Interview with: Jessica Edwards
Company Name: Jessica Lauren Cakes
Location: Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire
How did Jessica Lauren Cakes get started and how long has the business been going?
Once I had discovered a love for decorating cakes I decided I wanted to gain as much professional training as possible, so I went to Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in London. After I had graduated from Le Cordon Bleu I did an internship with Mich Turner at Little Venice Cake Company, where I refined my cake decorating skills. I then set up Jessica Lauren Cakes in May 2012, as I wanted the chance to use all the training I had with my own creative style and freedom.
Have you always wanted to make cakes?
No, I originally started making cakes as a distraction from a university degree I wasn’t enjoying. I have always been creative but never found the right outlet for this creativity. I originally pursued a career in the media, studying Media Arts. Once I started making cakes it quickly became the only thing I wanted to do.
Can you remember how old you were when you made your first cake?
The first proper decorated cake I made was for a friend’s 18th Birthday. It was a princess cake where the dress was made from cake with a Barbie sticking out the top. Some of my earliest memories though are making marzipan shapes and figures with my brothers at Christmas time.
What types of cake do you make?
I offer a lot of different styles of cake. Mostly I make cakes covered with sugarpaste and decorated with intricate piping or sugar flower work. I’m also starting to make a lot of ‘naked’ and buttercream decorated cakes, which are a great alternative for people who don’t like the taste of sugarpaste. In terms of flavour I tend to mostly make sponge cakes these days, which can be made in a wide variety of flavours. For the more traditional, I still offer a rich fruit cake laced with cherry brandy.
Where do you get the inspiration for your cakes from?
I love reading wedding blogs, and spend far too long on Pinterest keeping up with trends in the bridal world for inspiration. I am a complete music junkie and so a lot of the time I get inspiration from songs. The Taylor Swift song of the same name inspired one of my most popular wedding cake designs, ‘Love Story’.
How do you design each cake? What is the design process?
It varies for each cake, as each is bespoke and different from the last. A lot of the time I will talk through the details with a couple for the design of their wedding cake during a consultation. Some couples have a very solid idea of what they want, but for clients who aren’t so sure, we look at their colour scheme and dress samples etc. alongside my display cakes to come up with a design for them. I will then draw them a basic sketch to make sure our visions match up.
Where do you source your ingredients?
I like to find the best tasting / highest quality ingredients that I can. Over the past couple of years I have road tested various different suppliers and now I have settled on a few. Some ingredients will still come from the supermarket, such as the real butter I use in all my cakes. For ingredients like the couverture chocolate and real vanilla pods that I use, I buy from a specialist chocolate company. The sugarpaste I use comes from a small company in the UK; finding a sugarpaste that tasted nice and covered cakes beautifully took a long time and I am really happy with the supplier I have now.
What sets Jessica Lauren Cakes apart from other cake makers?
I like to ensure my cakes taste as good as they look. A cake can look beautiful, but unless the cake inside tastes great it defeats the whole point of having a cake. All of my cakes are finished with handmade decorations, which creates a bespoke design and high level of detail.
What’s the best thing about your job?
I love the reaction you see on people’s faces when they see their cake for the first time. With wedding cakes, you rarely see the couple when delivering their cake, so it’s lovely when you get to hear after the wedding how much they enjoyed their cake.
Do you have a specialist style of cake?
I think that my style is quite pretty and feminine; I love using roses and hydrangea wherever possible. But at the same time I don’t like to box myself into one style too much as I want to appeal to as many customers as I can. Having a wide variety of different designs to do is what keeps the job fresh and exciting.
Do you have a favourite wedding cake that you have made?
I think that my ‘Love Story’ design is my favourite, as I like a cake that tells a story.
Random question… Lipstick or lip gloss?
Lipstick, usually in pink or red.
Where can I find out more about Jessica Lauren Cakes?
Visit our website www.jessicalaurencakes.co.uk, which is filled with plenty of photos and lots of information on flavours and pricing. You can also find a link to our Facebook and Twitter pages through the website.