Come on, admit it, you have stared lovingly through a patisserie window in awe of all the glorious cakes and for a moment shut your eyes and wondered what each of those ‘delish’ little bites would taste like…
I’m not ashamed to admit, I am at my most vulnerable when under the influence of ginger cake; so when meeting cake designers I have to be careful as my whole sensibility is lost.
I met Abigail when she had just started out; it was a chance introduction from a chief bridesmaid at one of my client’s weddings, who turned out to be her sister. I remember the very first email I received from Abigail vividly, it was so considered, joyful and full of delight and from our very first meeting, I thought, ‘this lady makes the cake world more exciting!’ and I was totally sold.
I’m pleased to say I was right, within a few years of us meeting- we have worked together and produced some amazing bespoke wedding cakes for some incredibly adorable couples. And it’s been such a pleasure to work with such a connoisseur who really lovingly labours over every little detail of a wedding cake. Whether it is the lightness of the sponge to just the right colour of soft ivory to ensure the lace details on a cake ‘pop’, this lady is really all over it.
I never can have enough of a good thing and like Mae West said, “too much of a good thing can be wonderful” and to be frank that’s how I feel when I’m working with Abigail and eating her cake.
I caught up with Abigail to discuss her new collection and try to get to grips with trying to put this artisan’s journey into words for you all.
So where did the passion for cakes begin?
I suppose my passion began with me watching my grandma, I know that sounds terribly cliché but it’s true. She would always be in the kitchen, baking shortbread or folding pastry and I loved to watch her and smell all the beautiful aromas she created. She had the most amazing blue and white chinaware, and she always mixed her flour and butter in this brightly striped large bowl. I could watch her and her busy hands for hours, creating marvellous treats.
As I got a little older and more able, she taught me how to work pastry; she had such a good methodology and lots of those early lessons still resonate with me and are evident in my practice today.
How did you start out making cakes?
I was placed 2nd for junior cook of the year (which was very much like Master-chef). I got really fired up and had a passion for creating amazing food and beautiful cakes; I recognised I had a flare for it so wanted to take it further. I knew at that point I wanted to be a chef so I went on and did a hospitality degree and also completed my Le Cordon Bleu training. Once I finished, I travelled and worked as a private chef, this was such an affirming and amazing experience for me.
I returned back to England and was working full time as a Personal Assistant to a Chief Executive, some weeks working over 70 hours. I remember thinking one day I really want to do something that I love and of course my thought and heart gravitated back to wedding cakes, and I knew this was really what I wanted to do.
So, I started planning and finessing my recipes and began researching the market place. I started making cakes in my spare time for friends and family and word quickly spread about me and my cakes. I decided to take the leap of faith and I set up The Abigail Bloom cake company, and as they say, the rest is history.
What was your first cake commission?
Gosh, I remember this like it was yesterday! It was October 2010 that I received my very first wedding cake commission, I was so excited as my dream had become a reality.
The cake equally was a little unusual, the couple were really full of fun and wanted to be original. Their wedding had lots of vintage details and lots of bright colours and was in deepest darkest Kent for 200 guests. So to keep with this playful theme, I made 200 brightly coloured cupcakes stacked high on a beautiful vintage cakes stand, it was a sight to behold.
The cake really worked well with the rest of their wedding design as it was all slightly mismatched and full of pre-loved vintage items that made the whole theme really fun.
What has been your favourite cake commission and why?
Oh my! This is so hard, as there is always a little bit of ‘you’ in every wedding cake you create. I would have to say it would be two cakes which I designed in 2013. The first cake was a bespoke design for a couple who got married at Cliveden; I loved it as it was such a simple design but unique to them as they had their very own monogram and we worked in a monochrome colour palette.
I equally adored making a cake for a couple who got married in Addington Palace. Again, it was a simple design but really impactful and reflective of them; they were so trusting and a real pleasure to work with during the whole process.
What has been your highlight in your cake career to date?
I was absolutely over the moon to have my ‘Rosalie cake’ featured in the current issue of ‘Wedding magazine.’ It’s so lovely for your work to be recognised and see a whole page dedicated to your designs. Also being nominated for various wedding awards recently has felt pretty special.
We’re loving your 2014 collection. Where did you get the inspiration for these gorgeous new designs?
Thank you! Some of the inspiration for my new collection came from Jenny Peckham’s 2014 dress collection. It is full of classic romantic designs with the softest lace which is always so inspiring. Equally, I get inspiration from my everyday life.
What characterises your designs?
I try to give all my cakes a feeling of total elegance, I equally like them to be soft and feminine with an element of ‘wow!’
Before a couple contact you to commission you to make their wedding cake, what information should they prepare before their consultation?
I always ask couples to come to meet me, once they have found and confirmed their wedding venue. The venue really sets the tone in regards to style and sometimes the colour palette which a couple may choose for their wedding day. I ask clients to bring a mood board or scrapbook of images and inspirations that has captured their imagination and together we work from here to begin their cake designing journey.
Who and what inspires and makes an impression on you?
Anything or one that has a feeling of elegant opulence but simplicity at the same time. For me it’s all about understated luxury.
What are your favourite flavour combinations?
I have to say, I’m loving our new vanilla bean sponge with white chocolate ganache buttercream and also our passion fruit curd. The tang of the curd really does complement the vanilla and white chocolate perfectly.
What keeps you passionate?
I love being able to create beautiful things for couples on what is essentially one of the most important days in their lives. Knowing that I have done my utmost to make sure that their cake creates a “wow ” factor both in looks and taste. The best part for me is when you receive that lovely handwritten thank you notes and cards from brides after their wedding, It really does make the long hours and effort feel super appreciated.
What advice would you give to brides wanting to create a ‘wow’ with their wedding cake on their big day?
I always advise them to be prepared to go for something a little different and to think about their wedding cake design and what excites them; as sometimes you can get inspiration from the strangest of places. And sticking to the tried and tested traditional cake designs may not be for you, so don’t be scared; experiment and enjoy!
The soundtrack, tell us five of your favourite tracks that you like to listen to when you’re working?
When there is a lot of concentration involved when cake designing, but my personal favourite tracks are;
- Bright lights bigger city -Cee Lo green
- Mr Brightside – The Killers
- Wherever you go – Charlene Soraia
- Fix you – Cold play
- Kissing you – Desree ( I love the version in Baz Lurmanns’ Romeo and Juliet)
Tell us a secret!
I have a serious weakness for Tunnocks tea cakes!
Words Penelope Cullen Tigerlily
Cakes & collection Photography The Abigail Bloom cake company