I do often get asked where I get inspiration from for all our cakes. I could say from everywhere - nature, traveling, trends, Instagram, except while all that could be true, it's never any one source, or necessarily entirely true .
Inspired by Nature
You see, while I do love nature I'm not really one with nature if you get my drift? Whenever I've visited the countryside I always get some sort of lurgy and my tonsils swell up. Also, I do love animals but I'm quite averse to creepy crawlies. But which girl doesn't love flowers eh? And having seen various cakes incorporating various forms of flowers here are my findings:
1) Real Flowers - Popular with classic wedding cakes, and looks amazing when decorating simpler cakes or macaron towers!
2) Sugar flowers - I did a 6 month course on them and quickly realised it requires the patience of Gandhi-proportions which sadly I'm not blessed with. They were incredibly enjoyable to make, and the results are phenomenal but I would never be able to hack it under pressure considering the amount of time it needs and that it can never be rushed. Besides, I don't think our target audience would be demanding them at the cost we'd have to charge, so that's a relief.
Alstromeria, Lily of the Valley, Freesias...each and every bit made by my little hands. That took me a WEEK!
3) Edible flowers - They are pretty to look at, but negligible in terms of taste and texture and extremely perishable, hence we do without. I've used plenty at restaurants I worked at in starter and mains, and also in my own photoshoot making fancy ice cubes though!
Image: Anneli Marinovich
4) Buttercream flowers - NOW WE'RE TALKING!!! My favourite type of flower is one made of delicious smooth Swiss meringue buttercream. Because it tastes ridiculously good with our cakes. YAS! Nature at its best ;)
Inspired by Travel
Traveling - as I'm self employed it's pretty hard to squeeze in much traveling. I do love pairing foreign flavour profiles with more western ones though such as Matcha, and spices such as cardamom with pistachios etc but I also love invoking a bit of fun and nostalgia by say serving up sweet Faux Fried Chicken n Waffle "Soul Food" and Dim Sum on cake.
Our customer profile is extremely cosmopolitan as a result of us being based in London I suppose, so it's always fun getting inspired by the "world".
Inspired by Trends
Trends...well, technically they're fads, but the good ones stick, the bad ones fizz out. The drip cake trend has been going on for so long that I'm not even sure it can be classified as a trend anymore. It seems like it's joined the ranks of the cupcake, macaron, eclair, doughnut, salted caramel, matcha this matcha that what-have-you-not.
They may rise and fall in popularity but they will always be around because it's food and everyone loves food. As opposed to say hair mascara and friendship bracelets. Or wait, are they back "in" again?!
Inspired by Instagram
Instagram is a funny place. It can be an incredible source of inspiration, and indeed my first foray into discovering our drip cake style was through following instagrammers like Katharine Sabbath and Unbirthday Bakery. While on the surface our drip cakes may look "similar" by virtue of being drip cakes, in practice our offerings are varied...and by quite a large margin. But when I recently got a trolly comment on my ganache drip cake recipe blog post, something along the lines of, "Love the attitude, especially when you claim you didn't invent the drip cake - just because you put some doughnuts on your cakes doesn't make the design yours", I couldn't really have any reaction other than, "pshhhh come off it ye numpty keyboard warrior!".
Sure, it doesn't make the design ours, as technically I hadn't forked out to establish silly IP rights, but I feel safe in the knowledge that I had never seen a similar cake before I actually set about creating our first ever doughnut cake, the Doughnut Cookie Monster, and only created them out of desperation. Wait, what?! Desperation?? Yeah, that's right. Our shop was doing badly and I needed a creative outlet and to do something with all the items we stocked in the shop so that they didn't go to waste et voila - they all got thrown onto our cakes!
At the crux of it all, inspiration really is blatantly obvious and also hiding everywhere, and if I choose to see it, I'm sure I will. And as I am a bit conscious and awkward about coming across as a pompous know-it-all-guru, here's my first ever drip cake "to keep it real".
We've come a long long way together...through the hard times and the good...
Lots of love,