Star Bakery's latest cake stall appearance

After many nights spent deciding what cakes to stock on my stall, Star Bakery finally made its first appearance at Nottingham Pride.

We stocked just over 400 cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies and double chocolate brownies and took home only 20 cupcakes at the end of the day! We made chocolate/chocolate, vanilla/chocolate, lemon/vanilla, rainbow surprise, coffee/chocolate, peanut butter/chocolate and my favourite cream cheese/cinnamon. Peanut Butter and Rainbow Surprise were the clear favourites selling out after only a few hours. We also had some great enquiries and leads from local sellers which was only topped by the party atmosphere at the event.

The only downside, and a bit of advice for anyone running a a cake stall, make sure you ask for a stall far away from other strong smelling stalls. We were unfortunate enough to be placed near a BBQ pit which was constantly busy, but REALLY smokey. Not only did I smell of BBQ for hours afterwards, the smoke would change direction with the wind and choke me whilst I was talking to customers. I also think my cakes started to absorb some of the smokey flavour which was disappointing although I didn't get any complaints so that made me feel better.

I thought you'd like to see a few photos from the day. I also trialed a new idea by buying some new 15" cupcake boxes. They hold 36 muffin size cupcakes which is great for transportation and we kept them on the table with the lids slightly open so people could see a sneak peek of the contents! I also labelled them with Star Bakery stickers so reinforce my branding. I thought the white boxes added to that 'bakery feel' and I will definitely use them again if I get a big enough stall to fit them on.


There are some lovely people out there you know.

I posted last week about Zen Cupcake who featured one of my photos and can you believe it, they have featured Star Bakery again!

After a tough weekend of cupcaking I needed a few days to put my head down and catch up with my family. I logged on tonight to find the MOST LOVELY post about Star Bakery over at Zen. And when I say lovely I really mean it!

Getting into this business is a non-stop, 24 hour job. I believe in treating others the way I would like to be treated so anyone who gets in touch with me always gets a response. I try to share my experiences with you all in the hope that you will be inspired in making your dreams come true and I was so happy (and choked!) to read a review that recognised me and has now given me the energy I need to get through a hectic next few weeks.

I hate to gush, but acts of kindness are so rare and I apreciate anyone who takes the time out to give praise to someone they only know in 'webworld'. And it means a lot.


Star Bakery featured on Zen Cupcake

The fabulous blog Zen Cupcake featured one of my older cupcake creations on her blog to celebrate National Ice Cream Cone Day.

I follow Zen on Twitter, Flickr and her blog and she posts some great pccies for us cupcake lovers! Thanks again Zen!


Some really GREAT advice

Happy Sunday all! Just came across a great post on one of my regular cupcake blogs Cupcakes Take the Cake. A great blog if you haven't already found it!

Rachel just wrote a really detailed and comprehensive post about promoting your cupcake business and I just wanted to draw your attention to that post as I know of few of you have contacted me recently because you follow my blog to read about my adventures setting up Star Bakery. And what an adventure it is...


How to use fondant letter stamps

I've seen a lot of cakes recently that have text on them, not hand written text, but lovely perfect stamped text which sits into the fondant on a cake or cake board.

I recently found out that many people use normal craft stamps to give this effect (using them only for cake decorating for hygiene purposes) and I thought this was a great idea! Craft stamps come in hundreds of shapes and sizes and if used properly can look fantastic on cakes and cupcakes covered in fondant.

I recently bought one of those make any message stamp kits from Wilton and have been playing with it on a dummy cake board covered in fondant. These are the results so far:

Pretty basic so far but I think with time, this effect can be used in many different ways. Most people press the letters into the cake board to print a message and then highlight the embossed letters with lustre/glitter. The idea behind the kit is to pipe over the letters but I like the fact somebody has decided to use them differently to come up with another decorating method. Brilliant!


Online tools for your cake business

When I first decided to start to make a go of my cake business I knew I would have to embrace as many online tools as I could. Not only are they free, but they allow you to reach more people than and make some great online friends who can help you on your way. Here is a few I use:

Flickr - a great photo album website that you can register with for free and upload up to 100MB of pictures per month. You can also pay for $25 per year to have a pro account and get loads more features and options for a very reasonable annual fee. Flickr also has some great group forums where you can get help and advice from others in your field. I joined a group called Cupcakes UK and we all post hints/tips/advice regularly. Also nice for feedback and idea sharing. Flickr also have a function called Explore where they pic the most interesting photos for a period and feature them on their website for everyone to see. Here are some of my photos that have been Explored recently.


Domestic Goddess or not?

When I decided to start in this business, one thing I took for granted was that you'd have to be a great baker. Surely it's a given?

But no, I have since discovered that quite a few great cake decorators buy there cakes from wholesalers to enable them to concentrate on making it look fabulous without having to worry about the cooking part. At first, this struck me as a bit odd but the more I think about it the more I realise that it's not where you get the cake from that counts - it's how it tastes.

There has always been a big debate about using box cake mixes and whilst I use these for my family (rarely, but it does happen) I am a baker at heart. I can easily buy a plain cake base but I think my clients buy from me because of taste and I don't want to set a precedent by going down this route just yet. I also find that the cost it takes me to make/buy is comparible. I don't think I would ever use a box cake mix for a client though - I am sure they would be able to tell and my costs reflect a homemade taste that you can't get from a box.

The debate rages on, I think its a personal choice and I think it depends on what your passion is too.