After three months of making dainty, white, floral cakes during the peak wedding season, cake bakers must look forward to releasing their demons in August - a time when they can vent spleen via some ghoulish and gory cake creations.
Halloween is moving up the league table as a seasonal earner for bakers and is now only behind Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day for sales, says Kevin Slatter, owner of London-based The Cake Store, a one-shop bespoke cake bakery. "Halloween has become more of an event in the UK. People tie in Halloween with Bonfire night, and there are a lot of joint parties."
Not that seasonality is a barrier to an online cakes specialist, making cakes to order. The bakery has just put the finishing touches to a Halloween speciality - a cake featuring Dracula emerging from a coffin. The Cake Store is mainly geared towards online retailing, and this is one boon of featuring cakes all year round for sale online.
The streamlined third-generation family business evolved out of Slatters Bakery and now turns over twice as much as it did when it had five shops and a wholesale business a few years ago. "It’s a traditional bakery shop, selling bread and takeaway; but the shop hosts the website, if you like," he says. "When we launched the website we consolidated into one shop. A lot of ordering is done online and we hand-deliver within the M25."
Production employs 25 cake makers, with four working on design. "We add to the range every year; we are beginning to plan for Halloween now and we can make any cake with three days’ notice. But Halloween cakes are very often a last minute order," says Slatter.
Cakes are sold to corporate events, but the trade is mainly geared towards kids’ parties. Most Halloween cakes are based with vanilla sponge, chocolate cake or carrot cake. The witch cake has been the biggest seller. The bakery also sells little cakes in the shop with spooky images and bloody fingers, as well as themed cookies. "We’re looking to come up with more small novelty treats, as well as things suitable for mail order so that we can send them beyond London."