Now that I’m coasting through that hazy-what-day-is-it time of year between Xmas and NYE, I’m using this time, much like many other folks, to reflect on the past year. I’ve found it’s easy and obvious to brag about the highs (hello, record year of cake-making!) and moan about the lows (like umm...that time our cake was called “trash”) so I’m going to pick out those bang-average moments and realisations that may or may not be particularly huge in any sense other than in the way they made me feel - like those moments when I feel like I’m living my best life.
That’s how many cakes we made and delivered across London, and even further afield. We made cakes in all sizes, from mini loaves and 6” birthday cakes, to towering multi-tiered wedding cakes and croquembouches.
This number on its own means very little, but in the context of the business and how it’s evolved over the past few years - with our small, yet perfectly formed, team of immensely talented 2.5 bakers (I’m the .5 as I’m part-time baking and mumming!), a heaven-sent office ninja, and of course our unsung heroes aka delivery drivers, it’s an achievement I’m proud of!
This year as I’ve started weaning my little X-Ray onto solids I’ve discovered he has an egg allergy. I wanted to create a range of cakes that would make him excited when the time comes for him to really appreciate his birthday cake, and obviously enjoy eating it too without fearing him having a reaction. One of my mummy friends from my baby group also happens to be a vegan so I embarked on my mission to create OMG cakes, in our typical Anges style that our customers know and love, but dairy-free, egg-free, and animal-by-product free, so we can be more inclusive and cater for vegans and those who want to avoid certain allergens.
It did ruffle some faux-feathers as I got called “disingenuous” for capitalising on a “fad” and unrelenting debates on whether or not Oreos are considered vegan. But despite the nay-sayers, we now have some of the coolest vegan cakes in London and actually have had non-vegans intentionally order the vegan cakes, simply because they love the design, like the Vegan Fat Unicorn cake and Vegan Milkshake Cake, and also unintentionally whilst not being able to tell the difference! That alone makes me beam from ear to ear :)
After witnessing a desperate situation in a supermarket earlier this year involving a young mother seemingly getting caught for shoplifting essential items I was inspired to use whatever I could to help retrospectively. We make new cakes regularly, and eat a LOT of it ourselves (the MOST delicious R&D) but sometimes have so much that we have spares which we normally donate to the hospital or care home near us (example - THAT #pinknotred cake that was rejected by a celeb mum), or the bin. While cake is great to receive of course, I wanted to be able to donate cash to a charity that could help people in desperate situations with regards to essentials and found The Trussell Trust food banks to do just that. It took a big leap of faith for me to post my first cake auction on Instagram to raise money for the food bank, absolutely dreading the scenario where I get ZERO engagement, let alone a bid, or something miserably low-balling, like £1, and would have to hang my head in shame and delete my account out of sheer hundo p embarrassment. I know that sounds vain but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel that way at all!
I did reach out to some “bigger mum-stagrammers” in the hope of them giving the #cakeforthought initiative a bit of exposure but sadly not one responded (I was even more bummed when one of them had previously responded to a cake-sponsorship offer for one of her events but no response to this...). So with my hopes dashed and zero expectations I closed my eyes and poked my phone manically to hit post and hid my phone away...for like 2 minutes when I couldn’t stop myself from checking to see at least 10 bids!! That too far surpassing my depressingly sad scenario of a one pound bid! Ahhhh my heart could’ve burst seeing the generosity from my followers!
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Deep breath...here we go...here’s my first #cakeforthought cake up for auction to raise funds for @trusselltrust food banks. It’s a zesty lemon drizzle cake with hand picked strawberries I actually picked myself from Garsons farm in Esher, non-problematic pistachios from around the world (see my stories to see why the pistachios are a problem for us currently!). And it’s vegan! Non-vegans, don’t be put off - the sponge was accidentally vegan anyway and is delicious and so for the cake to be really accessible for all I decided to go all the way with the V-card and if you’ve never tried vegan cakes, this one is a great one to try! I’m setting the base as £15, which is a STEAL for this cake and every single penny from the winning bid (if any!) is going to The Trussell Trust - a wonderful charity that runs food banks to help families in distress. Bidding closes at midnight tonight and the winner will have the cake delivered anywhere within London tomorrow and will receive the proof of donation via email. If you’d like to bid, please leave your amount in £ below. If you’d like to read about why I have decided to auction cakes for the Trussell Trust food bank please do have a read of the latest blog post.🤞 . . . #buzzfeast #huffposttaste #foodgram #feedfeed #dailyfoodfeed #tastemade #eeeeeats #picoftheday #foooodieee #tastespotting #cakesbae #delicious #foodoftheday #foodpornshare #vsco #feedfeed #foodphotography #angesdesucre #f52grams #onthetable #thebakefeed #foodstyling #abmlifeissweet #wiltoncakes #vegan #veganbaking #veganlifestyle #foodbank
I did two auctions raising £315 in total for The Trussell Trust, which is £315 more than I would’ve had I not kicked my pride to the curb.
Our first team Christmas party
In my 7 years of running Anges I’ve never been able to sort out an Xmas party. Those first few years starting up, I was solo baking macarons and had my head buried deep in macaron batter for our busiest time of year and I used to feel so broken come Xmas eve that husband and I would just have a low key binge on party food at home (which is also delightful, mind). Then we opened that shop, which was one of the most unfortunate ventures where we found ourselves in such a dire position where we couldn’t meet the bills from running that shop, let alone have a party...
Fast forward a few years recovering from that damp patch having closed the shop, we have our awesome little team that I can laugh with till my belly hurts, and without whom this year would not have been possible. I am just so chuffed to have been able to claw some time out to celebrate with them over dinner!
To most people these milestones might not come across as anything to write home about, least of all a long old blog post, but for me they made all the difference to my year. I’m grateful for our customers buying every one of those 3,896 cakes - it’s an incredible feeling making a living and providing for my family and keeping our small team employed! I’m grateful for having attracted a totally new type of customer with our Vegan cake range, even if it was spurred on by a partially self-serving motive. I’m hugely appreciative and in love with my followers on Instagram and Facebook who embraced #cakeforthought with such kindness and enthusiasm. And I’m over the moon with our little Anges team that make our customers so happy with our cakes no matter the occasion. Thank you, thank you, thank youuuuu :)
And thank you for reading!
Wishing you a very happy 2019,