This week dear readers in the run up to this festive time of year, I interviewed Valeri who works with close friend Christina at Queen of Hearts who specialise in all things cakey and bakey!
As well as making beautiful cupcakes…
and the not so beautiful…(but still very cool!)
QoH also makes these brilliant Cake Pops; which as I discovered were their first attempt! Wish all my first attempts went this well…
Now to get us all in the festive spirit, have a look at QoH’s incredibly intricate Christmas Cookies…
And my favourite Christmas staple…Gingerbread houses!
I love the roof!
Queen of Hearts also creates these stunning Couture Cakes…
Tell us about your passion for cake. How did it lead to starting a business?
Queen of Hearts Cupcakes is run by me and my best-est friend Christina. We both have so much passion in baking and cooking. Last Mother’s Day, we thought of giving our 2 very good friends (whom we consider our second mums) something special but not too expensive. So we said, we’ll cook for them.. I was just browsing the internet for recipes..I went to youTube and stumbled upon a tutorial on how to make a sunflower cupcake using ziplock bag improvise. I tried it and thank God it turned out to be a sunflower. Few more clicks then I found cupcake bouquet. And we said THAT’S IT! The cupcakes were hard and some were coming off the wrappers, icing was horribly sweet..but when we presented them, they just loved it! Our friend Aida was the one who encouraged us make it into business. It seemed as though she had a vision (haha) that it will be a hit because it is so unique. So every payday, we buy some baking stuff. It became an addiction to learn how to pipe other flowers so we never stopped since.
How did you decide on the name?
My second name is Quiencen (pronounced as queen-sen) and most of my friends back home (Philippines) call me Quien..and since for the kind of designs that we do requires so much effort, patience and passion, that is LOVE. So Quien + LOVE = the birth of Queen of Hearts =)
What’s your favourite cake to bake and decorate and why?
We love doing all our flower cupcakes..but just recently, we took a big leap and started doing Couture Cakes (tier cakes) and we just love it because it gives us a bigger canvas and play around with flavours. I must say our favourite so far is our Stained-glass inspired cake. It is very unique, intricately hand-painted (plus of course our signature flowers) and yes, 100% BUTTERCREAM which makes it even more special and even more unique.
Your Japanese kimono and ‘Ruffles’ cakes look stunning, what were they like to create?
To be honest, it takes longer to smooth the cake than to decorate it. haha Here’s a secret..The ruffles cake didn’t really turn out the way we planned it because it was supposed to be gradient yellow. I forgot about it when I was mixing the buttercream and put yellow food colouring in the whole batch! haha So to make contrast, I just put violet flowers. The Kimono cake is challenging as well. If you look at the background closer, the purple buttercream has 3 shades. It was tricky to get those shades and we had to mix few different colours into it and we have to be careful at the same time because if it goes wrong, then the whole batch of buttercream becomes a waste.
If cake weren’t your career what do you think you would be doing?
Well, me and Christina still have our “other” jobs as a nurse but we are hoping that next year we can be full-time bakers and cake artists. (ooh that sounds so posh! haha) fingers-crossed!
Do you invent any of your own cake flavours?
No, we just sort of mixed and matched some of our flavours but we have few flavours that we are developing now that we can call our own. We will launch them next year =)
What is the most cupcakes you’ve ever made in one day?
The most number of cupcakes we ever did in one day was 250pcs..that was when we had our first ever Summer Fair. We got over excited (haha) but luckily we sold most of them and we were left with only 16cupcakes and few cakepops.
Your snow flake and bauble cookies are so intricate! What’s the longest amount of time it’s taken to decorate just one?
It has to be the first batch of cookies we did for a wedding, 10-15min a cookie. We were still learning then so hands weren’t steady and we had to try over and over and the royal icing recipe we were using before takes ages to set.
What is the best way to eat cake?
hhmmm.. Take the wrapper, break the cupcake in half and put the other half on top like a sandwich! In this way, the icing wouldn’t get to your nose! haha
What’s your best baking tip?
Don’t do shortcuts, measure your ingredients properly (and sift your flour and icing sugar)- it makes a big difference. Add cream of tartar for your royal icing recipe so it sets quickly (haha) and if you have a big event or need to make a special cake/order that you haven’t done before, do it ahead of time or if possible, do a sample so it will be perfect on the day you have to make it.
Any tips or words of advice for those starting out a cupcake business?
Always aim to be better and INNOVATE your designs.. Keep looking for something that will make you different from the rest so you are not going to be JUST another cupcake company/business.
Are you interested in opening a retail shop at some point, or do you intend on focusing on the custom orders?
It is our dream to have a shop and/or a mobile shop =) ..and still do custom orders.
What’s next for queen of hearts cupcakes?
Next year, we will aim to join more fairs/festivals and will have more days for our Flower Buttercream Master Classes. We will also introduce online tutoring for those who live abroad those who couldn’t come to join our classes – convenient and affordable.
Thank you to Queen of Hearts for sharing with us their beautiful creations and for a brilliant interview!
You can find out more about Queen of Hearts here