponge recipe and split the mixture into 4 bowls where I coloured it in different shades of purple and baked as normal. Once cooled I sandwiched together with jam (this is unusual for me not to use butter cream) and covered in butter cream and sprinkles. The end result was very eye catching and made people stop to look at my stall. I even had a hen party that was doing a treasure hunt buy a piece as they were looking for something that was purple and unusual.
I have had a few customers that maybe don’t like a lot of frosting and want something like a lemon drizzle cake however me being me, I want to do something different which is where my lemon yoghurt cake comes in. This is made with yoghurt and lemons and baked in a Bundt tin. Again this is different but proving to be popular with my customers - maybe it is because they think they are being healthy as it is not covered in lashings of butter cream.
Yes, customers do like tried and tested cakes however I think if you add a twist or do something different that is eye catching you will attract them to your stall/shop. Once you have their attention then I find that if they like what they see then they will buy something - after all we eat with our eyes and if something looks good then how can you not try it.
Since my last blog my business has really taken off and my husband is getting more involved (he does the selling whilst I do the baking). We have designed a logo for The Dessert Diva and are in the process of setting up a website. As well as doing Kelso Farmers Market each month we also attend Berwick Upon Tweed Market each Saturday and East Fortune Market on a Sunday.
We are finding that organisers are coming to us to ask if we can attend various events rather than us having to look so we must be doing something right. As this goes to press we are busy preparing for a Vintage Car Rally this weekend which has 1100 entrants and there could be at least another couple of thousand people through the gates at Thirlestane Castle, Lauder - we are the only stall holder selling cakes so the next few days will be EAT, SLEEP, BAKE, REPEAT, EAT, BAKE, SLEEP, REPEAT...............
About Jill Scott
Jill Scott, based in Kelso in the Scottish Borders, is a mother of three and a qualified accountant working full-time as an ERDF compliance manager. In 2011 she was a semi-finalist in ITV programme This Morning’s Super Sweet Competition with her lemon meringue cheesecake.
She decided to do something with her baking rather than it being a hobby. She is trying to start up her own business baking from home and has attended local fund-raisers in her town, as well as generating sales through word of mouth. She has also enjoyed recipe-testing for The Dessert Deli cookbook.