An Interview with…Cakes by Beth

‘Twas a sunny Wednesday afternoon dear readers as I lazily scrolled down the Twitter Newsfeed  when I noticed @cakesbybeth had announced she had been featured on page 101 of Living Edge magazine and so naturally being curious about any fellow baker I had to have a little look…Click here to read about Beth in Living Edge magazine!

Without sounding too stalkery, I loved the look of Beth’s dessert table featured in the magazine so I continued my journey of curiosity to Beth’s website to find out more!

(Love the roses piped on to the cake!)

 
 
 
 
So having decided I had to interview Beth to find out even more I hastily sent her my cakey questions and here are her answers!
 
 
 
Tell us about your passion for cake. How did it lead to starting a business?
I’ve always been into arts and crafts, and if I baked anything, I always
had to make sure it was prettily decorated. Sometimes I spent too much time
decorating and kept my family waiting for their pudding because of it!
Whilst at uni, I started making novelty cakes as part of my gifts for
family and friends on their birthdays. I found myself craving the next cake
opportunity and so the hobby grew. My friend then asked me to make her
wedding cake, which was a huge honour, a massive challenge but that was my
turning point. I knew what I needed to be doing.
 
How did you decide on the name?
I wanted to keep it simple. Nothing too fancy and I didn’t want to use a
pun so I used my own name. It does mean that I don’t have to introduce
myself too often. If I say “Hi, I’m the owner of Cakes by Beth”, everyone
just kind of guesses…
 
What’s your favourite cake to bake and decorate and why?
I’m torn between a really zany novelty cake and a tall, structural wedding
cake. They’re both so different and have their own challenges and rewards.
Novelty cakes are all about the little details. People may not notice them
straight away but they make all the difference. For wedding cakes, it’s all
about a smooth, flawless finish and just the right level of decoration in
the right places. I love the point when you have to decide that you have
added enough but not too much.
 
If cake weren’t your career what do you think you would be doing?
That’s a tough one as I’ve had a few different jobs in the past, but none
of them have challenged, motivated and driven me like my cake business. As
I have a PhD in Materials Science, it would be something involving that but
it’s hard to say exactly what.
 
Do you invent any of your own cake flavours?
I have put together some of my own flavour combinations for cakes, which
are inspired by really nice flavours elsewhere, such as in cocktails and
other desserts. I also use my own sponge recipes for my cakes and cupcakes
so you won’t find anything else quite like a cake from me!
 
What is the most cupcakes you’ve ever made in one day?
About 150. I know that isn’t a huge amount but there were about ten
different flavours so it really was a mammoth task!
 
Some of your cakes look so intricate! What’s the longest amount of time
it’s taken to decorate just one? 
The vintage-inspired pastel pearls cake was probably the most
time-consuming to date. The pearls alone took over seven hours to mould and
the cake itself was quite tall. I think the record will be beaten by a
wedding cake that I will be making in a few weeks’ time though. I can’t say
too much but with six tiers of handmade decorations, I am going to be very
busy indeed.
 
What is the best way to eat cake?
With friends and family. For me, cake is all about celebrating. From the
cheers when you first slice into it, to everyone diving in to grab the
biggest piece, it should be about having fun.
 
What’s your best baking tip?
As a scientist, I’m bound to say this but make sure you weigh and measure
everything carefully. I switch between metric and imperial depending on
what I am making (buttercream always has to be in pounds and ounces, it
just doesn’t feel right otherwise) but never mix the two within a single
recipe.
 
Any tips or words of advice for those starting out a cupcake business?
It’s a tough area as there is so much competition so make sure you have a
clear USP. If you are doing something that stands out as being different,
people will take notice.
 
Are you interested in opening a retail shop at some point, or do you
intend on focusing on the custom orders?
Everything I make is from bespoke orders and I would really like to keep
it that way. The planning process is one of my favourite parts, taking a
load of ideas and bringing them all together to create the perfect cake for
each individual client. I also love the flexibility that working at home
for myself brings me. It also helps with cake consultations as I can be
fairly flexible to fit in with busy brides and grooms.
 
What’s next for Cakes by Beth?
Lots more baking! 🙂 I have just launched my new range of dessert tables,
which bring all of my products together, along with some other exciting
custom desserts, to create beautiful displays at weddings, parties and
events. I have been finding that more and more, people order lots of
matching extras with their cake but weren’t necessarily sure how to display
everything together. With my dessert tables, you can have that perfectly
coordinating centrepiece, with something to suit everyone, all delivered
and set up for you. It’s proving really popular with weddings, birthdays,
christenings, baby showers and I’ve even had an enquiry for a summer garden
party so it’s great to see that other people are as excited as I am!
 

 Great interview, thanks Beth! x

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This entry was posted in January 2010. Bookmark the permalink.

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